DataCite has released the DataCite Metadata Scheme for the Publication and Citation of Research Data, Version 2.0.
Here's an excerpt:
The DataCite Metadata Scheme is a list of core metadata properties chosen for the accurate and consistent identification of data for citation and retrieval purposes, along with recommended use instructions. At a minimum, the mandatory metadata scheme properties must be provided at the time of identifier registration. Data centres and other submitters may also choose to use the optional properties to identify their data more clearly. This metadata scheme can fulfill several key functions in support of the larger goals of DataCite. Primarily these are:
- recommending a standard citation format for datasets, based on a small number of properties required for identifier registration;
- providing the basis for interoperability with other data management schemas;
- promoting dataset discovery with optional properties allowing for flexible description of the resource, including its relationship to other resources;
- and, laying the groundwork for future services (e.g., discovery) through the use of controlled terms from both a DataCite vocabulary and external vocabularies as applicable. The DataCite vocabularies will be administered by the DataCite Metadata Supervisor who will establish and publicize procedures for submitting changes.