Matthew J. Harvey, Andrew McLean, and Henry S. Rzep have published "A Metadata-Driven Approach to Data Repository Design" in the Journal of Cheminformatics.
Here's an excerpt:
The design and use of a metadata-driven data repository for research data management is described. Metadata is collected automatically during the submission process whenever possible and is registered with DataCite in accordance with their current metadata schema, in exchange for a persistent digital object identifier. Two examples of data preview are illustrated, including the demonstration of a method for integration with commercial software that confers rich domain-specific data analytics without introducing customisation into the repository itself.