Work package 06

Metadata Standards – Towards a common health Resource Description Framework (RDF) representation of metadata for interexchange between data portals

Lead by Sciensano, WP6 will focus on standardising the descriptive metadata templates used to present and describe the available data collections in every node. The standard for this common descriptive metadata model will be based on a health DCAT-AP extension that will also be designed in this WP.

First results


Report on the landscape analysis of available metadata catalogues and the metadata standards in use


The main goal of WP6 is to create a standardised way of describing health-related datasets that aligns with the FAIR principles and meets the needs of EHDS users. This involves designing a specialised extension of the European DCAT-AP standard, aka healthDCAT Application Profile, designed specifically for the healthData@EU infrastructure. The healthDCAT-AP will retain the foundational structure and concepts of DCAT-AP, while incorporating additional classes and metadata elements to suit the unique needs of the health domain.

The purpose of HealthDCAT-AP is to streamline data exchange within the healthData@EU ecosystem and ensure interoperability with other EU data spaces as laid down by the EHDS Regulation proposal.To kick off this process, WP6 conducted a thorough analysis of existing metadata models and health catalogues. The resulting landscape analysis report covers several key points:An inventory of current metadata catalogues, including details such as the metadata standard used, software utilised, API, and URL.

Identification of metadata catalogues and registries already discoverable through the EU open data catalogue. Discussion of the DCAT-AP metadata standard, its existing extensions, and the challenges faced by data providers in implementing it effectively. To gather information for this analysis, WP6 designed an online form with five questions, which was completed by consortium partners and data providers.

The findings from this analysis revealed several key insights:

  • The landscape of metadata catalogues is complex and diverse.
  • There are relatively few metadata catalogues that comply with the DCAT-AP standard.
  • Operational and interoperable metadata catalogues are limited in number.
  • There is a clear need for capacity building in the field of health data to facilitate the creation of DCAT-AP compliant metadata records and catalogues.

For further details, refer to the Landscape analysis report.


Technical working group on the transition from existing metadata templates to HealthDCAT-AP – Working group minutes


A Technical Working Group (TWG) was established, holding bi-monthly sessions from June to December 2023. Comprising approximately 80 participants, including HealthData@EU pilot consortium representatives and external health stakeholders, the TWG convened to provide essential support.

Across 12 sessions, discussions centred on determining the properties crucial for enhancing health data description and ensuring interoperability of metadata catalogues within the HealthData@EU infrastructure.The TWG’s activities started with two foundational sessions led by EC DIGIT’s Unit B2, succeeded by 10 sessions led by Sciensano. Each session, focused on specific EU Survey forms, facilitated structured discussions. These surveys, open for 10 days, garnered extensive input, meticulously reviewed for insights shared in subsequent TWG meetings.

For further details, refer to the minutes of the Technical Working group, available here.