Etsin FAQ

Basic information on Etsin

What is Etsin?
Etsin is a research data finder. The service is offered by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and it is developed and maintained by CSC - IT Center for Science Ltd.

What kind of data does Etsin contain?
Etsin contains metadata about research data from various fields of science. Etsin allows you to browse and search for existing datasets. It also contains information on how and where to gain access to the data.

Which browsers does Etsin support?
Etsin supports most of the popular modern browsers, like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer. Old versions of these browsers aren't necessarily supported.

Which services are compatible with Etsin and in which ways?
The data described in Etsin can be stored anywhere, e.g. IDA storage service. Etsin is integrated with a Resource Entitlement Management System, through which access data can be managed if Haka credntials are used. Open data found in Etsin may be accessed by the user in e.g. AVAA open data publishing portal.

Metadata may be imported manually via file. Metadata import can be found above the top right corner of the dataset form by clicking "Upload XML". To add metadata into Etsin:

  1. If the metadata file is available directly from a URL address, add the URL address to "URL" field. You can also upload the file from your computer by clicking "Browse" butten and choosing the file.
  2. Choose the correct metadata format from the "Format" menu.
  3. Click the "Upload" button. If the metadata import is successful, the acquired metadata should automatically appear on correct fields.
  4. If some metadata required by Etsin is missing after the import, you should fill them manually.
How does etsin support the FAIR principles for research data?
  • supporting creation and dissemination of good quality metadata (F)
  • offering a functionality for handling use permission requests (A)
  • supporting open data publishing (A)
  • providing an open API (A)
  • interoperability by using persistent identifiers (I)
  • offering metadata as open data with no restrictions (R)
  • supporting open licensing (R)
Read more about the FAIR principles.

Adding and describing a dataset

How can I describe a dataset in Etsin?
Etsin supports the description of datasets. It lists the basic information which is required in order to make the dataset discoverable by others. Add dataset page includes field-specific instructions for metadata descriptions. If you wish to publish a dataset description in Etsin, you need to hold the rights to publish the dataset or have the consent from the owner of the dataset.

What is metadata and why is it needed?
Metadata describes the data, e.g. title, language or description of the content. Metadata allows you to find the data and understand its content, thus fostering re-use. Without descriptive metadata the data may be a meaningless collection of files, numbers or symbols.

Is metadata added separately for each data file?
The person describing the data decides on how large a collection should be described at once but you can for now only provide one access link. Generally speaking, one description should be made for a collection that is large enough to be independently reutilized. This collection may include actual data files as well as instructions on their content. A large dataset may also be described in smaller portions. It is possible to create relations between metadatasets, i e you can link datasets with Has part, Is part of och Previous version and Next version relations. This is done on the "identifiers" tab when adding a dataset. You can create a common metadata description and the for instance link its parts to it usin the idetifier. Read more about describing a dataset in Etsin.

What kind of metadata model is employed in Etsin?
The metadata model specifies the minimum level of description necessary to ensure reusability of the data and interoperability with other systems. The metadata description should include at least the permanent identifier and timestamp of the metadata, the identifier of the dataset and timestamp, dataset name, subject, language, various actors, and dataset use information.

Is there a versioning management system in Etsin?
There is no separate field in the metadata model for information about history and revision/adjustments, but records added to the same dataset form a documentation about past actions. Based on the time of modification and metadata with the same persistent identifier, amendments are traceable. You can also add related identifiers on the identifier field. This is highly recommended if you cretae new versions of a dataset.

Why can't I add any keywords?
The fields that give automatic suggestions from existing ontologies, like the keywords field, require Javascript. Javascript can be enabled from your browser's settings.

Removing a dataset or metadata

I added extra fields for titles/authors I do not want to fill. How do I remove these?
You don't need to remove them. Leave them empty and Etsin will ignore them.

How can I remove a dataset from Etsin?
Open the dataset for editing. There is a button for removing the entire metadata record at the bottom of the page. You must have modification privileges to the dataset in order to remove it.

Creating an access application

What does creating a new access application form mean?
It means that Etsin creates automatically a default workflow to Reetta, a REMS service (Resource Entitlement Management System). Reetta is used for managing access rights to research data. With it you can specify that a user must send an application to you to gain access to your data. Find out more from: REMS

I'm trying to accept an application in Reetta but the link to the form received by email is empty.
Most likely the distributor's email address isn't bound to a Haka identity or no-one has logged in with that identity to Reetta service. Thus the service can not recognise the person accepting the application. To fix this, log in to with identity bound to the email address or change the dataset's distributor's email address to a valid one, i.e. <username>at<organization>.<fi>.

I would like to point to an URI instead of entering plain text in author or actor field. Will the service fetch e.g. the author information from the address by resolving the URI?
Currently URIs are only resolved for keywords and disciplines from Finto ontologies, so for instance an ORCID URL will be displayed in its given format on dataset and search pages instead of its resolved plain text format. On the other hand, currently the author and contributor fields collect URIs separately, so you can insert author information as plain text and as URI.

Search for datasets

How can I make use of others' data via Etsin?
Etsin includes use information for each dataset. Licenses may also be specified.

I can't make a query I want from the search page.
You can make more complex queries by using Solr query syntax. See more in: Solr query syntax 

Why are search filters sometimes shown in a different language than the rest of the page?
Filters are generated from the existing datasets. If certain types of terms are a majority in datasets, they will be offered as filters, too. Thus the filters may contain terms in some specific language or field of science because they are more popular than others.

Authentication and user rights

I opened Etsin and chose log in, then I was suddenly already logged in.
This may happen if you have previously logged in and then access Etsin via an unencrypted connection, e.g. using the address The identification cookie from your earlier login is only sent via an encrypted connection and thus you could not be identified. Choosing "Log in" redirected you to use an encrypted https connection. At the same time your identification cookie was sent and you were recognized.

Is a foreign partner in a project allowed to insert his or her metadata into Etsin?
A foreign partner in project is allowed to insert metadata into Etsin, as long as he or she is involved in a project operating within the Finnish research system.

Didn't find the question and answer you were looking for?

You can submit additional questions to: servicedesk (at)