Metadata Excellence Award and Product Data Excellence Award

Page last updated 14th July 2022

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BIC’s Metadata Excellence Award (MEA) 

BIC’s Current PDEA Accreditation Scheme: - please note that we are no longer accepting new applications to this version of the scheme. All new applications will be measured against the requirements of the new scheme, BIC's Metadata Excellence Award (MEA)


BIC’s Metadata Excellence Award - MEA 

Measuring began March 2020 and 
accreditations will begin from July 2022.  

The UK book industry’s metadata accreditation scheme

BIC is delighted to announce the launch of its Metadata Excellence Award (MEA) Accreditation Scheme. Accreditations under this new scheme will begin from July 2022.  

Application to this scheme is free and is open to BIC members and non-members alike.

Why apply?
Now more than ever, data recipients (including retailers, libraries and consumers) expect increasingly sophisticated data and the refreshed scheme seeks to acknowledge and address those requirements. It is very different scheme to the current one. Offering three levels of award (Bronze, Silver and Gold), the scheme is designed to encourage publishers to appreciate the contribution made by complete, accurate and timely product data to their sales; to reward publishers for their commitment to making that data available in the supply chain; to encourage the practice of regular, good housekeeping of metadata records; and to enable them to benchmark their performance against their competitors.

Who can apply?
Application to the revised scheme is free of charge for publishers, and open to BIC members and non-members alike. To qualify for consideration for accreditation, established publishers must publish a minimum of 10 new products per year and each year for the last 5 years. 

Newly formed organisations will be treated by exception but must have already published at least 10 new products. 

All publishers must be UK based, or actively selling to the UK market.

Documentation and guidelines for the scheme

  1. Publisher requirements and guidelines to the scheme can be found here:
    BIC MEA Accreditation Scheme Publisher Guidelines 
  2. Details of the requirements for each of the 3 metadata sets can be found here:
    BIC MEA Data Elements Grid
  3. A checklist of items to consider before applying for accreditation can be found here:
    BIC MEA Revised Accreditation Scheme Publisher Check List
  4. Details of the requirements for Quality Control Checks (applicable to all levels of the scheme as appropriate) can be found here: 
    BIC MEA Quality Control Checks
  5. The MEA Scheme's online application form can be found here.

Please note this application form needs to be completed by all publishers applying to the revised scheme (including those currently accredited under the existing scheme when they are up for renewal) and submitted to BIC on or before the accreditation deadlines listed below.

Prior to filling out and submitting the online form, you may wish to view the questions which will be asked. A PDF copy of the questionnaire is provided, below, for this purpose; this PDF is for reference purposes only and should not be submitted to BIC:

MEA Revised Questionnaire (REFERENCE ONLY)  

How is the revised scheme different to the current one?
It is very different, with the major changes being as follows:

  • It employs 3 data sets (Basic, Intermediate and Advanced) as opposed to 2 currently. 
  • It builds on the requirements of the current scheme and now also includes several brand-new qualifying criteria including a series of quality control checks, the compulsory use of both ONIX 3.0 (to attain Gold Level), and Thema (at all levels).
  • It will be assessed across the full range of products sold by the publisher
  • No separate digital tick will be awarded under the refreshed scheme as product data for all formats will be assessed together. Equally, as ONIX 3.0 is compulsory for the Gold level (with its use being encouraged for both Bronze and Silver levels) there will be no ONIX 3.0 badge awarded under the refreshed scheme. 

When will the revised scheme take effect?
First accreditations will be awarded from July 2022.

Nielsen BookData is an approved BIC assessor for the scheme and have collected, measured and recorded he data against the requirements of the refreshed scheme from March 2020 with the first set of results being announced in July 2022 based on the prior year’s performance. 

Full transition to the revised scheme being completed by mid 2023. 

With regards to the new quality control checks (QCC), BIC will announce the minimum percentage criteria in late 2023. Publishers are advised to address the QCC requirements ASAP i.e. not wait for this announcement. This is due to the collection of data being on a cumulative basis.

BIC Approved Assessors
The revised scheme allows for additional BIC approved assessors to measure and report on publishers’ metadata performance. BIC member organisations that wish to become assessors in addition to Nielsen Book are invited to apply to BIC for more information at 

Any questions about this refreshed scheme should be directed to

UK Data Aggregators
The documentation, above, refers to 3 UK data aggregators. These are as follows:

  • Bibliographic Data Services Ltd
  • Bowker / ProQuest
  • Nielsen Book

The MEA Accreditation Scheme application deadlines for 2022 /2023

Friday 1st July 2022

Friday 30th Sept 2022

Friday 30th Dec 2022

Friday 31st March 2023

Friday 30th June 2023

BIC’s Current PDEA Accreditation Scheme
Please note that we are no longer accepting new applications to this version of the scheme. All new applications will be measured against the requirements of the revised scheme

The scheme is designed to encourage publishers to appreciate the contribution made by accurate and timely product data to their sales; to enable them to demonstrate their commitment to making that data available in the supply chain; and to enable them to benchmark their performance against their competitors.

Application to the scheme is free, and is open to BIC members and non-members alike.

Publishers applying for accreditation must have published, (or have scheduled to publish) 10 or more titles.

List of Currently Accredited Organisations.

The 3 levels of award
The current scheme, which launched in 2010, offers three levels of award, which recognise the issues individual publishers face and the increasing complexity of maintaining and transmitting product information: the BIC Basic award (the original ‘BIC with the tick' scheme); the BIC Excellence award; and the BIC Excellence Plus award for outstanding performance. All require data to be submitted to bibliographic agencies electronically, preferably using ONIX to do so. A supplementary ‘e-Tick' for publishers who provide product data on e-books and other digital content within acceptable time and quality standards is also available within each award level.

The BIC Basic Award:
This award is open to publishers able to supply electronically by any agreed means the mandatory elements required by the BIC Basic standard within the following timeliness criteria: 

1) 60% of new titles fully compliant 16 weeks ahead of publication; and
2) 80% of all currently available titles meeting the BIC Basic completeness standard.
3) A new element (cover image) has been added to the BIC Basic standard; and this needs to be available by the date of publication.

The BIC Excellence Award:
This award is open to publishers using ONIX in versions 2.1 and above to supply the enhanced ONIX element set (see below) within the following timeliness criteria:

1) 60% of new titles fully BIC Basic compliant 16 weeks ahead of publication; and
2) 80% of currently available titles meeting the BIC ONIX completeness standard.

The BIC Excellence Plus Award:
This award is open to publishers on the same terms as the Excellence award except that 60% of new titles must be fully compliant with the enhanced BIC ONIX element set 16 weeks ahead of publication.

The 'Digital Tick'
The supplementary e-tick is awarded to those applicants in each category who submit regular infomation about their e-books and other digital products to the data agencies within the criteria of the BIC Basic completeness standard. Given ebook work flows, timeliness is for the time being, not a criteria for consideration.

As of July 2016, the Digital Tick award has been frozen as the Product Data Excellence Award (PDEA) Accreditation Scheme undergoes a refresh by the PDEA Task and Finish Working Group. This means that since July 2016, no new Digital Tick awards have been considered or made. It is the intention of the revised PDEA Scheme (which will be launched in due course) to measure both digital and physical product metadata under the one Product Data Accreditation Award without the need for a separate Digital Tick.

ONIX 3.0 Badge
The PDEA Accreditation Panel will now be reviewing organisations’ progress with ONIX 3.0 and awarding ONIX 3.0 Badges to eligible, accredited organisations on a quarterly basis. If you are an accredited organisation and you begin to test an ONIX 3.0 feed or have a live feed that you have not informed BIC about, please do let us know. Providing your feed is both live and supplied to at least one of the recognised UK data aggregators your organisation will be eligible to attain the ONIX 3.0 Badge at the next Accreditation Panel.

Timing requirements
All awards are also dependent on updating of pre-publication data no less frequently than weekly (assuming changes have taken place) and of price and availability of published titles on a daily basis.


Scheme Structures

Publishers will only be considered for certification who operate electronic systems to maintain product data and supply data electronically - and, in the case of ONIX users, provide valid files capable of automatic ingestion into aggregators' systems.

Accreditation will be based on all qualifying titles published by the applicant and (in the case of multi-national publishers) all titles made available to the UK market originating from overseas divisions of the same company.

The scheme is open to publishing companies or divisions of publishing groups where a stand-alone system of product data provision is in place, and will be judged on the combined performance standards of publishers and their distributors.

Certification will be granted at the discretion an independent BIC review group on the basis of information provided on the application questionnaire, parts of which will be reviewed by Nielsen BookData, Bowker and BDS to confirm that observed performance is consistent with the information provided. The group meets on a quarterly basis to consider new applications, reaccreditations and to review accredited publishers' performance.

The decision of the BIC review group will be final and not subject to appeal. Publishers whose applications have been rejected are, however, entitled to reapply when six months have passed from the initial decision of the audit group.

Certification will be granted for a period of one year, and renewal will be automatically reviewed by the review group. Where it is not possible to grant automatic renewal accreditations may at the discretion of the review group be extended for a maximum of six months (i.e. two quarters). After that period, publishers so disqualified will be invited to reapply after a further six months.

Quarterly Deadlines 2022:

The current PDEA Accreditation Sheme application deadlines for 2022 have now ended, as the scheme is now replaced by the more difficult revised scheme as detailed above. 
Please refer to the deadlines for the revised scheme above. 

The application for the revised scheme can be found here.

Bibliographic elements required for accreditation

For BIC Basic

For ONIX Release 2: all versions (updated May 2010)

For ONIX Release 3.0 (May 2010)