Selecting country in Meta Data

The “country” item in meta data helpfully has a drop down for authors to select from. However, if their country (or their preferred way of expressing their country name) is not listed there seems to be no option for typing in. The work around I have used is to ignore the country option and add the country to the affiliation. But if the need for this is not noticed until after publication then as editor I have to do this manually for the author. To give a concrete example, some authors from Taiwan prefer not to have their country listed as “Taiwan, Province of China”.

Have I understood the limitation correctly, is there an easier workaround and are there plans to overcome the limitation?

Hi @dgardner,

I think that, generally, a system will want an standard way of associating countries and other geo location data to objects, in this case users. If that doesn’t happen, it becomes way harder to compare and use the geo location data after. Let’s say one user from Taiwan likes to call it only by Taiwan and the others Taiwan, Province of China. There is no easy way to determine for sure that both are from the same country.

What you could do is to add another field next to the original one, and add a description telling users that if they didn’t like the way their country name is listed, they can write it down there and that’s what going to be used by the system in their metadata. You would need to code this usage, but it’s not complicated if you have PHP skills.

That way the system would have both ways, what the user likes to use and the one that’s more efficient to be used by other systems and also internally.

I hope that helps.


Thanks Bruno.
I understand the argument about standardisation. It makes sense. Unfortunately, in this particular case it is a strong political issue for some authors and that will take precedence.
I also appreciate your suggestion for offering an alternative through coding but I have zero PHP skills.
For now then I’m going to stick with my workaround of ignoring the country setting and adding the preferred country name to the end of the affiliation. I’ll also learn to check how the country is displayed during the editing process and check preferences with the authors. What I lose in standardisation and geo-whatnots I’ll gain in user satisfaction.

Hi @dgardner,

There’s a FAQ entry on this with a description of how to change the list.

Alec Smecher
Public Knowledge Project Team

Thanks. I did do a search before posting my question but obviously not in the right place.
This is very helpful.

Thanks @asmecher, didn’t remembered that. :blush: