In the HCA metadata schema, types represent the different parts of an experiment. The schema currently defines five core types (Biomaterial, Process, Protocol, Project, File). These core types are extended and refined by one or more subtypes.
For example, a biomaterial (e.g. a tissue sample) can undergo a process (e.g. dissociation) to produce another biomaterial (e.g. a sample of dissociated cells) or a set of data files (e.g. 10X fastq files). The process that was actually executed follows a specific protocol (e.g. a 10X protocol). All of these parts together make up the overall project (e.g. Understanding cell types in the human heart).
An overview of each of current HCA metadata schema types is given below. Please see the metadata structure or metadata design documentation for additional details and examples of how the schema is structured.
Biomaterial types represent information about any biological material that was generated/used in the project including everything from a whole organism to subcellular components.
Process types represent information relevant to how a biomaterial or file was converted into another biomaterial or file.
Protocol types represent information about an intended protocol that was followed in a process.
File types represent information about files produced from any process.
The project type specifies information about a project that contributes to the HCA DCP.