Why we are removing the Altmetric.com badges

by Alex Ioannidis, Jose Benito Gonzalez Lopez, Lars Holm Nielsen, Tim Smith, on July 9, 2020


Example Altmetric badge

Since its launch in 2013 Zenodo has been displaying the free Altmetric.com badge on our records. The badge displays a score and a colorful wheel which provides access to explore further the discussion happening online about your work (e.g. on Twitter or blogs). The main reasons for us to display the badge has always been to allow our users to discover the online discussion happening around their uploads.

We have recently been contacted by Altmetric.com, who has informed us that their free tier which we have been using on Zenodo has been discontinued and that we must pay a commecial rate in order to continue using the service. This has triggered us to re-evaluate why and if we should display the Altmetric.com badge.

We strongly believe that metadata about records including citation data and other data used for computing metrics should be freely available without barriers, so that companies can compete on providing services rather than monopolise through control of data. For instance, the citation data we display on Zenodo is all harvested from freely available data sources, and our own metadata is made freely available to everyone under a CC0 waiver. Moreover, we are in the process of openly sharing usage statistics data with services such as DataCite and OpenAIRE, in order for our users to get a more complete picture of their impact.

Altmetric.com works by crawling the internet to create a large dataset of links and provides limited access to this dataset via e.g. the Altmetric.com badge. When such datasets are not freely available without barriers for others to build services on, the controlling company can exclusively, at any moment, change the access rights or their fees.

So, when triggered to reflect on it, we now see that the use of the Altmetric.com badge is not aligned with one of our core values of Open Data. We have therefore decided that we will remove the badge from Zenodo. We would like to thank Altmetric.com for the service they have provided through the years. Instead, we will look for a solution based on Open Data that enables our users to discover the online conversation about their work, and make this solution available for other repositories to use via the InvenioRDM platform. In the short-term, this decision may well be more expensive than paying Altmetric.com for their service, but has been taken to stay true to our core values, and with a long-term view of a collaborative better future.

We ask our users to be patient while we work on an alternative solution.



Slow or inaccessible zenodo.org

by Alex Ioannidis, on June 9, 2020


During the past week, our users may have experienced that Zenodo was slow or inaccessible at certain times. This was caused by several independent incidents during the past week.

May 30th, stale database connections (resolved)

On May 30th, a large fraction of requests to zenodo.org would result in an error. The root cause was stale connections between the database server and the network file storage hosting the database files due to a faulty client software version. The incident happened during European night time outside normal business hours and required the intervention of the CERN database infrastructure experts to fully resolve the issue, which unfortunately meant it took a total of 10 hours to fully investigate and resolve the issue.

Abnormal traffic patterns (ongoing)

During the past week, Zenodo has been hit by abnormal traffic patterns from automated clients for which our multiple existing measures (e.g. rate-limiting) have not been able to keep the traffic flow properly balanced between clients accessing zenodo.org.

All Zenodo staff are assigned to resolving the issue, and we have implemented several measures during the past week that unfortunately have not been enough to get the traffic flow under control. We continue to implement further measures, however, some of these operations are comparable to changing tires on a truck driving at full speed and thus takes time and requires utmost care.

We hope to soon have traffic flow under control, and apologise for the inconveniences it may have caused.



Fighting the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

by Alex Ioannidis, on April 2, 2020


To confront the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak rapidly necessitates an extraordinary collaborative effort of the scientific community that consequently needs to act fast in sharing results in an unprecedented manner, across disciplines and across borders. Open Science is an ideal weapon in the armoury to help fight COVID-19 by facilitating the unrestricted and timely sharing of the latest research related to the pandemic.

We (Zenodo/CERN and OpenAIRE) are responding to a call by the European Commission for synchronised action and collaboration among important initiatives in the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) to facilitate efforts by scientists worldwide working relentlessly to stop the pandemic.

We are today contributing to the call for action with what we do best — preserving and sharing all COVID-19 related datasets, software, preprints or any other research objects that can help the scientific community to find a breakthrough solution to this universal problem.

We have taken some immediate actions:

  1. Coronavirus Disease Research Community: We have created a new COVID-19 Research Community on Zenodo endorsed by the European Commission. The community content is automatically fed into the OpenAIRE Open Research Gateway which is currently under development by OpenAIRE and will result in a single point of entry for all research results and other useful resources for the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and SARS-CoV-2.
  2. Curation: A team of experts nominated by OpenAIRE (see list below) has been created to curate the COVID-19 community. Further, Zenodo is adding a data curator (@StephvandeSandt) to scout for further COVID-19 uploads outside the community and coordinate the COVID-19 curation efforts on Zenodo with other teams worldwide.
  3. Support: We do not want anyone to have any issues sharing relevant information on Zenodo. Please contact us for any questions you may have (COVID-19 related support requests are prioritized). We can further offer:

    • Liberal quota increases (beyond the current limits of 50GB) if needed
    • 1-on-1 dedicated support via chat with Zenodo supporters.
    • Help with automated uploads to Zenodo of large datasets.
  4. Homepage: we have revamped our homepage to make sure that COVID-19 research objects and communities get the necessary visibility. Homepage

We count on you to find a solution to the outbreak. We will do our best to support you all the way, from sharing your great research to enhancing your collaborative work!

Together we can!

Are we missing something? Do you feel like helping us out?

We welcome anybody that wants to help us improve Zenodo COVID-19 content in any way, by exposing more relevant information, curating datasets, or even improving Zenodo features! Please, get in touch with us and share your feedback.

Curation team for the Coronavirus Disease Research Community

The curation team is reachable through the following email address for further clarification or information: covid19@openaire.eu.

Curator List:

  • Ilaria Fava, UGOE, Germany
  • Emma Lazzeri, CNR, Italy
  • Alessia Bardi, CNR, Italy
  • Iryna Kuchma, EIFL, Ukraine
  • Paolo Manghi, CNR, Italy
  • Stephanie van de Sandt, CERN, Switzerland.