What is Mahalo Button? - Connecting Data Creators and Data Users as the "Network of Gratitude"

English | Japanese

Official Website of Mahalo Button


The purpose of the Mahalo Button is to connect data creators and data users as the "network of gratitude." In the field of Open Science, it is widely recognized that proper appreciation of the contribution of data creators using data citation and other methods is the very important challenge. Mahalo Button proposes a new solution to this challenge based on the idea of the "network of gratitude." Please refer to the publications for detail.

The Network of Gratitude

  1. Pay-back connection: Data users can express gratitude to data creators by a button push, which is a popular action on today’s Internet (e.g. Like! button).
  2. Pay-forward connection: If data users share methods and results on the dataset at the button, the promotion of results by data users can be considered as information sharing for potential data users, and data creators’ dataset landing page becomes a hub of information.

By utilizing DOIs (Digital Object Identifier) to uniquely identify datasets and research results, the "network of gratitude" grows every time Mahalo is sent by creating links between DOIs or between URLs and DOIs.

Concept of the Mahalo Button

We use DOI (Digital Object Identifier) to identify datasets and research results, and the network of gratitude grows by links between DOIs, or URL and DOI, generated by a new Mahalo message.


In the following we describe how data creators (red), data users (green) and potential data users (blue) are connected on this service.

1. Data Creators

Create a Mahalo Button and paste the snippet into the HTML of the landing page.

  1. Login to the system. You can choose either a Google account or an e-mail address to login using Google's Firebase Authentication. After logging in, you will see your Dashboard.
  2. Create a Mahalo Button. It will be placed on the landing page of the dataset, so you choose either the dataset DOI or the landing page URL. When you choose DOI, the title and the URL are automatically filled in from the metadata of the DOI.
  3. Return to the dashboard, and click "Generate Snippet" for the button. You can choose horizontal style or vertical style. Copy the snippet and paste into your HTML.
  4. Check if the Mahalo Button appears on your landing page.

Data creators can also use advanced functions as follows.

Referrer restriction (URL pattern)
Mahalo Button uses the HTTP referrer to check if the button is working at the expected location. If the HTTP referrer is different from the landing page URL, please specify the URL pattern to allow access.
Export Buttons
Export the list of Mahalo Buttons as a CSV file (*1). This is useful for managing buttons using an external tool.
Import Buttons
Import the list of Mahalo Buttons in a CSV file (*1). This is useful for managing buttons using an external tool.
Download Messages
Download all Mahalo messages given to the Mahalo Button.
Delete Mahalo Button
Delete the Mahalo Button. Not only the button but also Mahalo messages associated with the button will be deleted. Note that you cannot undo this operation.
Edit Mahalo Button
Edit the Mahalo Button for the title and advanced options.
Moderate Mahalo
Moderate Mahalo messages given by data users. If you think a Mahalo message is not useful, you can change the visibility to on or off using the eye icon.
When an installed Mahalo button received a new Mahalo message, the notification of the message is sent to e-mail addresses registered in advance. The initial setting is disabled, so you need to enable it from the Settings menu of the account.

(*1) The CSV file should have "uuid, doi, url, title, referrer_restriction" fields. Note that the uuid field is automatically filled by the system, so it should be blank for a new button. You should not modify the uuid field for existing buttons.

2. Data Users

Click the Mahalo Button and add the DOI of data users' work on the dataset with a "Thank You Message."

  1. Click the Mahalo Button, and you will see the "Show Mahalo" page with previous Mahalo messages given to the button. A Mahalo message consists of DOI, "Thank You Message" and Name.
  2. When you give a new Mahalo message, it is strongly recommended to login. Messages given after loggging in can be edited or removed from the dashboard. Otherwise, a message once given can never be edited later.
  3. Click the "Give Mahalo" button, and input a Mahalo message. DOI should represent your work based on the dataset. "Thank You Message" not only expresses a message of gratitude, but also shares useful information about the dataset (e.g. method, tool, and result). Name can be your real name, a nick name, or any identity of your choice (e.g. ORCID).
  4. After Giving Mahalo, it will appear on the list of Mahalo messages on the button.

3. Potential Data Users

  1. After useful information is collected at the Mahalo Button, potential data users can see the list of works that are based on the dataset. You can then read the document specified by DOI, or check Mahalo messages to know what data users have to say about the dataset.
  2. Potential data users click the "Like!" button when they find the Mahalo Message helpful. Then the system shows popular usages of the dataset with higher priority by sorting Mahalo messages by the number of Likes.
  3. Potential data users download the dataset from the landing page, and start using it referring to related work. At this moment, potential data users turn to actual data users.
  4. After having new publications, data users will return to the Mahalo Button and say thank you to the data creator with the DOI of their publication. This will enrich information collected at the Mahalo Button.

In this way, the Mahalo Button becomes not only a place to disseminate results related to the dataset, but also a place to contribute to the community through the sharing of results. This is the growth mechanism of the "Network of Gratitude."

Privacy Policy

  1. This service uses Google's Firebase Authentication for identifying a user. Information obtained from Firebase will be used only inside the system, and will not be shown for or used by third parties.
  2. This service collects e-mail addresses only for notifying information required by the system. They will not be used for other purposes nor be shared by third parties.
  3. This service uses Google Analytics to collect the access statistics of the service. This information will be used only for improving our service, such as optimizing the content.

Terms of Use

  1. Data input into this system (Mahalo Buttons and Mahalo Messages) becomes an open data that can be used freely with attribution, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY).
  2. When giving a Mahalo message, please check the following.
    1. The work pointed by the DOI represents the work of the user (e.g. authors, co-authors, collaborators)
    2. Thank You Message shares useful information for data creators and potential data users
    3. Name is either a real name or a nickname that can be safely made public.
  3. The creator of the Mahalo Button and the service provider have the right to change the visibility of the Mahalo messages.


The license of data in the Mahalo Button is defined as an open data license, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY).

Development Team

  1. Leader: Asanobu KITAMOTO (National Institute of Informatics)
  2. DIAS Open Science Committee


  1. Asanobu KITAMOTO, Yoko NAKAHARA, Toshiyuki SHIMIZU, Hiroyuki SHIMAI, Masatoshi YOSHIKAWA, "How to Collect and Share the Usage of Data? Use Cases of the Mahalo Button", Symposium of Research Data utilization Forum, 2022-11 (in Japanese)
  2. Asanobu KITAMOTO, Yoko NAKAHARA, Hiroyuki SHIMAI, Toshiyuki SHIMIZU, "Mahalo Button: Building the Network of Gratitude for Sharing the Dataset Usage", Abstracts of Japan Geoscience Union (JpGU) Meeting 2022, No. MGI30-08, 2022-5
  3. Asanobu KITAMOTO, "Introduction of the Mahalo Button and the Case Study of the DIAS Project", Symposium of Research Data utilization Forum, 2021-11
  4. Asanobu KITAMOTO, "To Make the Impact of Research Data Measurable - Data Citation and the Mahalo Project -", Japan Open Science Summit 2021, June 2021
  5. Asanobu KITAMOTO, "Mahalo project: a lightweight solution for connecting data creators and users with pay-back and pay-forward incentives", Japan Open Science Summit 2018, June 2018
  6. Asanobu KITAMOTO, "Return on publication (RoP): “DOI return button” for networking data creators and users with pay-back and pay-forward incentives", Abstracts of Japan Geoscience Union (JpGU) Meeting 2018, No. MGI23-P06, May 2018


  1. データ作成者とデータ利用者を「感謝のネットワーク」でつなぐ“Mahalo Button”が公開, Current Awareness, 2021-07-06

Use Cases

  1. Show Mahalo Messages for Global Soil Wetness Project Phase 3 Atmospheric Boundary Conditions (Experiment 1) | Mahalo Button
    Global Soil Wetness Project Phase 3 Atmospheric Boundary Conditions (Experiment 1)


Mahalo Button is supported by DIAS (Data Integration and Analysis) Project.


We improved the dashboard and related features of the Mahalo Button.
We improved the design of the Mahalo Button and the workflow of creating buttons. We also started providing RSS for the latest information of buttons.
Mahalo Button was updated.
DIAS introduced the Mahalo Button, a service for sharing the usage of research data
Mahalo messages given while you are logged in can be edited later. In addition, you can receive e-mail notification for new Mahalo messages giveen to your Mahalo bottons.
Privacy Policy and Terms of Use were updated.
Mahalo Button was released.
ROIS-DS Center for Open Data in the Humanities (CODH) started to use the Mahalo Button.

Mahalo Button by DIAS (Data Integration and Analysis) Project. Leader: Asanobu KITAMOTO.