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

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Official Website of Mahalo Button


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. And ROIS-DS Center for Open Data in the Humanities (CODH) started the usage 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.

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

Concept of the Mahalo Button

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.

How to Use the Mahalo Button?

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 Mahalo Buttons
You can export the list of Mahalo Buttons as a CSV file (*1). This is useful for managing buttons using an external tool.
Import Mahalo Buttons
You can import the list of Mahalo Buttons in a CSV file (*1). This is useful for managing buttons using an external tool.
Delete Mahalo Button
You can delete the Mahalo Button. Please be aware that not only the button but also Mahalo messages associated with the button will be deleted, and you cannot undo this operation.
Edit Mahalo Button
You can edit the Mahalo Button in terms of title and the advanced option.
Moderate Mahalo
You can 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

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.

Potential data users becomes real data users when they download the dataset and start using it from the landing page of the Mahalo Button. We can expect that they refer to the results of data uses in the past, so the Mahalo Button can be used as a place for promotion of the results of data users.

When you publish your work with the DOI, please return to the Mahalo Button and say thank you to the data creator. This is also a contribution to potential data users in the future, and the "network of gratitude" keeps growing.

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.

Development Team

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


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


  1. Asanobu KITAMOTO, "Introduction of the Mahalo Button and the Case Study of the DIAS Project", Symposium of Research Data utilization Forum, 2021-11
  2. Asanobu KITAMOTO, "To Make the Impact of Research Data Measurable - Data Citation and the Mahalo Project -", Japan Open Science Summit 2021, June 2021 (in Japanese)
  3. 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.
  4. 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

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