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Nov 6, 2023
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Zenodo Update: Collaboration Made Easy

Nov 6, 2023
About Zenodo: Research. Shared.
Since its launch in 2013, the catch-all repository has helped millions of researchers by providing the space and technology to easily share their research outputs. This space has been vital to those who do not have access to the infrastructures or tools necessary to share their research work, due to any number of reasons, financial barriers, scarce access to institutional or thematic repositories, limited findability, etc. 

Not only has Zenodo been instrumental in breaking down these barriers, but it has many more practical implications. Thanks to its user-friendliness, it allows for immediate creation of DOI for publications datasets, software, and other research outputs. 

Having one catch-all repository also increases access to knowledge and is greatly advantageous for uncovering links between outputs. The exclusive use of unallied private repositories, hinders discovery, collaboration, and impact as those in the research community don’t have access to each and every one of these sources (and if they did, it would be extremely inefficient to go through and search each one). 

The dire need for a service like Zenodo is evidently apparent when we look at the figures, visits more than doubled between 2021 and 2022 increasing from 12 million to 25 million. Today, Zenodo is expanding upon this community and thereby reasserting this human network as a fundamental pillar of OpenAIRE and its services.

New Mission: From “sharing research made easy” to “collaboration made easy”
For the past 10 years, Zenodo has had one simple goal, to make sharing research easy. Having witnessed millions benefit from the service, we can confidently say this goal was achieved. So as Zenodo enters adulthood, it’s time to redefine its objective to improve upon the service, while of course maintaining its ease of use.

Zenodo’s next mission is making collaboration easy, and in doing so, improve the quality of content being published.

This will be accomplished by putting more power into the hands of communities and giving them the tools to self-organise (communities are a way to group publications in the same field or that are related to each other). Previously, there was only one account to manage a community and all that person could do was accept or reject content within their community. What’s more, content submitted to Zenodo would be published automatically within the repository before and whether or not it was accepted into a community. Now, when a researcher goes to publish their outputs, they must select their community and submit their work for peer review, before it is made public. Community curators will then review the content to see if it fits within the community even have the capability to improve and correct the metadata to ensure that it meets quality standards. Once the metadata is approved, it will then be published in Zenodo and, consequently, integrated into the OpenAIRE Graph. This new process therefore not only increases the quality of data in Zenodo, but enriches other OpenAIRE services which use this metadata to provide Open Science solutions to the research community.

Another update facilitating the organisation of communities is more freedom to customise institutional repositories thanks to the new underlying technical platform, InvenioRDM. Before now, institutions would take Zenodo and hack it to create a customised platform that best fit the needs and visual identity of their institution. However, this is not sustainable. Once these changes are made, the repository is no longer compatible with any updates. Now, with making customisation a base element of InvenioRDM, institutions can carry out these alterations while maintaining the compatibility of the platform with any updates.

“We're thrilled to launch the refreshed Zenodo on InvenioRDM. This journey represents a remarkable collaboration, expanding Zenodo's collaborative capabilities while maintaining a simple user experience. We owe our success to all our users in the research community, our funders, and partners. Thank you for your trust and collaboration.” Alexandros Ioannidis, Zenodo Service Manager
For more details, visit the Zenodo documentation.

Why the Change: The Community spoke, and we listened.

Witnessing the number of institutions that would take Zenodo and tailor it to their own wants and needs, it was clear that an underlying customisation element was essential so that institutions could continue with these modifications while maintaining the compatibility of the repository. Once this need was identified, the Zenodo team found it crucial to provide the technology.

OpenAIRE’s strength, however, comes not only from technology, but it’s human network. Realizing that these communities could be further harnessed to add an additional phase of quality control, the decision was simple. But providing the tools for these communities to collaborate not only helps facilitate content quality directly, but indirectly. Giving the space for community members to come together and communicate, will lead to further collaborations, encouraging a culture of knowledge-sharing.

“We are excited to see Zenodo mature and be a pioneer in innovative infrastructure that fosters improved collaboration and promotes open research practises. We anticipate that key OpenAIRE services will make use of the newly added functionalities, so … stay tuned! We express our gratitude to the CERN team for their visionary approach and dedication to serving the community.”  Natalia Manola, OpenAIRE CEO

Call to Curators: With more power in the hands of community teams, we call upon all curators to not take this role lightly. Their responsibility of overseeing the cleanliness, completeness, and quality of metadata in their community is vital to not only the Zenodo repository, but all other OpenAIRE services. Publications that are accepted are integrated into the OpenAIRE Graph, the lifeblood of OpenAIRE which supplies services with all their necessary data. Curators are urged to ask the right questions to those submitting content and to look after metadata even post-publication.

“As the InvenioRDM Principal Architect, I'm excited to witness the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. InvenioRDM empowers researchers and institutions with a modern, collaborative repository platform. This transition highlights the strength of our open-source community and underscores that InvenioRDM not only offers a simple user experience but has also achieved the maturity level required for large-scale digital repositories like Zenodo.” Nicola Tarocco, InvenioRDM Principal Architect

Read the Zenodo’s team blog post.