By Stephan Druskat

Emerging infrastructures for scientific research such as Zenodo and ORCiD offer persistent identification of data, software, publications, people, and institutions. Publications, however, often contain links to URLs on the internet, e.g., to project or software homepages, or specific query results on search or visualisation platforms. E.g., the ANNIS search infrastructure for linguistic multi-layer corpora lets the user create persistent links to actual search results. However, as instances of platforms or whole services die or move, and homepages change, such links are prone to break. This makes it harder to verify the results presented in scientific publications. A possible solution would be to use a facade for links, e.g., a URL shortener, which allows the user to change the target of the shortened URL. Some research institutions already provide URL shorteners, but usually only for links within their domain, e.g., for the Humboldt-Universit├Ąt zu Berlin, Germany. If resources are moved to another institution, the shortened URL will break and is thus not suitable for publication. A sustainable, institution-agnostic URL shortener for the scientific domain would allow - e.g., via Shibboleth - to create short URLs for publication and change target links after their creation. Targets could possibly be restricted to domains of institutions within the Shibboleth space, as well as manually registered institutions.


An alternative exists in, a service which creates a permalink for content and archives the content at the time of permalink creation. This only alleviates the problem with regard to static content though. Dynamic content would still remain a problem, as users would not be able to get to, say, the latest version of the ANNIS infrastructure, as mentioned above.

Stephan Druskat · 24 Jul, 2017

I use WebCite ( for this purpose. Works well. Easy to install browser widget makes it very quick and easy to use. Is now a requirement for citation of web pages at some journals, like PeerJ.

David Topps · 21 Dec, 2017
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Stephan Druskat



Published: 30 Nov, 2016

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