General FAQ

What is Citrination?

Citrination is the premier open database and analytics platform for the world's material and chemical information. Citrination is brought to you by Citrine Informatics.

Where does the name Citrination come from?

Citrination was the process by which alchemists believed that they could turn silver into gold. By aggregating materials data, Citrination makes data more valuable for everyone and enables new materials discoveries.

Why are we building Citrination?

We have four primary goals in building Citrination:
  • To make materials data open, accessible, and useful.
  • To provide researchers with a platform to organize all materials data.
  • To provide artificial intelligence-based tools that enable new insights from data.
  • To create a data-themed community of researchers furthering materials science.

Why contribute to Citrination?

Citrination needs your help to be successful, and we believe there are reasons that every person who contributes to Citrination will benefit.
  • Your data will be organized, searchable, and available to the people that matter to your work.
  • You, like thousands of researchers before you, believe in making research results available to the community for the good of science.
  • You want to give back to the community as thanks for the benefit you've gained over time.
  • You want public recognition for all of your work, not just the subset that happens to make it into a paper.

What is a good example of how Citrination can save me time as a researcher?

Have you ever read a review paper?
  • When the most valuable data for a topic is trapped in PDF form, you want to be able to search that data and see all the relevant conditions without wasting time scanning dozens of papers.
Have you ever wanted to share and search data (yours or others') with collaborators or others around the world?
  • The extensive data aggregation and processing you do to generate published tables and figures is not easily accessible or searchable in publication form or sitting on your hard drive. Submitting to Citrination makes it easy for you, your colleagues, and the research community to benefit from that work forever.

Where can I find more resources and learning tools for the Citrination platform?

We have a wide variety of training materials and educational resources available to the public.
  • In this Youtube video, Julia Ling gives an introduction to machine learning for materials science and how Citrine approaches this task.
  • We have a Citrination Knowledge Base with answers to technical questions about the Citrination platform.
  • Documentation for the Python Citrination Client explains how to access Citrination through the application program interface (API).
  • Learn-citrination contains numerous examples of how one can interact with the Citrination UI and API.

Why are you for-profit?

  • Building a complex, powerful system like Citrination takes tremendous resources (software engineers, materials scientists, web infrastructure, etc). Being a for-profit company has allowed us to raise capital from private investors and build products that bring in the revenue necessary to support continued development. It also incentivizes us to build tools that are badly needed by our target customers: corporate scientists, manufacturing engineers, and sales teams. Meanwhile, we can deliver tremendous value to non-profit academic and government researchers at no cost to them.

  • We believe a for-profit structure is a sustainable, attractive model from which to offer massively scalable, open access to data. The alternative, attempting to survive from charitable donations and government grants, leaves us at the mercy of the unpredictability of these funding sources. We are convinced that we can generate tremendous value by leveraging open data, rather than building a business that controls access to information. See this NYU GovLab blog post for more information about business models built upon open access to data. In fact, the US government, which is promoting open access to taxpayer-funded scientific data, is encouraging entrepreneurs to create businesses that provide necessary open access to government-funded data while also generating jobs and profit from value-added services on top of the data.

I still have questions or comments, who can I contact at Citrine?

Feel free to email us and we will get back to you with an answer ASAP.