Norma Beavers Figshare - Share, Collaborate and Search Scientific Outputs
Jinfo Blog

Thursday, 12th May 2016

By Norma Beavers


Open access publishing is gaining momentum with more researchers, institutions and publishers getting on board. We recently undertook a mini review to look at how using academic research repository Figshare could help researchers to publicly share more of their work online.


Global research output seems to be limitless and the technology needed to drive it is gaining momentum. Technological barriers are beginning to fall and academic researchers seem more willing to take advantage of online platforms like Figshare to store and share their scientific outputs. 

The trend is to manage, search and share all kinds of original research while also looking to collaborate with like-minded others online. As governments and funders introduce open data mandates, there's little doubt that researchers will soon have to make their data available publicly.

There are products out there that can help. Our reviewer, Sophie Alexander, has undertaken a Mini Review of Figshare and concludes: "Figshare isn't just about making data publicly available as it also has robust functionality for the day-to-day management of research data including private sharing and collaboration".

Share Results and Reduce Duplication of Effort

One of the benefits of platforms like Figshare is that they can enable researchers "to share even negative results from their works, in order to reduce duplication of effort", Sophie notes. She adds, "By sharing unpublished negative results, researchers can accrue citations for their efforts from other researchers who build upon the work."

Figshare offers users free accounts that enable the upload of up to 5GB of data as well as 20GB of free private space that can be used to store research until the author wants to make it public. Figshare currently hosts more than 1.5 million files and all the data is searchable. Anything uploaded is time-stamped to prevent plagiarism.

Valuable Resource

Earlier this month "Figshare added the functionality to publish an entire project publicly allowing for open, community based collaborations", our reviewer writes. And last month it added "Collections", a facility Figshare describes as "Pinterest" for academic research outputs.

Using Collections, researchers can group together relevant content from within Figshare by theme to help facilitate their work. "Collections can be useful to highlight trending research areas, presentations from a recent workshop or conference and publishers can group supplementary data around a particular article," Sophie concludes.

Find Out More

It's well worth giving Jinfo's "Mini Review of Figshare" a read to find out more about what the platform offers researchers, publishers and institutions. 

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