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What would you like to share?


Researchers are finding more and more innovative ways to share their research on figshare. It's always fascinating to see users come up with ideas that hadn't yet crossed our minds. An example of one occasion when this happened was at Science Online in January, where Antony Williams of ChemSpider, fed up of not having access to his own publications stated that in future, he would upload a copy to figshare so he'd always have access.

I was reminded of this when I saw some uploads by Jan Halborg Jenson. He has uploaded his funded grant applications, and has described his reasoning for doing so in a blog post on the 'Proteins and Wave Functions' blog.

In this post Jan explains that some words from mathematician Doron Zeilberger motivated him to share his grant applications with the world:

"Mathematics and Science is a communal enterprise, and it is very important that people share their ideas."

"People are at their expository best when they are begging for money, and in the case of mathematicians and scientists, this means writing a grant proposal. The scientific community would benefit a lot if people would publicly post their funded grants, and be generous with their ideas."

Also uploaded this week was a poster by Walter Jessen. The poster "identifies therapeutic areas with candidate or validated biomarkers, and highlights those areas where a paucity of biomarkers exists." What makes this really interetiong is that Walter isn't the first to use this approach. Ross Mounce has previously uploaded his poster from the Palaeontology Association's 55th annual meeting entitled 'Methods of determining cranial and postcranial character congruence'.

Ross summed up his reasoning for making the poster citable and discoverable on figshare in the following way:

"The problem is much of the data, and code used to analyse and summarise research is rarely conveyed in immediately useful, digital formats with scholarly communications (e.g. outlined in this talk). Indeed as I discovered at the Open Knowledge Conference in Berlin later this year - this is a problem we share with many other areas of academia (it's certainly not just palaeontology!), Guo Xu in particular expressed how difficult it was to extract and re-analyse data from economic research papers, for instance.

So, I thought I'd try out for myself to see how easy it is to make the underlying data & code behind a research publication (in this case, just a poster) available in readily re-usable digital formats. I can't say it took no time at all, and perhaps I haven't released everything in the most Open way possible (feel free to point out my shortcomings if you so wish), but I feel this is certainly a step in the right direction. At the very least, I hope these bits of code and data will help as instructive teaching examples."

We're really excited to see new and innovative ways to make the platform as useful for researchers as possible, so please continue to pleasantly surprise us! As always, feedback, comments, suggestions and ideas are welcomed at or via twitter, facebook or google+.

***Edit: corrected to state that this is just funded applications. 01/03/12.***

Comments (5)

  • Why not make a "grant proposal" category? I really agonized over whether this was appropriate use of figshare. Jan

    01/03/2012 17:23    by Jan Halborg Jensen

  • Great idea, thanks for the feedback, will be addressing this with a 'what can I put on figshare page?' as users are constanly coming up with new uses: papers, grant proposals, dissertations, posters etc!

    06/03/2012 09:42    by Mark Hahnel

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