figshare today announces the launch of ‘figshare for Institutions’ - a simple and cost-effective software solution for academic and higher education establishments to both securely host and make publicly available its academic research outputs. figshare, allows academic institutions to publish, share and get credit for their research data, hosting videos, datasets, posters, figures and theses in a cost-effective way.
With new funder mandates, researchers as well as institutions are faced with a research data management problem. figshare for institutions provides a solution for both of these stakeholders by catering to their individual needs. For researchers, they are given large amounts of private storage space, to better manage their research outputs in the cloud. The intuitive interface, which academics rarely get to see, allows them to quickly upload their data and just as easily find the files again by filtering on keywords and the type of file. When it comes to complying with mandates, these research outputs are then just one click away from being made openly and persistently available, as well as citable and trackable via a Digital Object Identifier (DOI). These publicly available files are aggregated at the departmental and institutional level, automatically providing a self-populating institutional repository with reporting capabilities.
Whilst we would like everyone to make all of their research objects available, we appreciate that some researchers would like to keep research private for many reasons. My own PhD thesis is currently under a 2 year embargo. Because of this, at figshare we set about giving users their own private repository to store their research objects. These objects can be uploaded in seconds and all objects are initially held in the private space, from where they can be made publicly available when the user decides. All research is easily tagged and categorisable, so that researchers can filter through their many files to find the one they were looking for in no time at all. Another feature of the institutional offering is unlimited collaborative spaces for users with unlimited collaborators. This folder structure makes sure that the academics are in complete control over who they share their research with.
There is also the open/closed debate. Obviously there are huge benefits with making all research outputs available under the least restrictive licensing, this is the whole reason figshare was set up. But we also understand that this is a complicated space with different funders requiring different levels of openness, but above all asking academics to have a research data management plan, meaning that the research will never disappear into a file drawer as is often the case now. This is why ‘figshare for institutions’ concentrates on the research data management aspect, making it simple to comply with open mandates where possible but also allowing individual researchers and access to be in control of what they keep privately and securely stored.
The process of research data management needs to take place as close to the point of capture as possible, while the experiment is still fresh in the mind of the academic. This should also take up as little time as possible, or ideally, be part of the researchers existing workflow. We will continue to develop the platform based on the requests of users to help us achieve this.
As always, feedback, comments, suggestions and ideas are welcomed. Please get in touch at email@example.com or via twitter, facebook or google+.