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FAQs on Figshare for Institutions

The following information is for Figshare for Institutions, a feature rich, customizable, and subscription based version of free figshare.com. Designed to be used by librarians, administrators, and researchers, Figshare for Institutions is an out of the box repository platform that integrates with university systems and workflows. It can help you share and track academic outputs of all types, from data to theses to visual arts.

Mission Statement, Policies, and Compliance

Read all of our policies

What is Figshare’s Mission Statement?

Figshare is committed to making research as open as possible. Read more on our mission statement and core principles.  

Is Figshare committed to open access?

Yes - Figshare is active in the open access and open data space and supports conferences and research in these areas.

Who uses Figshare for Institutions?

We cater to a variety of communities: Academic institutions, funders, governments, publishers, non-profits, and research groups.

Is Figshare active in the scholarly communication space?

Yes, for example, see the annual State of Open Data survey and report.

Is Figshare committed to FAIR (https://go-fair.org) data?

Yes - The Figshare platform allows research outputs to be findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR).

Does Figshare comply with the TRUST principles? 

Figshare has endorsed the TRUST principles for digital repositories.

Is Figshare CoreTrustSeal certified?

Figshare can assist your institution in getting the CoreTrustSeal certification for your repository if you plan on using Figshare’s review module for curation/moderation of content.  

How secure is the Figshare for Institutions repository infrastructure? 

There are several certifications to independently validate the integrity of a repository. Figshare is ISO27001 certified.

Does Figshare support data management planning? 

Yes, there is a help page that offers guidance on how to write Figshare into your data sharing plans

Does Figshare support compliance for funder policies on open research? 

Yes, this help page has more information on compliance, including on DMPs, NIH and NSF policies, and the TRUST principles.

Technical Features and Functionality

Our road map for upcoming features is publically available.

Does Figshare support file previews?

Yes - Over 1,200 file extensions are previewed in the browser. 

What file types are accepted? 

All file types are accepted.

Does Figshare allow different types of items?

Yes - The list of over 20 types shows both default and additional types as well as indexing information.

Can Figshare handle large files?

Yes - Up to 5TB. Files can be transferred using an FTP client or the API.

What browser versions are supported by Figshare for Institutions? 

Figshare works on all common browsers

Does Figshare for Institutions support Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) and/or handles?

Yes -  A Figshare repository works with DOIs, handles, or both. Figshare can mint custom DOIs as a DataCite node or work with an institution’s existing system. Figshare can also migrate existing persistent identifiers. A feature that allows a user to choose an existing identifier is planned.

Are DOIs versioned?

Yes - A DOI is versioned when certain changes to metadata or edits to files are made.

Can users reserve a DOI?

Yes - Users can reserve a DOI that becomes live once the item is published.

Can a user group items under one DOI?

Yes, using Collections. Collections can also be versioned.

Can a user upload multiple files under one DOI?

Yes - The limit of the number of files in a single item is determined by the institution. On figshare.com the limit is currently 500 files per item.

What information is captured at submission? 

There are default metadata fields that require population before an item can receive a DOI and be published. More information is available on this help page. Asterisks (*) denote required metadata fields:

  • Title*
  • Author(s)*
  • Category* (based on ANZSRC FOR codes)
  • Item Type* (customizable)
  • Keywords* (for discoverability, using pre-populated terms or freetext)
  • Description*
  • License* (customizable)
  • Funding (hardlinked to Dimensions.ai for grant/funding information, or freetext)
  • References (URL links)
  • Resource Title and Resource DOI (link a peer-reviewed paper to the record)

Is metadata of a standard format?

Yes - Figshare can export metadata in standard formats: Dublin Core (oai_dc), Datacite (oai_datacite), RDF (rdf), CERIF XML (cerif), Qualified Dublin Core (qdc) (hasPart support), Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (mets) and UKETD_DC (uketd_dc). Figshare metadata fields are based on DataCite elements that map to specific Dublin Core fields.

Is metadata versioned?

Yes - Certain changes to metadata may automatically trigger a new version, reflected in a versioned DOI. See this list for details.

Can a user export metadata?

Yes - Metadata can be exported in standard formats through a select list on the item page, via OAI-PMH ListSets, or through the API.

Does Figshare support metadata per item type?

We have a 5-year plan for implementing several metadata improvements, which includes support for metadata per item type. Currently, custom fields can only be set at the group level, not according to item type. Our implementation team has assisted institutions with setting up a group structure that reflects both the public-facing departmental structure, as well as a private-facing group structure for enabling different metadata for different records. 

Are there category and keyword fields?

Yes - Categories come from a standard Fields of Research taxonomy and each item can have multiple categories. Keywords are free text entry but users are presented with existing options as they type. Custom metadata fields can also be added for your organization’s own categories or ontologies.

Are Figshare items harvestable through OAI-PMH?

Yes - All public metadata is available through OAI-PMH and everything is accessible through the API.

What is Figshare doing around linked data?

We plan to continue upgrading Figshare’s infrastructure to work seamlessly with other scholarly publishing systems and the world wide web as a whole. You can see what changes are planned for metadata here.

Are items in Figshare indexed in search engines and Google Scholar?

Yes - Items are indexed by all major search engines, services, and Google Scholar

Are items in Figshare indexed in Google Dataset Search?

Yes - Any item published as a dataset is indexed by Google Dataset Search

What does Figshare’s search engine index?

Figshare currently uses an Elasticsearch engine to search across all metadata fields. Faceted search can be performed to show different item types, popular or new items, or search by license.

Does Figshare track downloads, views, and citations?

Yes - Figshare complies with best practices from the Make Data Count project and works with its publisher clients to comply with the COUNTER Code of Practice.

Can items be embargoed?

Yes - An item can be embargoed for a set amount of time or permanently, and the embargo can be set on the entire item (files and metadata), or the files only (so that the metadata is immediately available). Items can also be embargoed for those outside an institutional group or an IP range. A basic request access feature is available and will be expanded as a part of our roadmap plans for improving restricted publishing over the next year.

Do items on Figshare have a file checksum?

Yes - MD5 checksums are checked against the file regularly to ensure the file is intact

Can a user change the publication date for an item?

Yes - This adaptability is especially useful to make sure a citation is correct.

Does Figshare allow metadata only items?

Yes - Users can publish items with no associated digital files.

Will Figshare accept links to items stored elsewhere?

Yes - If an item is stored elsewhere a user can link to it from a persistent Figshare record.

Is there an API?

Yes - Metadata, files, and stats are all accessible through the API.

Is the API openly documented?

Yes

Can users upload files through an FTP client?

Yes - This is especially useful for large files.

Can my institution set account limits for users?

Yes - Among other things, institutions can determine how much storage a user’s account has, how many items, collections, and projects a user can have, how large individual files may be and how many files may be added to a single item. Some limits are set at the user level, some are set at the group or repository level.

Does a Figshare for Institutions subscription come with storage?

Yes - Figshare is built on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and uses Amazon S3 storage. AWS storage located in a specific region can be used based on institutional needs (e.g. AWS US East Coast). More information on storage is on this help page.

Can I use local storage with Figshare?

Yes - The local storage must have an HTTP access point. It’s important to note that a Figshare repository can use either local storage or cloud storage, but not both. Multiple storage systems for a single repository are not supported.

Is data stored with Figshare secure?

Yes - Figshare uses Amazon S3 storage which has strong security measures in place and stores multiple, redundant copies.

Does Figshare encrypt data? 

All Figshare public endpoints are available only via HTTPS. HSTS is used to enforce the use of the HTTPS protocol. Figshare deploys the recommended AWS TLS Security Policies. Data (files and metadata) is encrypted on transit (HTTPS) and at rest (S3 SSE and EBS KMS).

Users can only restrict access, they cannot encrypt data.

Is Figshare HIPPA compliant?

Figshare is an ISO27001 certified repository with strong backup and recovery policies (if using Figshare storage), has mechanisms for restricted publishing of more sensitive datasets, and follows these security measures. However, it is up to each institution to use their Fighsare repository in a way that is compliant with any policies on sensitive data.

What other software or services are used by Figshare?

Figshare may use third parties in connection with hosting and infrastructure services and customer and technical support.

Is there a way to share data/items privately with a journal editor or reviewer?

Yes - A Private Link allows anyone to view and download the files and metadata for an item. As soon as the private link is turned off there is no longer access.

Can Figshare for Institutions fit into preservation workflows? 

Figshare has existing preservation workflows with Arkivum, Ex Libris’s Rosetta, DuraCloud’s Chronopolis, and can work with Archivematica and Preservica via the Jisc RDSS. The integrations are available for mutual clients of Figshare and a given preservation tool whereby all files uploaded to Figshare storage can be automatically replicated to the client’s preservation tool. With Arkivum, for example, Figshare has a “least recently used” algorithm that can be run so that files that have not been accessed (or only accessed rarely, according to the institution’s chosen definition of ‘rarely’), are deleted from the Figshare storage but remain in the Arkivum storage. In all cases, Figshare will push content to the preservation system, and the preservation/retention functions will be managed in the preservation system. For more, please see this help page

Can clients provide input on feature development?

Yes - Visit our Product Development page and this blog post on community driven development

Can a client pay for customized work?

Yes - We call this accelerated development, detailed in this blog post on community driven development.

Can data on Figshare be used for real-time data visualization?

Yes - The API can be used to download datasets for use in visualizations. This blog post lists a few examples. Another example is this Labour Index visualization based on this dataset. Figshare is built to securely and easily share research outputs and so data within a dataset is not programmatically accessible through the API.

Metadata

What information is captured at submission? 

There are default metadata fields that require population before an item can receive a DOI and be published. More information is available on this help page. Asterisks (*) denote required metadata fields:

  • Title*
  • Author(s)*
  • Category* (based on ANZSRC FOR codes)
  • Item Type* (customizable)
  • Keywords* (for discoverability, using pre-populated terms or freetext)
  • Description*
  • License* (customizable)
  • Funding (hardlinked to Dimensions.ai for grant/funding information, or freetext)
  • References (URL links)
  • Resource Title and Resource DOI (link a peer-reviewed paper to the record)

Is metadata of a standard format?

Yes - Figshare can export metadata in standard formats: Dublin Core (oai_dc), Datacite (oai_datacite), RDF (rdf), CERIF XML (cerif), Qualified Dublin Core (qdc) (hasPart support), Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (mets) and UKETD_DC (uketd_dc). Figshare metadata fields are based on DataCite elements that map to specific Dublin Core fields.

Is metadata versioned?

Yes - Certain changes to metadata may automatically trigger a new version, reflected in a versioned DOI. See this list for details.

Can a user export metadata?

Yes - Metadata can be exported in standard formats through a select list on the item page, via OAI-PMH ListSets, or through the API.

Does Figshare support metadata per item type?

We have a 5-year plan for implementing several metadata improvements, which includes support for metadata per item type. Currently, custom fields can only be set at the group level, not according to item type. Our implementation team has assisted institutions with setting up a group structure that reflects both the public-facing departmental structure, as well as a private-facing group structure for enabling different metadata for different records. 

Are there category and keyword fields?

Yes - Categories come from a standard Fields of Research taxonomy and each item can have multiple categories. Keywords are free text entry but users are presented with existing options as they type. Custom metadata fields can also be added for your organization’s own categories or ontologies.

Are Figshare items harvestable through OAI-PMH?

Yes - All public metadata is available through OAI-PMH and everything is accessible through the API.

What is Figshare doing around linked data?

We plan to continue upgrading Figshare’s infrastructure to work seamlessly with other scholarly publishing systems and the world wide web as a whole. You can see what changes are planned for metadata here.

Integrations

See a list of integrations

Can I see a list of who cited an item?

Yes - This is possible via click-through citations that show results from Dimensions, a large database of publications, grants, patents, policy documents, and other outputs.

Does Figshare track altmetrics for items?

Yes - Attention to research outputs is tracked by Altmetric. Every item in Figshare receives an Altmetric “donut” if the persistent identifier is included in a social media post, blog, policy document, among others.

Does Figshare work with GitHub?

Yes - Users can link their account with their GitHub repository.

Does Figshare link to a grants or funder database?

Yes - There is a metadata element called “Funding” that returns grant titles as the user begins typing. These are pulled from the Dimensions.ai database.  However, a user can also enter funding information not found in this database as free text.

Does Figshare integrate with a Single Sign On (SSO) system?

Yes - There are multiple ways to authenticate users. See a review of login options or read in depth about the non-login submission feature.

Can Figshare handle unlimited users?

Yes - Figshare for Institutions has no set limit on the number of users, however, there is a limit of viewing up to 9000 users in the user dashboard and API.

Does Figshare integrate with a CRIS or RIMS?

Yes. Figshare can integrate with Symplectic Elements and Pure. Contact us if you have questions about other systems.

Does Figshare integrate with ORCiD?

Yes - Figshare was a launch partner with ORCiD.

Is there an RSS feed?

Yes - There are multiple ways to follow or track work from users, institutions, groups, and more.

Can Figshare sync stage with production environments like Elements does?

Since Figshare is a complex system hosting files, metadata, DOIs, and permanent URLs, Figshare does not have an automated process for syncing stage environments with production environments (or doing group and configuration restructures in general). If this is required, all updates are done manually, so we advise that if you require your environments to remain in sync, you should always make changes on stage before implementing them on production (our support team does the same for any work requested via support). As a result, the Client is responsible for updating either environment, but our Support Team can assist with stage and/or production restructures for particular tasks that cannot be done in the interface.

Administration and Branding

For a general help guide to administrative functionality, please visit this help page

Can my institution brand our Figshare repository?

Yes - A Figshare-hosted portal can be branded through custom domains, logo and header images, and a custom footer. Using the API to display content on another web page allows complete customization. 

Can my institution configure features on our repository?

Yes - Many features of the repository are configurable during implementation and many remain configurable by the repository manager after implementation. Configuration of some features is also possible via a support ticket. View all portal configurations.

Can my institution customize the look and feel of the repository?

Yes - Logo and header images are customizable down to the group level. An institution can use the API to completely customize a user’s experience (e.g. University of Sheffield).

Can an administrator organize items into groups?

Yes - Units within your institutions can have their own subportals, called Groups. The term Groups can be changed to match your terminology. Groups can be customized to match the hierarchy that makes sense for you. 

Are there other ways to organize files and items?

Yes, besides individual Items (which can contain one or many files in any order you wish), users can also create a Collection, or Project. These can then be fed to a central portal (i.e. main repository site) or group (a sub-portal) for general display, and also linked to other associated records.

Can my institution create users?

Yes -  Users can be created through an HR feed, through an authentication system, or you can use the API.  Once an account is created on Figshare, the information for each user can only be modified via the account creation method (if via the authentication system or HR feed), although some profile information can be added and edited within the user interface. External authors can be added manually on records, by entering their given name, surname, email address, and/or ORCiD.

As an administrator, can I manage users?

Yes - Among other things, you can assign and view storage quotas, number of projects, and group affiliation. You can also impersonate users and approve quota requests.

Can user accounts have different privileges?

Yes - There are different user roles for reporting, administration tasks, and curation review. These are assigned directly in the interface by an administrator.

Can users in my institution be grouped and given access privileges unique to their group? 

Yes - Users can be associated with a specific group using an association criteria attribute sent in the HR feed or authentication system. Users are only able to publish their research to the group they belong to (or you can additionally enable a group selector for them to select any subgroups within the group that they belong to). Users can be assigned the reviewer role for any particular group, or across all groups, and they will only be able to review items published to the group(s) they are set as a reviewer on.

Can a user be part of multiple groups/collections?

Figshare can only associate a user to a single group. If you have a multi-level group structure (e.g. Unit within Department within Faculty), users can be associated to one of the Groups at the unit-level, and their items published will appear on all parent groups (e.g. an item published in the unit will appear on the Departmental parent, as well as the Faculty parent groups). The Figshare team has assisted other institutions based on their divisions and organizational structures, in order to group research data in meaningful ways and dependent on researchers’ organizational relationships.

Are there restrictions on how many groups an item can be published to?

Yes - Users can only publish an item to one group. Custom metadata can be used to indicate group affiliation. If there are multiple authors on an item, the item will be placed in the group associated with the submitter, but it can appear in each group associated with each author. Additionally, an item in a subgroup will appear in all parent groups. Any item can be assigned to multiple groups through a support ticket.

Can an administrator allocate storage within my institution’s Figshare repository?

Yes - You can allocate storage to user accounts and to projects.

Can an administrator restrict access to a published item by IP address or group?

Yes - Embargoes can be applied selectively so that only certain groups or IP ranges have access. This feature can be available to all user accounts.

Are custom metadata fields an option with Figshare for Institutions?

Yes - Metadata can be customized at the institutional level and the group (collection) level. Custom metadata fields can be made mandatory or optional and can include custom dropdown menus, free text fields, URLs, dates, or email addresses.

Can an administrator remove a published item?

Yes - Top level administrators can remove items. A tombstone record with the reason for removal is created automatically after unpublishing.

Does Figshare for Institutions allow a customized list of licenses?

Yes - Each institution can customize the licenses for their users beyond the standard licenses available on figshare.com and can add any machine readable license with available terms.

Does Figshare have a reporting dashboard with repository stats?

Yes - There are both public and private versions that show views and downloads and traffic sources. This is also available through the API. The University of Sheffield offers an example of what is possible through the API.

Is there batch metadata editing?

Yes - Depending on the metadata field, values can be prepended, appended, replaced, or deleted in batches.

Is there bulk/batch upload for metadata and files?

Yes, but not directly via the interface. Figshare allows for batch uploading using the Figshare API or an FTP client and Figshare is exploring the ability to allow for the import of content by CSV (see proof of concept at https://csv-import.figsharelabs.io/). There is also a client created tool using Excel files.

Is there a curation/review process?

Yes - Multiple curation/review workflows are possible. Items are assigned to a reviewer for review and acceptance to be published. There is also a user role that can make comments during review but cannot edit items or accept items for publication.

Does Figshare have a peer review workflow?

The curation review system and private links can be used for peer review.

What if my institution wants to change to a different platform?

Figshare believes that academic infrastructure should be interchangeable and it should be easy to move your items between platforms. You can either use the API to migrate your material or we will assist you in that process. 

Can we upload OA-Green items published elsewhere with DOIs?

Yes - An item with an existing DOI (or other identifier) can be given a handle identifier from your institution and custom metadata can be used to show the existing identifier.

Accessibility and Usability

Are public Figshare pages accessibility compliant?

Yes - Currently public facing pages are compliant with WCAG 2.1 AAA (fallback to AA when necessary), Section 508, and European accessibility standard en 301 549. Here is a list of accessibility statements from clients.

Does Figshare format citations for users?

Yes - Users can choose from a list of all the major citation styles.

Are Figshare repositories multi language?

This feature is in discussion. See the Public Roadmap. Currently, certain parts of the interface (groups, custom metadata, and metadata entries) can be set up in a foreign language. For example, see South Federal University (Russia).

Can items have authors from outside of the institution? 

Yes - each item can include external researchers (Figshare accounts across Figshare portals and Figshare.com are searchable by name, email address and/or ORCiD from the author field). Authors can be added even if they do not have an ORCiD or Figshare account.

Is there a way for researchers to collaborate?

Yes, using Projects. Restricted access publishing and private links provide other ways to collaborate on research and control who has access to sensitive data.

Can a researcher group items they don’t own?

Yes, using Collections. Collections group public items from across Figshare, including a researcher’s own items and/or those published by others. A collection has its own metadata and receives its own DOI.

Can a user organize files in a file structure?

Yes - While multiple files can be uploaded to an item at the same level, file hierarchy or folder structure can be maintained by uploading a compressed file (.zip, .tar, etc). The file structure within a compressed file is previewable in Figshare, though the individual files within the compressed file are not (see a full list of previewable file extensions). Within a user’s dashboard, individual items can be grouped using keywords.

Is there faceted search?

Yes - Search results can be narrowed by content type, date, item type, license, source, and category. Here is Figshare’s search page and some tips for use are in this help page. Faceted search options can be customized by institution.

Is there an advanced search? 

There is functionality for advanced search using Boolean operators and in-field syntax. For examples on how this works, see these guidelines.

Can users make their own profiles?

Yes - Profiles include aggregate stats, collaborators, publications, a description, social media links, ORCiD, and an image.

Do users get any type of automatic alerts?

Yes - Alerts associated with projects and items under review appear under the activity tab of the My Data page as well as email notifications.

Can authors receive push notifications?

Not at this time.

Are items shareable through social media and embedding?

Yes - There are multiple ways to share items on social media or embed them in a website.

Implementation and Support

Our implementation overview has a sample implementation schedule and more information.

Will Figshare migrate files from an existing repository?

Yes - You can use the API to migrate your own records into Figshare. Figshare can also assist you with migrating files and metadata from any repository platform for a fee, as long as the files and metadata can be extracted from the legacy system and transferred to us (usually as a spreadsheet file). For additional information, there is a webinar on migrations.

What repositories does Figshare have experience migrating content from?

Figshare has migrated content from DSpace, BePress Digital Commons, ePrints, Islandora, and Hydra/Samvera/Fedora.

Does Figshare aggregate content?

Yes - Figshare can aggregate your institution’s outputs by searching publisher repositories and several generalist repositories.

Does Figshare for Institutions come with training support?

Yes - Figshare provides both admin and end user training as part of implementation and can provide future ad hoc trainings for a cost. Additionally, there are several webinars and Figshare Fests every year to communicate feature updates and provide examples of use.

Does Figshare come with engagement support?

Yes - There are many free engagement resources available (e.g. case studies, and this engagement collection). Other engagement support comes in the form of co-branded materials and trainings. Once your implementation is complete, your Account Manager will arrange quarterly catch up calls, so that you continue to receive face-to-face support for the duration of your contract.

Is there technical support?

Yes - Support is available through a ticket system and a knowledge base.

Is Figshare always available even during maintenance?

Generally yes. Figshare has a service level agreement that includes 99.9% uptime. Figshare status is available here: https://status.figshare.com/ 

Does Figshare keep stage and production environments in sync?

Figshare does not have an automated process for syncing stage and production environments. If this is required, all updates are done manually, so we advise that if you require your environments to remain in sync, you should always make changes on stage before implementing them on production (our support team does the same for any work requested via support). As a result, the Client is responsible for updating either environment, but our Support Team can assist with stage and/or production restructures for particular tasks that cannot be done in the interface.

Pricing

How much is a subscription for Figshare for Institutions?

Pricing is based on a tiered system that depends on the ‘research intensity’ of an institution (e.g. research and publishing output of an institution over the last 5 years). While implementation and Figshare storage are included in a standard Figshare for Institutions license, there are additional fees for migration or added services. Please get in touch with us to learn more!