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Guide to Sharing Data on Figshare+

This is a guide to sharing research data on Figshare+, a Figshare repository for sharing big datasets FAIR-ly.  

For more information about Figshare+ or get started sharing a dataset, please visit https://knowledge.figshare.com/plus

For questions about Figshare+ or support with your Figshare+ data deposit, please contact the Figshare Review Team at review@figshare.com 


Figshare+ Overview

The Figshare+ repository is a flexible research repository where you can make any type of data or other output of your research publicly available and associate it with related publications and research projects. It was created specifically to support larger datasets (over 100GB, up to many TBs) and larger files sizes together with more metadata, license options, and expert support and review. Research shared in Figshare+ will be: 

  • publicly discoverable across Google and Google dataset search 
  • fully open access via the Figshare Open API and preserved using Figshare’s archive partner, DuraCloud and UCSD’s Chronopolis 
  • assigned a unique, citable DOI to include in publications 
  • meet the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) for open data, and have openly tracked metrics of reuse to get credit for all of your work

Figshare+ can help you meet publisher and journal requirements for data sharing so that you can include dataset DOIs in articles and data availability statements. Figshare+ can also be included as part of a data management and sharing plan required by your research funder (e.g. NSF, NIH) and data publishing costs may be allowable costs for your grant budget.

To begin the process of sharing a dataset on Figshare+, submit a Figshare+ Data Publishing purchase request for the specific dataset you plan to publish. This should be a dataset that supports a specific scholarly publication or a specific research project. Our team will perform a quick review of the request and get in touch with you about publishing the dataset. If the request is approved, an invoice will be sent for the one-time Data Publishing Charge for this dataset. We will create a Figshare+ user account and create a project with the required storage for uploading the dataset. You will have 12 months to submit your files and documentation to be published. Once you submit your data, it will be reviewed by the Figshare data review team to check the metadata and description (and conduct spot checks on a sample of the data files) to make the dataset as discoverable and reusable as possible. A reviewer may email you with required or suggested revisions before your dataset is published. Once published, your dataset will be publicly available with a DOI that can be included in publications and grant reports.

   

Sharing Data on Figshare+ 


Figshare+ User Account 

If this is your first time using Figshare+, the Figshare review team will email you with directions to login to your new Figshare+ user account and reset the password using the Forget Password function. 

Be sure to complete your public researcher profile and sync your ORCiD (learn about ORCiD, a persistent unique identifier for researchers). An ORCiD is required for the submitting author to publish on Figshare+. Note that you can add your ORCiD to your Figshare+ account even if you have already linked it to another figshare.com user account.


Use the Project for the dataset to create items

For Figshare+, you will upload datasets by using a Group Project that the Figshare review team creates for the specific dataset and invites you to be a collaborator on. By using Projects, we can grant the storage amount for the specific Data Publishing Charge to the project and our review team will be able to provide assistance while you upload your data. 

Once you login to your Figshare+ account, go to the Projects tab and you should see the project that your account has been invited to be a collaborator on with the naming convention “Researcher last name, Dataset, number, year”. In the project, you can create a new item, upload files, and add metadata just as on figshare.com (See guide: How to upload and publish your data). 

You should not publish this project publicly on Figshare+. Rather, use the project to draft your items, upload files, and submit the items to be published individually. If you have multiple items (maximum of 10) in the project that you would like to point to with a single link, you can create a Collection with its own description and DOI, add the published items to the collection, and then publish the collection on Figshare+.

Group files into Items and Collections

With your Figshare+ Data Publishing Charge, you can publish up to 10 unique items (datasets or other item types like software or media files) and group these into a public collection 

Group research products as you would want them to be cited and as they support specific publications. If you have a research project with multiple data files or outputs, you can choose to create multiple dataset items with just 1 or 2 files each or you can create a single item with up to 5,000 files. An item in the repository represents a unique page with files, a description, metadata, a citable DOI (digital object identifier), and openly tracked metrics of views, downloads, and citations. How you choose to group files into items should depend on how similar they are, if they are the same type of research output, and what licenses you wish to apply to which outputs. 

You can also create and publish a Collection to group together all of the published items that are part of the dataset (remember, not to publish the project you drafted the items in). A Collection offers a way to point to all of the outputs associated with a specific paper or project with a single link. Published collections have their own descriptions, DOIs, and usage metrics.


Item Types - Figshare+ offers a variety of item types based on the research product you are sharing including: 

  • Dataset: Any type of data such as tabular data, spreadsheets, microscopy, imaging, or genetic sequencing data, and more. Any file type can be shared on Figshare and many can be previewed in the browser
  • Software: Any research software or code. It may be helpful to share software separately from related data so a software-specific license can be applied. 
  • Media: Images, video, or audio files that are research data, or demonstrate or support research results. In disciplines where media files are considered primary data, these files can be shared as a dataset item if more appropriate. 
  • Online resource: Additional materials supporting research workflows or results.
  • Figure: A supplemental figure or data visualization demonstrating research results.
  • Workflow: An experimental protocol, data preparation or analysis steps, or computational pipeline for your research. 

Learn more about Figshare item types.

Upload your data files into items in the project 

In the project, you will select + Add new content and then + Create new item to start a new item of any type in the project. 

Once you create the item, files can be added by dragging and dropping them into the upload box via the browser, browsing on a local drive, or by using the Figshare API (recommended for large files or many files) 

If you have many files to share in a single item or need to have a file hierarchy, you may wish to upload zipped or compressed files as archives to preserve file structure. You can upload one or many zipped files (archives) to an item. The file names within these archives, but not the files themselves, will be previewable. 

If you have large files or many files that would be difficult to upload via the browser, you may choose to upload files via the Figshare API. To do this you will first use the API to create an item in the project and then to upload files to that item. Documentation on how to use Figshare's API can be found at https://docs.figshare.com/ along with some examples on our API Guide

Note that the Figshare FTP uploader cannot be used to upload files to projects in Figshare+. Contact us if you need additional assistance for large data upload. 


Considerations for Files
  • Opt for open and preservable file formats that can be used without proprietary software when possible, even if it requires posting the same data in multiple formats.
  • Use a consistent and descriptive file naming convention.
  • Include documentation that would be needed to understand and reuse the data as a file together with the dataset such as a README text file, a code book, or a data dictionary.
  • Adhere to any other data standards commonly used in your research community to maximize reusability.


Add metadata to provide context for your dataset

Metadata describes the dataset or other research product and helps make it discoverable, trackable, and reusable. For each item you will want to ensure that the metadata and description provide complete context to the files being shared and point to related resources for someone to understand and reuse the work. Consider the following while completing the metadata for your items:

  • Title - Include a meaningful title for your items as you would for any other research work such as a paper or presentation so that the title provides context about the research question and method. If the data supports a specific publication you might wish to include the paper title in the item title as well, but they should not be exactly the same (e.g. “Dataset supporting Paper Title”).
  • Authors – Include all authors who contributed to the data or product according to research community standards. This may mirror the authorship of the related paper or may diverge based on contribution. 
  • Categories – Select one or multiple categories that best represent the field of research of the item.
  • Item Type – Select the most appropriate item type for the research product. See item types above.
  • Keywords – Add as many keywords as you like to best describe the research product including the field of research and methodology. These can be added as free text or added from the suggestions. Hit return after each to add more.
  • Description - include a description of the specific research items shared as well as a description of the research methods used and the research study as a whole. This is important if someone discovers the research independent of any other description. This is similar to the captions you might write for a figure and the abstract you would provide for a paper. You might also wish to note related materials including publications, code, data, or webpages.
  • Funding - list all supporting funding with each funding source or grant entered separately. For projects with outside funding, you can search by grant title or number (e.g. NIH or NSF) and select the appropriate grant that will appear in the auto-populating search field from the Dimensions grant database. Funding information can also be added as free text in these fields for any support not found via the search function.
  • Resource Title and DOI - link to the related peer-reviewed publication by adding the article title in the “Resource Title” field and the publisher’s article DOI in the “Resource DOI” field (add the DOI beginning with “10.”, not the complete URL). If a peer-reviewed article is not published yet, a preprint DOI can be included in the references field. This metadata can also be updated later at any point. 
  • References - Use the “References” fields to link to other related resources such as: research materials shared in Figshare or another repository, a project or lab website, data visualizations or other formats of the data, a GitHub repository, a ClinicalTrials.gov registration or other study registration, or related publications or preprints. Include multiple links by entering return to generate a new text box.
  • License - Select an appropriate license for reuse paying particular attention to which licenses are best suited to different output types such as data, code, or written text as well as any other restrictions that may accompany the research. CC0 licenses may be useful for data to allow for the broadest reuse without restrictions. CC-BY licenses require attribution and are recommended for text materials as well as other research outputs. Figshare+ also offers several software-specific licenses including MIT, BSD, GPL, and Apache. Learn more about licenses.
  • Research Institution(s) - List the research institutions that you and your collaborators on this research are affiliated with.
  • Contact Email - Provide an email address for researchers to contact you with questions about the research. Note that this email address will be made public with the dataset.
  • Associated Preprint DOI - If you have published a preprint (e.g. bioRxiv, arXiv, medRxiv) associated with this dataset, add the DOI to that preprint here. 
  • Confirm there is no human personally identifiable information in the files or description shared
  • Confirm the files and description shared may be publicly distributed under the license selected

 Note that you can save your changes and return to a draft of your item in the project at any point. To enter edit mode for an item in a project, go to the gear symbol on the right and select edit item.

Publish your items

When you have completed adding the files and description to your item, check publish and then select publish item to submit your dataset or other materials to be reviewed and made publicly available. Once submitted, our review team will check the dataset before it is published including the metadata and description and a spot check of the files to make the data discoverable and reusable. A reviewer may contact you by email with required or suggested revisions to make before the item is published on Figshare+. Remember to publish only the items in the project individually, and not to publish the project itself.

Considerations for open data

Research published on Figshare+ will be fully public and openly available to all unless you place an embargo on the files or the item. For this reason, please consider the following when publishing data or other research materials.

  • Security - Can the data and all materials be shared and fully released for public access? Are there any restrictions based on confidentiality or security?
  • Ethics - consent to share, human subjects data, and personally identifiable information (PII). Note that only fully de-identified data without PII should be shared on Figshare+. 
  • Copyright or intellectual property - Do you have the right to distribute this work? How should the work be licensed for future reuse? Are there any patents to consider?

Learn more about best practices for open data.


DOIs

Unique, persistent, global identifiers are a way to track research outputs and each item and collection published in Figshare+ receives a unique Figshare+ DataCite DOI (Digital Object Identifier). DOIs should be used to reference research data and other materials in publications and elsewhere in scholarly work as they can be tracked, linked, and cited. Figshare’s citation data reports the use of an item’s DOI by searching across the full-text of preprints and publications to give you the best understanding of its reuse by other researchers. 

DOIs for items and collections can be reserved in advance of an item being published. When you reserve a DOI, you will want to add https://doi.org/ in front of the reserved DOI to create the link that will go live when the research is made publicly available. This can be helpful to include DOIs in manuscripts even if the data is not public yet. You can also generate a private link to a draft item to share with colleagues or peer reviewers - however, note that private links have author names removed and metrics such as citations are not tracked, so these links should never be used in publications or on public websites.


Temporarily Restricted Access with an Embargo

If you wish to upload files and publish the item but restrict access to it temporarily you can apply an embargo. You can set an embargo by selecting the time period or an end date for the embargo, selecting if the embargo should apply only to the files but not the metadata and description (recommended) or to the whole item, and optionally adding a reason for the embargo. A common use case for embargoes is awaiting publication of an associated journal article. An embargo can be ended at any point by editing the item and saving the changes.


Editing and Versioning

You can edit both draft and published items from the project using your Figshare+ account at any point during the 12 month deposit period to update the metadata and description or release a new version of the dataset. After the 12 month deposit period, you will be able to edit the metadata but changes to the files will require a request for support from the Figshare review team. Each time changes are made, you will need to save and publish the changes and the item will once again go through review before changes are reflected in the public item. A total of 5 revisions total are allowable per data publication as items will go through review each time they are revised. Note that some changes will result in a new version of the item that will be reflected with an appended version number at the end of the DOI - these include edits to title, authors, and files. The base DOI will resolve to the newest version and all previous versions will also remain publicly available.

Support

The Figshare Review team is available to provide guidance at any stage of Figshare+ data sharing. To discuss data sharing best practices or plans for publishing your research in Figshare+ in advance of submitting your data or for review and guidance on a draft dataset you have uploaded, you are welcome to reach out to the Figshare Review team by emailing review@figshare.com with specific questions or for a general consultation. 

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