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How Figshare aligns with the FAIR principles

The FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) as described by Wilkinson et al 2016 are now the standard guidance for publishing open digital research objects. Whether you are publishing an open access paper, dataset, or other output, meeting these principles will make sure others can access and reuse the output and then give you credit through a citation.

Whether using a Figshare account on or an account in an institutional Figshare repository, the platform helps you make outputs as FAIR as possible in the following ways.


Principles Figshare Alignment
F1. (meta)data are assigned a globally unique and persistent identifier Every record receives a persistent identifier. On this is a DataCite DOI. At institutions it may be a DOI or a Handle.
F2. data are described with rich metadata (defined by R1 below) Figshare metadata is based on the DataCite metadata schema and the user interface encourages complete content for required fields through help tips and simplicity in layout. Additional fields provide optional ways to enhance the metadata richness.
F3. metadata clearly and explicitly include the identifier of the data it describes In Figshare’s metadata schema, the identifier is stored in a dedicated field called ‘doi’ or ‘handle’.
F4. (meta)data are registered or indexed in a searchable resource Figshare has highly discoverable pages indexed in major search engines and specialty indexes. More information is here.


Principles Figshare Alignment
A1. (meta)data are retrievable by their identifier using a standardized communications protocol Metadata and data are available through https and a REST API, both standard communication protocols. Metadata is also available through OAI-PMH.
A1.1 the protocol is open, free, and universally implementable https, REST API, and OAI-PMH are all open, free, and universally implementable.
A1.2 the protocol allows for an authentication and authorization procedure, where necessary Figshare encourages both metadata and files to be published as openly as possible. This is not always possible depending on the nature of the content. On authors can apply an embargo to files limiting access only to the author who can authenticate to the account. A Project can be used to provide access to other users. Published metadata is always available with no authentication. For institutions using Figshare, metadata and files may be published with embargoes or restricted access and may have a request access step for access.
A2. metadata are accessible, even when the data are no longer available On any public item receives a DOI and will have its metadata stored by both Figshare and DataCite. Figshare will retain and keep available this metadata for the lifetime of the repository. For institutions using Figshare, metadata will be sent to the chosen DOI service and the institution can also back up metadata and files to a preservation system. If an institution cannot maintain its repository, Figshare has options to help keep the metadata accessible.


Principles Figshare Alignment
I1. (meta)data use a formal, accessible, shared, and broadly applicable language for knowledge representation. Figshare’s metadata schema uses common elements from DataCite Schema 4.4 and is documented in the API documentation. It can be mapped to standard metadata schemas. Landing pages offer citation metadata in Dublin Core, DataCite, National Library of Medicine, RIS, Endnote, BibTeX, and RefWorks formats. Additional formats are available through the OAI-PMH Endpoints.
I2. (meta)data use vocabularies that follow FAIR principles On several metadata fields offer controlled lists of values including Categories (ANZSRC Fields of Research), funding (, and open licenses. Institutions using Figshare can add controlled vocabularies to custom metadata fields and can include more license options.
I3. (meta)data include qualified references to other (meta)data Links with descriptions can be added to the Description field. Contextual options to links in the References field will be added this year.


Principles Figshare Alignment
R1. meta(data) are richly described with a plurality of accurate and relevant attributes Figshare’s metadata schema is designed to be descriptive but also relatively easy to complete and flexible for all researchers. Help tooltips provide guidance for each field.
R1.1. (meta)data are released with a clear and accessible data usage license Every item in Figshare receives a license and the landing page for the item links to the license information.
R1.2. (meta)data are associated with detailed provenance The Figshare system tracks posted, first online, and modified dates (institutions may have other date options). Every item is associated with an account and authors can be described with email addresses and ORCIDs, and institutions can include additional internal identifier information. Figshare records are also versioned and end users can access previous versions.
R1.3. (meta)data meet domain-relevant community standards The repository is a generalist repository for use by any domain. Figshare’s metadata schema is based on the DataCite metadata schema and so is broadly applicable across domains and interoperable with other community initiatives supporting discoverability. Institutions may use custom metadata options to create metadata application profiles that align with specific domain relevant community standards.

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