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How Figshare meets the NIH ‘Desirable Characteristics for Data Repositories’

The NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing (effective January 2023) includes the supplemental information Selecting a Repository for Data Resulting from NIH-Supported Research (NOT-OD-21-016), which outlines the data repositories characteristics that researchers should seek out to share their NIH-funded research data and materials. 

Figshare.com is an appropriate and well-established generalist repository repository for researchers to permanently store the datasets and other materials produced from their NIH-funded research and to include in their NIH Data Management and Sharing Plans. 

Figshare combines established repository infrastructure including adherence to community best practices and standards for persistence, provenance, and discoverability with the flexibility to share any file type and any type of research material and documentation. Figshare makes it easy to share your data in a way that is citable and reusable and to get credit for all of your work. 

Importantly, Figshare is listed on the National Library of Medicine’s Data Sharing Resources list of Generalist Repositories


Commitment to Open Access and endorsement of community standards

Figshare is committed to making research as open as possible and providing data that is free to access. Figshare has endorsed the TRUST principles for Digital Repositories, the FAIR principles for open data, is committed to open access, data integrity, and preservation, and is ISO27001 certified


Persistent Identifiers

All research made publicly available of figshare gets allocated a DataCite Digital Object Identifier (DOI) at the point of publication. DOIs can also be reserved in advance to be included in associated publications. This ensures the unique identifier for the dataset is persistent and will not easily disappear as public content cannot be deleted from Figshare.


A globally unique identifier is one that once assigned to one entity cannot be assigned to another. But equally important, persistence means that resources must be allocated to the entity to ensure that reference rot (comprising link rot and content drift) do not occur. All items published through Figshare receive a DOI which is accessed by clicking on the Cite button on a Figshare landing page. 


Figshare Authors can also add their ORCID iD, a unique author identifier to their Figshare Author Profile and can sync Figshare with ORCID and DataCite so that all of their public items from Figshare are pushed to ORCID. 


The Funding field in Figshare metadata allows authors to add the specific grants and other sources of support for a project either by searching the linked Dimensions grants database or with free text. Researchers can add NIH grants by searching for the grant ID or title and selecting the appropriate grant. 

Sustainability

Figshare was founded in 2011 and in 2012 became a part of the Digital Science portfolio of companies that support the research lifecycle. Over this period of time, it has grown into a sustainable company with more than 150 clients including research institutions around the world. Using a subscription model for software as a service, Figshare is able to provide policy-compliant infrastructure for FAIR data sharing to users at institutions and freely on Figshare.com. 

All content in Figshare will be retained for the lifetime of the repository and is legally guaranteed to be retained and persistently available for a minimum of 10 years.

All public research data published using the free version of figshare.com will not only live on Amazon Web Services S3 storage, but also be deposited into Chronopolis for further preservation. Chronopolis is a digital preservation service based out of The University of California at San Diego.


Learn more: 

Preservation and Continuity of Access Policy 

Persistence of Data

Data Storage and Security


Metadata

To publish on Figshare - all outputs must include mandatory metadata including: title, author(s), category, item type, keywords, description, and license. Funding sources, associated publications, and other references may also be included.     


Metadata on Figshare is represented in a number of languages including but not limited to  HTML, 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). The Figshare OAI-PMH v2.0 implementation has the following baseURL: https://api.figshare.com/v2/oai


Metadata schemas on Figshare can be customised to use vocabularies that follow the FAIR principles. All Figshare items can be linked to the peer reviewed publications as well as citing any datasets used in the creation of the data.


The link between data and metadata needs to be made explicit by clearly stating the globally unique and persistent identifier in the metadata that relates to the data. Figshare does this in all metadata export languages, including Schema.org which is used for to ensure indexing of Figshare content on Google, Google Scholar, and Google Dataset Search


Integrity of data

Find Figshare data integrity policies here:

Data Integrity and Authenticity Policy

Data Moderation and Take-Down Notice Policy


Free and easy access

Figshare believes that data should be as open as possible and should always be free to access. All content hosted on figshare infrastructure can be downloaded by anyone, with no need to log in. The content can also be mass downloaded or mined using the figshare API, also openly available to anyone at docs.figshare.com.


Learn more:

Figshare Mission Statement and Core Beliefs

Data Access Policy

Broad and measured reuse

Content on Figshare.com must be licensed under a CC0 or CC-BY license to encourage broad reusability of the data. 


Learn more: 

Copyright and License Policy


Metrics of reuse are openly tracked for each public item in Figshare including the number of  Views, Downloads, and Citations and the Altmetric score. Views and downloads are COUNTER compliant and citation data is harvested from the full text of preprints and publications. Figshare has also implemented Make Data Count.


Clear Use Guidance

Content on the free Figshare.com must be licensed under a CC0 or CC-BY license to encourage broad reusability of the data. 


Learn more: 

Copyright and License Policy

Terms of Use


Security, Integrity, and Privacy

Find Figshare policies on security, integrity, and privacy here:

Data Integrity and Authenticity Policy 

Data Storage and Security

Privacy Policy

Terms of Use


Common Format

Figshare accepts all file formats in order to keep the barriers to data sharing low for researchers. This allows researchers to share the data according to the best practices of their research communities as well as allows flexibility for certain methods or disciplines where specific file types that may not be open are required for data access or reuse. Figshare does not currently perform file conversion en masse specifically because we cannot know the open formats that would be best suited for specific data types or disciplines, however it is something we are considered offering in addition to the original file format in the future.

Figshare encourages researchers to apply best practices for data sharing according to the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Discoverable), archival best practices in particular for file formats, the standards of their specific methodology or discipline, or the requirements of the funder, publisher, or data management plan (see our Guide to Best Practice for sharing data on Figshare). 

All files and metadata publicly available on Figshare are available to be freely download including via the Figshare API at https://docs.figshare.com/. Figshare’s Open API supports OAI-PMH, which gives a simple technical option for data providers to make their metadata available to services, based on the open standards HTTP (Hypertext Transport Protocol) and XML (Extensible Markup Language). For more information please visit: https://www.openarchives.org/pmh/ 


Provenance

Figshare tracks all uploaded files and any revisions made to the files or metadata of published items. Once published, Figshare supports version control. DOIs are version controlled and publication dates are openly tracked. Published data cannot be deleted from Figshare.


Learn more: 

Guide to Versions of Items on Figshare


Retention Policy

All content in Figshare will be retained for the lifetime of the repository and is guaranteed to be retained and persistently available for a minimum of 10 years. Figshare has been working hard to establish a business model that supports sustainability of the research outputs hosted on figshare. Data is stored redundantly in the cloud as well as archived in Chronopolis. 


Learn more:

Persistence of Data

Data Storage and Security

Restricted Access 

Files and entire items on Figshare can be shared with a temporary or permanent embargo or with the ability to provide restricted access to only certain users. Additional features for requesting access and providing restricted access are forthcoming.


Learn more:

Guide to Embargoed and Restricted Access Items


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