In May 2022, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) published a document, Desirable Characteristics of Data Repositories for Federally Funded Research. This document describes the features and functionality desired by the OSTP “to reduce the complexity for the research community — including investigators, program officers, data managers, librarians, and others — in complying with Federal data sharing policies.”
Figshare.com is an appropriate and well-established generalist repository for researchers to permanently store the datasets and other materials produced from their Federally-funded research. Figshare+ uses the same repository infrastructure to offer support for sharing large datasets including transparent costs that can be included in funding proposal budgets.
Figshare repositories offer 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.
Below, we describe how Figshare meets most of the OSTP’s Desirable Characteristics of Data Repositories for Federally Funded Research.
Learn more about how to get started sharing your Federally-funded data with Figshare with the following resources:
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional support sharing Federally-funded research data or other materials.
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. All Figshare metadata is licensed CC0 for broad reusability.
At the same time, there are some cases when it is appropriate to restrict access to data, which Figshare supports via embargo, private link, and linked data options. An embargo can be applied for any period of time on either the files only or the entire item. Figshare for Institutions may also offer the ability to restrict access to logged-in users, groups, or by IP range, and enable a “request access” feature.
Content on the figshare.com must be licensed under a machine readable license: either a CC0 or CC-BY license, or a GPL, MIT, or Apache license for code, to encourage broad reusability of the data.
Researchers are encouraged to include additional documentation regarding any access or reuse requirements as a README file and in the dataset description.
Figshare is ISO27001 certified, meaning we adhere to their framework of policies and procedures regarding information risk management processes.
Figshare is ISO27001 certified
All content on 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 for long-term preservation.
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 additional preservation systems for long-term preservation.
All research made publicly available on 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 item 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 grants by searching for the grant ID or title and selecting the appropriate grant.
To publish on Figshare, all outputs must include mandatory metadata including: title, author(s), category, item type, keywords, description, and a machine-readable license. Funding sources, author ORCID, title and DOI of an associated peer-reviewed publication, and links to 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.
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 to ensure indexing of Figshare content on Google, Google Scholar, and Google Dataset Search.
Metadata and identifiers are also areas Figshare is actively working on enhancing more in the future — see our product roadmap.
Institutions that use Figshare to power a Figshare for Institutions repository may use the Figshare review module for curation of files and metadata before they are published. Organizations using Figshare for their repository can turn on this review feature and have experts review and edit datasets and metadata in collaboration with authors before they are published. Figshare also offers this as a service for Figshare portals via Figshare Curation Services. Lastly, Figshare+, Figshare’s repository for big datasets, does include expert review of files and metadata before they are published to maximize discoverability and reuse.
Data on figshare.com must be licensed under a CC0 or CC-BY license (or a GPL, MIT, or Apache license for code) in order to encourage broad reusability of the work. Metadata is licensed CC0.
Metrics of reuse are openly tracked for each public item on 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 based on the dataset’s unique DOI. Figshare has also implemented Make Data Count to meet community standards for metrics.
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, although this is under consideration for future development.
Figshare encourages researchers to apply best practices for data sharing according to the FAIR principles, 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 downloaded, 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/.
Figshare tracks all uploaded files and any revisions made to the files or metadata of draft and 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. For Figshare for organizations portals, actions such as changes made by a reviewer or by an administrator impersonating a user are logged.
User accounts on figshare.com are required to authenticate their account before the account is created. Figshare for organizations users are able to use a number of Single Sign-On (SSO) or account creation methods including but not limited to Shibboleth, ADFS, HR feeds, and more.
Figshare authors can add their ORCID iD, a unique author identifier to their Figshare Author Profile so their ORCID is linked to published items and can sync Figshare with ORCID and DataCite so that all of their public items from Figshare are pushed to ORCID.
Figshare’s technical infrastructure is designed and backed-up regularly to ensure sustainability and security. Platform files — files uploaded by users — are backed up after the file is uploaded and this is tested daily. The core database is backed up and tested daily and includes a primary and secondary backup location. The statistical database is backed up and tested weekly and the search engine indexes are backed up and tested monthly. Source code and configuration files are backed up on change and tested at build time.
Figshare has clear policies on security, integrity, and privacy:
Figshare is ISO27001 certified.
Figshare has a documented Incident Management Procedure as does Digital Science.
When sharing data from human participants, particular consideration must be paid to data sharing practices from the beginning of the project (e.g., IRB protocol and informed consent language) through data management and sharing (e.g., de-identification, access). Researchers must manage and share data in accordance with Federal Regulations for the protection of human research participants and any requirements of their academic institution or Institutional Review Board.
Figshare may also be used in combination with other data repositories to share some research outputs in a restricted manner and others more openly. Links between these related outputs can be specified in the dataset description and metadata.
Figshare.com does not currently meet the considerations for documenting fidelity to consent or security features specific to human data (e.g. tiered access, credentialing of data users) or data access requests, however some of these may be met by Figshare for Institutions repositories that employ dataset review or enable the ‘Request Access to Restricted Files’ feature.
Figshare does not currently administer restricted access to datasets but researchers or organizations may use Figshare’s restricted access functionality to do so in combination with other systems. An embargo may be applied to files only or files and metadata, linked files can be hosted elsewhere, and access can be provided by private link or to certain groups on custom Figshare portals.
Additional features for requesting and providing restricted access to certain logged-in users are forthcoming as well as updates to private links functionality.
Access to files uploaded but not yet published on figshare.com is limited to the user account that uploaded them. Private links may be generated by a user to provide access to others, however access is available to anyone with the link and is not audited. For published items on figshare.com, access is freely available to all without an account unless an embargo has been applied and this access is not audited. Views and downloads are counted on a per item basis and are logged by IP address but not by user account or any other end user information.
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