figshare help

How to use Figshare for thesis and dissertation outputs

Figshare is a good place to share outputs from thesis or dissertation work, including datasets, presentations, posters, and other supplementary material. This help article offers suggestions to help you share these outputs appropriately.

What can you share?

It is best practice to share any research outputs that might help someone interpret, reproduce, or replicate your research. Please see Best practice for managing your outputs on Figshare for things to consider before sharing. In general, you should ‘own’ the files, files should be in open formats when possible, you should include a README file, and you should fill out the metadata fields as completely as possible.

Your thesis or dissertation is likely already in a digital format and available in a repository. Check with your university to find out if you can put a copy in Figshare. If a digital copy is already available with a persistent identifier (like a handle or DOI), you should link your Figshare records to that digital copy using the Related materials field.

How to share outputs

Figshare’s help site contains articles to help you upload, describe, and publish your outputs. There are also instructions on how to import files from tools like GitHub and BitBucket, and resources describing how to cite your outputs and what the metrics mean. Be sure to sign up for an ORCID and connect it to your Figshare account.


Specific guidance for graduate students


You may be seeking or already have grant funding and you should look at the guidelines from your funder on data sharing. Figshare provides advice on writing data management plans as well as sharing outputs funded by NSF and NIH

Organizing outputs

You probably have a variety of outputs to share. Think carefully about how they might be reused in the future and how others will need to cite your outputs. In some cases, it makes sense to put many files into one Figshare item so that they can be cited together as in this example. Most of the time, one has multiple files that may need to be cited individually, like a dataset, a poster, and code. In this case it may make sense to put individual files in individual items like this. Or perhaps group the files in items (this is part of a large set of items).

Importantly, if you put files into individual items, the best practice is to link those files together through the metadata. The Figshare platform also provides Collections as another way to relate items to each other. The individual item linked above is part of a Collection. The example with files grouped in many items is also part of a Collection. All of the items in those Collections can be cited using one DOI, or they can be cited individually. 

Pro Tip: It’s good practice to put the Collection DOI in the References field for each member item so that a user can find your Collection from each item.


For more on Collections, please see How to use collections

For graduate students, a Collection is a great way to showcase everything you accomplished in your thesis or dissertation and it provides a way to easily cite or refer to those outputs in a CV or presentation.

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