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Figshare is an online digital repository that aims to make research sharable and citable (via DOIs). Figshare is a space where researchers can share research outputs, including figures, datasets, images and videos. This service is free to use and access and adheres to Panton "open data" principles in the scientific community. Owned by Elsevier, Figshare data files are loaded under a Creative Commons license, CC-BY for most files and CC0 (public domain) for datasets. Figshare allows researchers to publish negative datasets. Withholding negative results leads to bias in the literature often referred to in the scientific community as the file drawer "publication bias" effect. As of 2016, Figshare is working to help academic institutions store, share and manage all of their research outputs. See https://figshare.com/services/institutions
According to Thelwall (2016), "...academics can use their web CVs to publicise their outputs (but) resource sharing is supported by general purpose scientific repositories such as Figshare which began in 2011 and supports researchers from all disciplines to deposit any type of electronic information online for use by others. Collections of files deposited in Figshare are given a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to encourage users to credit the originators of the resources used by citing it in formal publications."
Figshare is partnering with a number of scholarly societies and publishers. Royal Society journals for example require authors to share their datasets on which scholarly articles are based. This partnership with Figshare will help us to make all datasets as available and searchable as possible.
Rise of open data
Since at least the 2003 Berlin Declaration on Open Access, the relevance of research data in scholarly communication has grown exponentially. Research data has taken on a life of its own with grant funding agencies now placing data at the level of product (Piwowar, 2013). The rise of open data repositories such as Figshare is an interesting one, and linked to aspects of open access. For its part, Figshare is a form of cloud computing enabling researchers to publish datasets, tables, videos, figures and other knowledge objects. All file formats are uploadable including multimedia, video and data, and information moved to the appendices or supplemental sections in papers. Up to 1GB of data can be stored privately for free, and users have unlimited space for publicly available research.
The Digital Preservation Network (DPN) is partnering with Figshare to support management of research data. Research data made public on Figshare will be simultaneously deposited into DPN, a dark archive that preserves scholarship for future generations. Figshare will guarantee that long-term access to scholarly data will be protected in any changes in administrative or physical institutional environments. Figshare will use DuraCloud Vault to add content to DPN to preserve it. Multi-scale data preservation aims to ensure content exists within a heterogeneous network that spans diverse geographic, environmental, and political climates will enable the secure, long-term preservation of Figshare content, which will ultimately reside under control of the academy.
Negative data results
Scientists and researchers can publish null results on Figshare, avoiding the file drawer effect while helping to make scientific research more available for peer review. Figshare uses Creative Commons to allow research data-sharing, while allowing researchers to choose when they want their data to be made public. Scientists are concerned about unfettered openness. As Murray-Rust of Cambridge says, “the primary purpose of publication for most academics is self-advancement”. Yet the notion of being secretive in scholarly work and scientific research is slowly breaking down. Figshare focuses on giving users credit for their research, and with increasing evidence for open access and its role in increasing impact, this is imperative. By using traditional impact measures (i.e. number of citations) with altmetrics, Figshare provides more depth, realtime measurements and a host of other benefits. Figshare aims to make research accessible without having to wait for others to cite.
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