Changing science with figshare

I have been a fan of figshare since their launch a few months back, but when I ran into their founder at Strata in London yesterday, I considered this a sign I should spend a post on their great initiative. So, here goes:

What is figshare?

FigShare is basically a website where scientists can store their data. Simple.

Why does figshare matter?

Datasets and other scientific results are often left in university drawers (or their digital counterparts: university websites that might be deleted when employment ends) where they are unfindable for other researchers that might built upon their results. This especially holds for data sets that  are not directly connected with a publication, because results were not significant or not in line with what the researchers were looking for. This does not mean these results are useless or false, thought, and they can even be very valuable, as Ben Goldacre explained in this morning’s keynote.

FigShare enables scientists to share their data in a secure and persistent way. So no more stuffy print outs in drawers or dead link to zipfiles.

Are people actually using figshare?

Mark promised me some more detailed statistics, but so far there have been thousands of uploads and hundreds of thousands of page views. I have put my own papers and datasets on figshare on August 16 and they got 164 and 192 views respectively. Not that many, but if I had put them on my university website, that would have been an estimated 0 and 0.

So, is this like, open science?

Yes! By putting results online, we are making science better: more open, transparent and quick. Recently, figshare announced a partnership with F1000, one of the leading open science publishers today. And, more partnerships are to come in the near future.

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  1. Neil

    My question is whether this is a long-term solution. Wouldn’t it be better to post to your own web page, where you maintain control over it? Perhaps the win is that Figshare takes care of hosting and scaling issues.

    1. Felienne (Post author)

      The problem with university website’s is that they can move or be deleted if you move jobs and that’s very common in academia. Furthermore, why would you want control? You want to share your data in the easiest way for the users so others can build upon your ideas. In an ideal world at least.

      So I think the big win of figshare is ‘findability’, but the ease of use and the scalability matter too indeed.

      Finally, it does not have to be a long term solution, but it is definitely a good way to get the debate started.

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