Case Studies

Here are some scenarios showing how researchers could use figshare for managing their research data outputs, with examples from different areas of research.

  • Wen, PhD student

    Wen is 18 months into her PhD and still in process of generating her data, but wants to start establishing her researcher identity. She already has some data associated with a published article she co-authored with others in her research team. Wen has also created an ORCiD, which means that she and her research can be uniquely identified.

    In Figshare, Wen could:

    • update her figshare profile and associate it with her ORCiD, so that all her public items on figshare are automatically added to her ORCiD profile
    • create public items for the data associated with the article that’s already published, making the data accessible and citeable
    • create private items for the final data that she already has, and add more files as they eventuate
    • publish her final data on submission of her PhD, adding an embargo if required so that the data is not public until after a specified period of time
  • Anton, music researcher

    Anton, an academic in the Elder Conservatorium, is working on the development of electronic wind instrument software and its application in jazz music. He has a research grant, the conditions of which include making his research outputs available in an open access institutional repository. Included in his research data are lots of multimedia files, including musical compositions and recorded audio performances. He has also made a number of live performances as part of his project.

    In figshare, Anton could:

    • publish his video/audio files, which will be playable in the browser and citeable via DOIs
    • publish other items associated with his research, such as music scores or code for the software he has developed, making them accessible and citeable and complying with the terms of his grant
  • Priya, medical researcher

    Priya is working in conjunction with SA Health on a research project which includes the collection of data from patient records. As the project is funded by NHMRC, Priya has submitted a data management plan that outlines how, where and in what formats her data will be stored.

    Because Priya is working with sensitive data, there are a few things that she needs to consider before publishing her data:

    • making sure the data have been de-identified to remove any personal information - for this, Priya could get assistance from Adelaide Health Technology Assessment
    • making sure that she is complying with any restrictions placed on the data as part of ethics approvals
    • making sure that she is complying with any confidentiality obligations to SA Health or other third parties

    In Figshare, Priya could:

    • if permitted by the above, create public items for data or other outputs, making them accessible and citeable
    • if she is unable to share/upload the data due to the restrictions above, create metadata only records for the data and add her contact details, so that interested parties can approach her about using the data and cite its source
  • Thanh, sociology researcher

    Thanh is a researcher in sociology, and is collaborating on a project about youth crime rates with researchers from Flinders. Their team is about to publish an article in an open access journal and the publisher requires Thanh to also provide open access to the research data.

    Like Priya, Thanh needs to make sure that his data have been de-identified and that he is complying with any restrictions imposed by ethics approvals.

    In Figshare, Thanh could:

    • create a figshare project and add his Flinders collaborators as members so they can all upload the final data (while keeping the project private so that only members can see the data)
    • in advance of the publication date, reserve a DOI for the research outputs and supply it to the publisher so that the forthcoming article will contain a citeable link to the data
    • once the publishing date for the article is known, publish the project/items with an embargo that makes the data public on the same day that the article is published
  • Martin, agricultural science researcher

    Martin works in plant phenomics, and his research into a new drought resistant wheat strain involves thrice-daily high-resolution image captures of plant growth. As a result, he has very large volumes of data distributed across many files. Martin wants to share his data but doesn't want to upload his files to figshare because they are already stored in a specialised commercial/discipline-specific repository.

    In figshare, Martin could:

    • create public items that contain a link to the repository where the files are hosted, in order to improve the visibility of his data and provide a DOI that can be used to cite them
  • Mel, computer science researcher

    Mel works in computer science, and her research on peer-to-peer distributed systems includes the production of open source code. She shares this code via GitHub, but wants to also make it available via figshare.

    In figshare, Mel could:

    • use the figshare/GitHub integration tool. Her GitHub projects will be imported as figshare items, and any changes she makes to her GitHub projects will be also updated in figshare. In addition to increasing visibility, this will give the projects a DOI and make them citeable.
  • Pablo, electrical engineering researcher

    Pablo is doing research in the area of sensor array signal processing, where the sensors that he monitors produce a high volume of small data files. He wants to make the data publically available, but the volume of files makes this difficult and he doesn't want to manually upload the data to Figshare.

    To use Figshare, Pablo could:

    • approach the Research Technology Helpdesk, to discuss creating an automated solution to upload files to Figshare via their API
  • Sekai, plant genomics researcher

    Sekai is a researcher in the field of wheat genomes, and has a high volume of sequence data filesets related to her previous publications. She wants to make the supplementary data publically available, and considered doing so via the publishers' websites but found that many publishers had quite low limits for uploading data. Therefore she wants to share her filesets on Figshare but doesn't want to upload them manually because of the high volume of files.

    Before uploading to Figshare, Sekai could:

    • Approach the Research Technology Helpdesk, to request an increase in her personal storage limit and to get help creating an automated solution to upload her files to Figshare via their API

    In Figshare, Sekai could:

    • Create a collection for her filesets so that they have a high level description of the research project and a DOI