Figshare Announces Next-Generation Platform – Customized for Academic Institutions

    Figshare, an online digital repository for academic researchers, today launched the next generation of its research data management platform, Figshare for Institutions, developed to address the specific needs of academic institutions to store research data securely. The pioneering platform has piloted at institutions in the U.K., Australasia, and mainland Europe, and supports their needs for better storage, preservation, accessibility and publication of the outputs produced by their researchers.

    New functionality includes:

    • Portals that showcase research of an institution or department
    • Ability to group content into collections
    • Data curation and administrative workflows
    • Flexible storage options
    • Increased file upload limits
    • Enhanced content discoverability through a revamped search, categorization and metadata

    Also announced today, St. Edward’s University (Austin, TX) is the first academic institution in the U.S. to adopt the Figshare platform and will be using it to showcase its digital humanities content. “We looked at the different options on the market, including building it ourselves using open source software, but nothing offers the extensive functionality and scalability that Figshare does,” said Pongracz Sennyey, Library Director at St Edward’s University.

    “For more than four years we have played an instrumental role in the overall research community promoting open data, while understanding that some sensitive data, such as patient data, must remain private,” said Mark Hahnel, CEO and founder of Figshare. “We have worked closely with our institutional partners to develop a platform that has reimagined what a repository can do for an institution and has the potential to revolutionize the way the research community manages and disseminates data.”

    Through close partnerships with pilot partners including Auckland University, Brunel University, Loughborough University, Melbourne University, Monash University, Salford University, Sheffield University and Stockholm University, Figshare has developed a system that satisfies institutions’ needs for better management and control of research outputs while complying with funders’ open data mandates. The user-friendly platform integrates into existing workflows, offers institutional single sign on systems and focuses on simplicity, so as not to add to the administrative burden on researchers. The newly created ‘collections’ functionality allows any openly available Figshare content to be grouped together as one citable unit, giving institutions and researchers a new way to organize and present related material.

    One pilot partner, Monash University, Australia, will be using the collections feature to showcase the Music Archive of Monash University (MAMU), a physical and digital collection of musical instruments, scores, field recordings, and diverse other musical materials acquired since the foundation of the University’s original Department of Music in 1965.

    Professor Margaret Kartomi, MAMU’s Founding Director, said, “We at MAMU are pleased to have been able to help the Library develop and upload our extensive audio, audio-visual and material content into Figshare over the past year. Being able to group the outputs together in our collections of musical instruments, textiles, masks, puppets, artefacts, images, moving images, sound recordings, music notations, maps, field-notes, drawings and paintings is a great way for users to discover and navigate the content.”

    By providing a sanctioned and secure place to store data, institutions encourage researchers to move away from using generic cloud based storage, USB sticks and other poor data management practices that jeopardize the security and longevity of those data sets. The private project spaces give researchers a tailor-made solution for sharing and collaborating on their active data. The metrics and reporting dashboard offers institutions unprecedented insight into the outputs being produced and the collaborations being undertaken by their researchers. In addition, the data curation workflows give the institution control over what data is made public and to ensure objects are labeled correctly with appropriate metadata.

    Figshare for Institutions operates under an annual subscription license and can provide data storage through Amazon Web Services. Alternatively, Figshare interoperates with existing institutional storage and infrastructure or centrally provided storage such as RDSI in Australia or other third party providers including DuraCloud.