Figshare awarded NIH Generalist Repository Ecosystem Initiative grant to enhance functionality for research community

Figshare is pleased to participate in a new NIH initiative, the Generalist Repository Ecosystem Initiative (GREI). GREI is led by the NIH Office of Data Science Strategy (ODSS) and provides funding for repositories to grow their functionality and better meet the needs of research communities and the NIH Desirable Characteristics for Data Repositories

Generalist and institutional repositories play a key role in the data sharing landscape, bridging the gap between raw data and scientific outcomes by helping researchers share data in a way that is discoverable, reusable and trackable. A healthy repository ecosystem involves cooperation and the Generalist Repository Ecosystem Initiative aims to establish a framework for collaboration and best practice. 

Alongside Figshare, five other repositories — Center for Open Science, Dataverse, Dryad, Mendeley Data and Vivli — will work to improve infrastructure, standards for data sharing, and better serve users and the research community overall. 

The award granted to Figshare will be led by Principal Investigators Mark Hahnel (Figshare’s Founder and CEO) and Ana Van Gulick (Figshare’s Government and Funder Lead), and will support ongoing efforts to always be advancing our repository infrastructure to make research data better documented for findability and reuse. As part of this project, Figshare will be expanding our support for metadata standards to enhance discoverability and tracking of open research such as implementing ROR to identify research organizations, furthering our ORCID integrations for more authors, specifying the relationship types for related material DOIs, and broadening our metadata support for research funders and grants. 

The team will also explore automated methods that could be employed to enhance the FAIR-ness of data and metadata in a scalable way. Additionally, the project will include outreach efforts to better understand the use cases for generalist repositories and provide training to researchers on using Figshare and applying data sharing best practices. 

Founder and CEO of Figshare, Mark Hahnel, said: “At Figshare we want to open data to the world. We are thrilled to be involved in the NIH’s GREI initiative, which presents an important opportunity to work alongside others to pave the way for generalist repositories to serve their users even better by making their data FAIR-er and more discoverable.”

The initiative will allow Figshare to continue to support both the NIH-funded and broader research community and to expand on the lessons learned from our previous work with the NIH ODSS to pilot a generalist repositoryNIH Figshare, for NIH-funded data in 2019-2020. 

The work will include collaboration with other generalist repositories in friendly “coopetition”: a phrase that emerged at an NIH Workshop on the Role of Generalist Repositories in February 2020, with the aim to identify common standards and practices for all repositories to employ to more fully support discoverable and reusable open research data. In collaboration with the NIH and our GREI partners, we plan to share updates and outcomes of this project on our blog as well as through public events and websites. All code and materials produced as part of this project will be made publicly available for reuse via software repositories and

For more information on GREI, please visit the Office of Data Science Strategy’s website.