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Making data citable, searchable and discoverable

17th January 2012
By Kaitlin Thaney

The topic of reproducible science has caught the attention of government officials, academics and the mainstream media over recent months, with heightened scrutiny over current access policies, reward mechanisms and the need for transparency. For instance, in the US, the call for information that will inevitably shape the nation’s policies on data has just closed. Across the pond, the science minister David Willetts has echoed a similar sentiment in regards to the Coalition government’s growth agenda, and the role of transparency and access to funded research in the research enterprise. And Professor Colin Blakemore from Oxford recently raised the issue on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4.

The discussion is shifting, shaking up entrenched practices that researchers have relied upon for decades.

At Digital Science, we develop software tools that help bridge this gap in research practice, and explore opportunities in the digital space that can help make research more efficient. We’re thrilled to announce the relaunch of figshare, a community-based open data platform that we announced our support in last September, who today unveil a new look and feel as well as additional functionality. The project was founded by Mark Hahnel, developed while he was finishing his PhD at Imperial College.

figshare was founded on the principle that researchers should get credit for *all* of their research, in a system where “impact” is often solely based on published journal articles. The platform enables researchers to make their figures, datasets, images and videos publicly available, providing the researcher with a citable, searchable and discoverable endpoint – all for free. This is important not only for the supplementary data accompanying one’s experiment, but even negative results.

New functionality includes dramatically quicker upload (reduced down to a matter of seconds), unlimited storage space for data that is made publicly available on the site, and as of today up to 1GB of free storage space for users looking for a secure, private area to store their research. Users of the new site will maintain full control over the management of their research whilst benefiting from global access, version control and secure backups in the cloud.

You can access the full press release here. For more information on figshare and to stay in the loop for upcoming developments, follow them on Twitter at @Figshare or visit their website. And do tell your friends. – we’d love to hear what you think.

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