Announced last week, Figshare have been working with Mozilla Science Lab and GitHub to investigate ways in which academics can receive credit for their code and software.

The first step in this collaboration is the release today of functionality within Figshare and a selection of browser plugins available through the project homepage.

You can now sync your GitHub repos through the Figshare upload page. This, combined with the version control that Figshare provides, allows researchers to cite the exact files that were used in generating their research outputs. A copy of all files is also pulled from GitHub into Figshare to ensure the persistence of the code as a research output.

The project has been garnering feedback and heightening awareness through the work of the Mozilla Science Lab since we announced we were working on this back in December. You can catch up on the project’s evolution
here. This is just one way in which the Science Lab is looking to move things forward in this space. It is also spearheading collaborations with other groups, such as Software Carpentry, with the following 3 verticals:

  • Technical prototyping (showing what’s possible if systems operate like the web)
  • Community-building
  • Educational programs and digital literacy

Browser Extensions

This project will test whether having a means of linking code repositories to those commonly used for data will allow for software and code to be better incorporated into existing credit systems (by having persistent identifiers for code snapshots) and how seamless we can make these workflows for academics using tools they are already familiar with. We’ve seen this tested with data over recent years, with sharing of detailed research data associated with increased citation rates.

This means that the tool should be extensible to other repositories for code. A good way to do this is via plugins and browser extensions which other teams can fork and tweak through GitHub. This follows on from some early proof of concept work based on the APIs of GitHub and figshare, which can be found here.

The Firefox add-on puts a new button in your GitHub repository, which allows you to ‘Get a DOI’. Alternatively, there is also a bookmarklet which works in all browsers or a manual entry form, as shown below on the project homepage:

118 Git Firefox

Thesis

Today Figshare also add another type of research output to their growing list of supported formats, the academic ‘thesis’. They think it is important to separate essays and pre-prints that fall under the ‘papers’ section and ‘theses’. If you have an undergrad, masters or doctoral thesis that has never made it past your bookshelf, share it now and make it citable with a DOI!

If you have previously added code or a thesis and put it under type = dataset or paper, you can go in and change it – just go to ‘my data’, click on the appropriate file and change the type on the left hand side.