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Online Research Repository Adds Finer Access Control

An online digital repository for academic researchers is being updated. The newest version of Figshare from Digital Science puts an emphasis on controls for more granular management of data.

This repository allows users to make their research available in a citable, shareable and discoverable manner. People can upload any file format — figures, datasets, media, papers, posters, presentations and filesets — to be made viewable in a browser.

According to the company, increasingly, researchers must develop a data management plan as a requirement of their funding or must address data sharing in interdisciplinary or cross-institutional projects. To address these changes and other areas of usage, the new release focuses on three areas: control, discoverability and usability.

Enhancements in the area of control allow the researcher to place embargoes on content for publication on a specific time and day; enable collaboration of confidential files by releasing a metadata-only record for files that are deemed private or sensitive; and linking to files already stored elsewhere to save on storage.

Discoverability updates are intended to save users time by making it easier for researchers to collect and find relevant content. For example, a Pinterest board-like function allows a researcher to group content in a separate, citable unit with associated metadata. Improvements have also been made to the search engine in the program.

Usability enhancements have been made to new article pages and public profiles of contributors, and a notification feature has been added for workflow.

"Researchers from all areas tell us they see the amount of data growing exponentially year-over-year and are faced with the challenge of storing, managing, disseminating and reproducing the large and diverse data sets being generated in today's ever-more collaborative world," said CEO Mark Hahnel in a press release. "Our goal is to provide tools that enable control and reuse, while recognizing that some data contains personal, ethical or commercially sensitive information that cannot be made available to the general public."

The new release was expected this month and will be made available to all current customers.

Among institutional users of Figshare are Wake Forest University in North Carolina, U Melbourne in Australia and Loughborough U in the United Kingdom.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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