In support of the sociocultural working group, I am now assisting with an inquiry into the phenomenon of sharing data online via publishing and archival services. In particular, I’m looking at the user community surrounding FigShare.
Over the summer I took a course in Scholarly Publishing. The class examined a number of options for publishers looking to link online data to the published results or conclusions (in the form of a traditional research paper).
Some of the opportunities include various repositories that are also members of DataONE, such as Dryad or ORNL Distributed Active Archive Center. Dryad and DAAC could be thought of as more “formal” organizations, at least in the sense of their origins traced to established institutions.
Figshare on the other hand, has characteristics more closely linked to Web 2.0 services like social media platforms or online photo albums. Unlike some popular social networks and file sharing systems, however, sharing of information on Figshare is focused on providing unique and persistent identifiers. With a focus on archival and sharing in a citable way, it is easy to store digital materials, then publish and cite materials stored there.
Part of my work will be understanding the attraction of figshare to “early adopters.” With a variety of online publishing platforms, including some provided by Universities and competitors to Figshare, what draws users to try out FigShare? Is it something unique to the service, or is it instead something unique to the users? What are the motivations and preferences of researchers using an open-access publishing platform such as Figshare?These questions may lead to insights for the DataONE initiative as it works to engage more researchers and make data sharing commonplace.
In looking at this issue again, it’s worth revisiting the paper I put together concerning electronic publishing options for datasets for my scholarly e-publishing summer course.
It’s archived on my e-portfolio site at <http://mountainsol.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/590jesselt-dataset-role-is590.pdf>
Concerning Figshare, I wrote the following:
Figahare permits registered users to upload a wide variety of research output (figures, datasets, media, papers, posters, and filesets) which are all registered with a DOI. In addition, Figshare assigns a Creative Commons (CC) “By” license to all works uploaded to the site. The “BY” designation “lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation.” Figshare also provides the option to assign CC0 – “No Rights Reserved” – a designation Figshare suggests is appropriate for datasets.
More information about Figshare is available at http://www.figshare.com/faqs.
From Ben Birch, a graduate research assistant on DataONE pursuing a PhD in Information Sciences, I have some additional information that I’ve archived for my reference on the UT DataONE CICS Sharepoint site.
This data includes survey responses from 40 respondents connected to Figshare, distributed to the Figshare community via a collaboration with staff at Figshare who agreed to invite Figshare users to participate.
Unfortunately there was system wide maintenance outage at University of Tennessee on the exact day that the survey invitation was distributed, so there is concern that the total population of potential respondents was not given the chance to respond. However, 40 is a solid number of respondents, and perhaps indicates the enthusiasm of early adopters for sharing data and collaborating.
Questions in the survey concern the type of information uploaded to figshare. Birch’s survey lists: Figures; Tables; Datasets; Articles; Methods; Failed Experiments; Other; or “None.”
I am interested in exactly how Birch selected these “types of information,” since they do differ from what I cited as allowable materials from <http://www.figshare.com/faqs> and is also repeated here <http://figshare.com/cc_license>.
It is possible that Birch was looking through designated file types.
In any case, I should sign up for an account on Figshare.
They offer an ORCID ID as an option, with a “What’s This” hyperlink directing users to <http://orcid.org/>.
Additional information solicited includes: first name, last name, e-mail (and confirm), along with a password.
I’ll use a password manager (lastpass) to generate a password – interesting question may be how “weak” of a password Figshare lets me use.
I entered my first and last name and supplied my University of Tennessee net ID and e-mail address. I used a very basic password (1234).
To its credit, figshare denied access, suggesting “Password is too short”
I entered a new password, “animals.” Apparently that is an appropriate length, although obviously not appropriately secure.
My first step is to change my password to something secure, generated by my password manager.
Now that that’s settled, let’s take a look at my University of Tennessee e-mail.
At 5:49, moments after registering, I received an e-mail from Figshare, specifically “email@example.com.” The title is “Welcome to figshare”
Reading on my mobile phone (iPhone 4), the most prominent feature is the Figshare logo and “Welcome Tanner” with my name in green. Key words are highlighted in red: figshare, upload your data, license. Also, “twitter, facebook, or google” are highlighted in red, which I find odd. It is possible these are hyperlinks.
The message consists of three blocks of text, each block comprised of no more than 3 sentences, with one block only 1 sentence.
The message concludes with “Thanks a lot, The figshare team.” My impressions are that this is an informal, friendly site. I will say I’m not sure why gray text on a gray background makes much sense, and in fact I can’t read it that well on my iPhone screen so I’m not going to try. I’ll just open it up on my Safari web browser in Outlook mail.
Volmail has blocked some of the content, and the message appears to be stripped of some formatting. Some noticeable changes are that the e-mail address for “comments, problems, or suggestions” is highlighted. Secondly, for some reason outlook has centered my message.
I have archived the content as received, and “unblocked” the content. View below:
The content does not change that much.
Key points from each block of text:
Make all your research objects available
Get 1 GB of private space
If you have comments
Something interesting to me in looking at this again is why highlight google+? With Facebook’s “Journey to 5 Billion Users” and twitter’s worldwide popularity – it is an interesting outreach platform. We might think of google+ as another “early adopter” social network; therefore, it would make sense that “early adopters” of figshare would also find google+ to be an important information dissemination and networking medium.
I think it’s worthwhile to check out each of these social media channels, so I’ll go ahead and save their URLs now while they are in front of me:
(Oh google, no vanity URL?)
Let’s look at some key metrics as of October 1st, 6:00 pm Eastern.
Twitter: 8,017 Tweets; 9,603 Following; 9,999 Followers
One question I have is why is there such a high “Following to Follower” ratio? And who is figshare following?
Last tweet: 5 Sep
Hashtags used would be interesting – the first one I see is “libraries” and in fact this is a “promoted” tweet- in other words – they paid for this one to show up.
Key items to note include a background promoting “1GB of private space” and “Unlimited public space.”
The account is verified.
The self summary features this text:
Make all of your research outputs sharable, citable (with a DOI) and visible in the browser for free. firstname.lastname@example.org
London · figshare.com
Facebook: 5,345 lifes; 162 talking about this; and incidentally, two friends in my personal social network like Figshare (both hold doctorates). The last post was 20 hours ago. The hashtag used on that most recent post was “bioinformatics.” The most recent “promoted post” was September 27, highlighting a tweet from a figshare user.
Words that stand out from a quick scan of the page: Public Access, Emancipate, Benefit Humanity, Learning. Frequently used hashtag includes: #openscience #opendata #openresearch.
Note: news about figshare early adopters might be readily obtained from Figshare. I am now going to “like” the page using my personal account. (I am also now their 10,000th follower on twitter… is there a prize for that?).
From the Facebook “About” page:
Publish all of your research outputs!
And if your research is not ready to be made public, you can store it ina secure space in the figshare cloud.
Sign up now! Its free and you’ll benefit from:
1GB private space – taggable and easily filtered, your research data is better managed and easy to locate.
Unlimited public space.
Publish your negative data – all published research is citable.
Upload all formats of your research outputs – all published research is citable.
Quick and simple upload – even your PI can use it.
Cloud based – Secure and accessible from anywhere.
#OpenScience #OpenResearch #OpenData #OpenAccess
Plus: 477,906 people “Have them in circles.” This is very interesting – again the idea of Google + as an “early adopter” nexus may be validated here – although the idea of “have them in circles” might be less intuitive than what a “like” via facebook means. Worth exploring.
Also, the most recent post was 4:15 pm. Therefore, the most recently used social media account is Plus.
It’s worth looking to see if Figshare has any other social media engagement platforms (e.g., vimeo, youtube, or slideshare). They do have a blog (http://figshare.com/blog).
Most recent hashtag is #data #visualization. Some of this content appears identical to Facebook updates. It is possible figshare is using a cross-platform publishing service.
However, if that is true, then they publish on Google + and then push content to facebook. This would be confirmed if the most recent “data visualization” post shows up on their facebook post at some point.
From the Plus “about” page: