NIH Figshare Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is Figshare?
  2. What are the benefits of using the NIH Figshare instance?
  3. Why an NIH instance of Figshare?
  4. Is the NIH Figshare instance a permanent NIH solution?
  5. Who can use the NIH Figshare instance?
  6. How do I login to the NIH Figshare instance?
  7. NIH already has numerous data repositories. Does the NIH Figshare instance replace them?
  8. What type of data can I upload to the NIH Figshare instance?
  9. Are there any storage limits per user?
  10. Can I upload large datasets?
  11. Will my data become openly available as soon as I upload?
  12. Is my data secure?
  13. How is my data stored?
  14. Is there a cost to use the NIH Figshare instance?
  15. When I submit my data, what checks are done before publishing?

1. What is Figshare?

Figshare is an online repository for making research data citable, shareable, and discoverable. Data published on Figshare is assigned a persistent, citable DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and is discoverable in Google, Google Scholar, Google Dataset Search, and more.

2. What are the benefits of using the NIH Figshare instance?

The NIH Figshare instance provides all the existing Figshare features, along with these additional benefits:

  • A view of NIH-funded data on Figshare
  • Support for larger datasets
  • Updated metadata to improve discoverability of your research
  • Increased user support from Figshare, including complimentary data validity check and review of dataset title and associated text.

3. Why an NIH instance of Figshare?

As part of the NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science, the NIH is committed to providing solutions to house datasets resulting from NIH investigator publications more accessible. Researchers may sometimes find themselves with a requirement to share data, but with no specific repository to use. Whether from publications with no domain-specific repository or unpublished data that may be useful for other researchers.

NIH is engaging with Figshare on a pilot program to test the usefulness of adding generalist data repositories to the NIH data ecosystem. As an established repository, Figshare provides an easy way to corral and correlate all data associated with a grant/project in one location and makes it easy to give credit for uploaded data.

4. Is the NIH Figshare instance a permanent NIH solution?

The NIH Figshare instance is the first step toward evaluating a solution for individual datasets with no clear domain-specific repository. Regardless of the permanent solution, any and all data uploaded to Figshare, along with all metadata annotations, will be transferred to and maintained in NIH's permanent solution.

5. Who can use the NIH Figshare instance?

Any NIH-funded researcher can use the NIH Figshare instance.

6. How do I login to the NIH Figshare instance?

To create an account on nih.figshare.com, click on the 'sign up' link in the top right-hand corner of the page. Once you've completed the sign-up form, an email will be sent to you to confirm your account.

If you've already created an account, click on the 'log in' link in the top right-hand corner of the page to enter your email address and password. Once logged in, you will immediately be able to upload your data.

7. NIH already has numerous data repositories. Does the NIH Figshare instance replace them?

No - Figshare is not designed to replace any existing NIH-related repository. For NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) with existing repositories, the NIH Figshare instance is a supplemental option for any data that may not fit in an existing repository.

8. What type of data can I upload to the NIH Figshare instance?

Data resulting from NIH funding can be uploaded as long as it is de-identified and contains no sensitive information. Any data type and file formats can be uploaded. Examples of the data that can be uploaded are:

  • Datasets and spreadsheet data
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Code

Most file types can also be previewed in the browser, meaning others can see a visualization of the data on the item page without necessarily having to download the file(s).

9. Are there any storage limits per user?

The only limitation of the NIH Figshare instance is that the storage quota limit is 100GB per user. To request more storage, click on the 'Request more storage' button at the top of your 'My data' page.

10. Can I upload large datasets?

Yes, you can use Figshare's desktop uploader (https://figshare.com/tools) or API (https://docs.figshare.com) to upload large files or many files.

11. Will my data become openly available as soon as I upload?

Not necessarily. Data and metadata on Figshare can be embargoed, made confidential, or linked from another source. For more information on how to set these conditions on your data and metadata, see here.

12. Is my data secure?

All uploads that are privately stored can only be accessed by the submitter when they are logged in. The NIH Figshare instance is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 to ensure the highest level of security for your research data. AWS utilizes an end-to-end approach to secure and harden its infrastructure, including physical, operational, and software measures and provides authentication mechanisms to ensure that data is kept secure from unauthorized access.

The security and persistence of your files on Figshare make it easy to prevent plagiarism of your research data as all uploads are time-stamped.

13. How is my data stored?

The NIH Figshare instance is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 to ensure the highest level of stability for your research data. AWS stores multiple, redundant copies of your information so you don't have to worry about ever losing your master copy.

Every part of the Figshare data store is backed up - we don't just rely on the redundancy of Amazon's cloud. We do daily backups of the metadata, and weekly snapshots of the entire data system, including an encrypted one of the S3 file store.

The Figshare server clusters are monitored in real time and the service is able to scale readily to meet traffic spikes that may occur when you release new or exciting datasets. We also use MD5 checksums when storing a file, which are checked against the file regularly to ensure the file is intact.

14. Is there a cost to use the NIH Figshare instance?

There is no cost to publish NIH-funded data on the NIH Figshare instance.

15. When I submit my data, what checks are done before publishing?

When you submit your data to the NIH Figshare instance, our team will first conduct a metadata quality check to be sure your information is accurate. The team may work with the submitter to make edits to ensure the highest quality and greatest discoverability before making the data public. As part of this process, we will check:

  • Uploads match the description.
  • Files are provided in a format that can be shared, reused, and preserved.
  • Metadata sufficiently describes the data or links to resources that further describe it.
  • Embargoes are used appropriately.