Tools for sharing open research materials: Zenodo and Figshare

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An announcement about Figshare, an online repository for academics to publish and share research materials, caught my eye, and opened up a new niche that I had not known about. The announcement was related to a premium version being offered, with private shared contexts (‘collaborative spaces’) and additional private storage.

I find the wholesale shift  toward open research in the academic world heartening. Figshare has a competitor in Zenodo, a similar solution offered by the research organization at Cern, in Europe.

Here’s an example of some research posted at Figshare:

Screenshot 2013-12-27 09.36.21

Users can create profiles, upload files (max 2G per file), and in particular share their data with other researchers.

This is only a first glance, and I can’t really put the tool through its paces as I am not really an academic despite the occasional seven syllable word.

My sense is that Zenodo is more fully featured, and potentially more large scale, since CERN is using it to share data from the Large Hadron Collider. Zenodo, for example, it supports integration with Dropbox. However, Figshare and the CLOCKSS Archive have partnered to use the CLOCKSS geographically network of redundant archives at 12 major research libraries around the world.

Here’s a Zenodo screenshot:

Screenshot 2013-12-27 10.16.49

The two feel very similar, and don’t seem very social: there’s no ‘following’ people for example. However, the purpose of these tools is principally around the open sharing and access to research materials and data.

As I recently mentioned, Gild has developed technology that can read open source software and compare that with social behaviors among programmers online to establish who are the best programmers (see The future of work: 4 trends for 2014). I’m certain that in a few years — or less — we will read about algorithmic tools mining the information latent in these open research repositories to assess scientists, and perhaps make connections between researchers attacking similar problems in complementary ways.