At the end of June, two Cranfield University staff were invited to speak at figsharefest Europe, hosted by the library of the University of Amsterdam.

“figsharefest” is the user group event run by figshare for their users, potential users, and partners; figshare is the company who provide the platform for our data repository, CORD. The events are an excellent arena for us to discuss best practice and share experiences with other customers. They also offer direct contact with the figshare team, whether to compliment them on the great feedback we have from our researchers, or to pester them to make the next little enhancements we would like to the system! (This time it was a custom thumbnail for Collections, please!)

Georgina Parsons, our Research Data Manager, was invited to share a case study of developing research data management (RDM) services and implementing figshare at Cranfield (Her “Getting figgy with it” slides are, of course, available on CORD.) It was great that figshare felt that our progress has been so successful that they wanted us to showcase our work in Europe.

Dr Matthew Partridge, Research Fellow in Engineering Photonics, was also invited, as keynote speaker. He shared his experiences as a researcher creating and sharing data on CORD, as it is so crucial for the audience to understand the area from the researcher’s perspective. (Again, check out Matthew’s slides on CORD, complete with fantastic scientific cartoons!)

The event began with an introduction from Dr Mark Hahnel, CEO of figshare. It’s always reassuring when a company’s values and beliefs align with our needs: we all agreed on the need for system interoperability, the use of relevant identifiers (not just DOIs and ORCIDs but, say, grant codes), and a desire to ensure that shared outputs are human and machine readable for more efficient querying and reuse. He shared other recent highlights, such as full indexing for Google Data, the new citation count metric on every item, and enabling some data to be not just viewable but editable in the figshare interface!

An interesting workshop discussion concerned using figshare for theses, publications, and learning objects as well as other types of output, and whether requirements for different materials would need further development of the system. The incentivisation brainstorm was also fun – if figshare gave us £1m, what would we use it for to encourage and help researchers to publish more outputs openly? So many ideas were generated, including providing more library support staff, data scientists, a review service (checking statistics, cleaning code, etc), adding publisher stamps (could your data get a Nature seal of approval?), dedicated marketing to increase visibility… what would you want? There was certainly no promise of a £1m cheque in the post, but it’s important to look into what might be possible!

Photo of librarians and developers sharing cat photosAnd like every good event, it ended with librarians, researchers, and developers showing each other photos of our cats in a local bar 🙂

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