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Homepage / CORD – more than just spreadsheets!

CORD – more than just spreadsheets!


Woman using a tablet

When you think about our data repository, CORD, do you think it’s just going to be full of tables of numerical data that back up publication articles? It’s a common assumption, and that is indeed an extremely important use of CORD. Those data are the evidence behind researchers’ findings and we must meet requirements to share underpinning data. However, that’s not the whole story.

CORD uses the figshare system, which accepts all file formats and offers endless possibilities. Its primary purpose at Cranfield University is to enable us to meet funder mandates around data preservation and sharing: all valuable data created in RCUK projects must be preserved and shared as openly as is responsible, just as our journal papers and conference proceedings must be securely preserved. But there are some other interesting uses that are also valid…

For example, white papers and non-RCUK reports. Sometimes research results in important outputs that aren’t peer-reviewed publications suitable for submission to CRIS. Nevertheless, these outputs are incredibly valuable and benefit from having a place on a secure repository for long-term preservation; they also gain a DOI, so they have a permanent link and we can report on their usage and citations. CORD offers a home for these outputs, and you can see examples such as Professor Jolly’s “Sustainable Manufacturing for the Future” white paper, or Professor Kelan’s “Gender inclusive leadership” report.

Another example is poster presentations. If they’re not formally published, again, they don’t fit into CRIS, but they’re valuable materials and are important outputs that can have impact and re-use value in teaching, reputation-building, and outreach. They can certainly have a life and value beyond the conference, as shown by the views and downloads of Dr Kissinger’s award-winning poster presentation (and supporting dataset) on A Fresh Look at Optical Interferometry.

Items can also be curated into a collection, similar to creating a reading list; collections have their own landing page and DOI, so figshare offers a great space for poster competitions or conferences. Two examples are the DSDS16 Collection, which showcases the outputs from our recent Defence and Security Doctoral Symposium; and the Shoe Lab collection, which groups together work from a research project on re-distributed manufacturing, including designs, a methodology video, and a project white paper.

So don’t forget to upload your research data to CORD at an appropriate time in your project – or any other valuable outputs you need to preserve and share, too. Have a chat with our Research Data Manager ( for any more information on getting started with CORD.

Written By: Georgina Parsons

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