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  8. City Doctoral College
  1. Research data management
  2. Digital research data and Figshare

Digital research data and Figshare

Publishing and sharing research and its underpinning data is a fundamental scholarly activity that helps academics to conduct better research.

Digital Data


  • Metadata is data about data; it helps others understand your data.
  • Metadata gives answers to the questions of why, what, when, where, how and by whom the data was collected. so they can be used by other researchers.
  • Data is only citable only when deposited in an online repository accompanied with metadata.

Storing data online

OneDrive is a file-hosting service that is available to all City staff and students as part of their Office 365 Email Service and it can store 1 terabyte of data. You can access it in the following way:

  • log into your City webmail
  • select the menu button on the left-hand side of your screen
  • double-click on the OneDrive Icon

If you are working on a project with external collaborators, you can share your document through OneDrive.

Multiple users can access (and work) on the same document simultaneously. You can share it in the following way:

  • log into your City webmail
  • select the menu button on the left-hand side of your screen double-click on the OneDrive Icon
  • select - Files - on the left hand side menu
  • select document by clicking the white circle that appears before the file name select – Get Link
  • select – Anyone with this link can edit this item
  • adjust –Permissions- according to your needs (e.g. you might want to make the link available only to specific people)
  • select – OK select – Get a link select – Copy
  • share link with participants

Data resposonsibilities of the Principal Investigator

Responsibility for the accuracy, completeness and security of research evidence during a project should lie with the principal investigator.

Figshare can also be used as a private storage space.

It is important to highlight that if you are working with collaborators and you want to edit the same files simultaneously, it is better to use OneDrive instead of Figshare More information is proved in the next section.

Publish research on Figshare

Figshare is City’s institutional repository and publishing platform for digital research outputs like data, images, video and audio recordings, posters, presentations or reports.

Academics and Phd students can access the system at and log in with their City email and password. You can also find further info on all the features of Figshare in the user guide or you can visit Figshare’s YouTube channel.

Using Figshare to support research at City

There are 5 main Figshare functions that could support your work.

Private storage

You can store any types of digital content on your private account securely. The storage is as safe as if you stored your files on the university’s OneDrive, and much safer than a local hard drive or memory stick.

If you want to read more about data security please visit the Figshare knowledge base

Share confidential data

You can set up collaboration spaces on Figshare and control who can access and edit the files. This could be useful if many researchers work on the same files and version control is important. However, if people need to edit the same files simultaneously it is better to use OneDrive instead of Figshare. Final files could then be uploaded to Figshare for storage or publishing.

Publish with an open license

  • The primary aim of the service is to showcase research outputs to the world by making them more discoverable and accessible.
  • Publishing an item on Figshare will generate a permanent digital object identifier (doi) for that item, so it’s easy to cite by you or other researchers.
  • Publishing your research outputs on Figshare will give you credit for all your work and increase the visibility and impact of your research.
  • Published items are harvested by Google Scholar, ORCID as well as City’s CRO system, so your items will appear on your academic profile on the City website.
  • Do not publish anything on Figshare that has already been published elsewhere or has a doi.
  • Published academic papers should be uploaded to the CRO system 3 months within their acceptance.

Publish metadata of confidential research outputs

You can restrict access to your files but still make the basic metadata publicly available. This way you could protect the confidentiality of the content but still let the world know that the research material exist, when it was created and by whom. If anyone is interested in accessing the material they would need to liaise with City for access (if appropriate).

There are many valid reasons why you want to keep your research outputs confidential, for example to:

  • maintain confidentiality of commercially sensitive information;
  • protect participants’ privacy;
  • maintain exclusive use of the data for an embargo period before writing up the research;
  • maintain confidentiality of intellectual property;
  • protect the researchers’ or participants’ safety or national security;
  • respect the primary data owner’s license restrictions (if you work with secondary data e.g. NHS or ONS).

Data catalogue

  • You can use Figshare as a catalogue to record all of your outputs (non-digital and digital).
  • You can use Figshare as a catalogue for digital outputs stored elsewhere (e.g. in the UK Data Archive or a subject specific repository).
  • Recording all your research outputs on Figshare would ensure you get credit and more visibility for all your research and the university has a full picture of all research outputs generated at City.

Professional support for data curation

City has partnered with Springer Nature to provide City researchers with professional support to save them time in organising and describing their digital research outputs, for publishing on City’s figshare repository.

This Research Data Support service involves a professional Research Data Editor (a curator) creating and editing metadata about the files City researchers wish to publish either openly or confidentially, and providing researchers with advice on good practice for publishing their data. This increases the visibility and potential for reuse of published data, and helps researchers get more credit and readership of their research and its supporting data.

Support from a Research Data Editor at Springer Nature is available to all City researchers and doctoral students who submit files on as part of a service partnership between City and Springer Nature. The service is free at the point of use for City researchers. All submissions remain part of City’s research infrastructure and confidential until such time as they are published.

Read more information, and examples of datasets that have received Research Data Support from Springer Nature