Supporting open science through data sharing: a trial integration of Figshare with Nature Portfolio and Academic journals

Springer Nature is partnering with Figshare at a number of Nature Portfolio and Academic Journals, offering our authors a straightforward repository option at submission for a wide range of data types.

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Research data is a key pillar of Springer Nature’s open science ambition. Access to data underlying publications upholds research integrity, reproducibility and transparency. As regularly highlighted in the annual State of Open Data report, publishers can play a prominent role in helping researchers make their data FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable). One method is to offer a straightforward way to get data into a repository, for authors who haven’t yet shared their data at submission or during review. By integrating Figshare with our systems we aim to support the needs of a range of authors, and improve data sharing across our journals.

Figshare is a leading provider of repository software, supporting publishers, institutions, funders, and more with the dissemination of research data. Providing a place to store, share, and cite all forms of supplemental data, Figshare provides portals and in-article viewers to publishers for maximum discoverability and engagement with research data.

Springer Nature has worked with Figshare since 2014 to support data sharing through a number of initiatives, including automatic deposition of Supplementary Information for BMC and SpringerOpen journals, enhanced curation support for authors and an integration at our flagship data journal Scientific Data. This tool is the basis for our new pilot, customised specifically for research journals, including greater automation coordinating data and manuscript progress, and embedded author guidance. Authors will further benefit from a persistent identifier for their data, private access during review, long-term digital preservation, clear licensing and a citable data record.

The new feature will be available at:

Nature Chemistry, Nature Ecology & Evolution, Nature Energy, Nature Neuroscience, Oncogene, Oncogenesis and Bone Marrow Transplantation.

This range of journals allows us to investigate author needs across research areas and data types. We will trial the implementation and its performance at the pilot journals, while appraising its wider applicability. In order to provide a benchmark to assess impact of this new functionality, we are conducting more comprehensive audits of data sharing behaviour at the pilot journals. Nature Portfolio has a long history of supporting data sharing, including early adoption of a standardised data policy ensuring transparency on data access and enforcing data sharing where clear community expectations exist. Our approach will continue to recommend the use of community-specific repositories where available, with Figshare complementing this as a broadly-applicable, easy-to-use option where suitable.

“It’s inspiring to see incremental leaps the Nature Portfolio and Academic Journals team have taken. The fact that hard work is going into making life easier for researchers, as well as moving towards sustainable, open research data is massively encouraging”, said Mark Hahnel, Figshare Founder and CEO. 

In the 2021 State of Open Data report we described the use of specialist support at Springer Nature to uphold data quality, and as part of the integration, editorial support staff will employ standardised checks on submitted data. In addition to ease of submission this assessment is one advantage we can offer authors using Figshare via our systems. This trial provides us a useful opportunity to test and refine our checking processes, based on those already in place at our data publications.

This is an exciting step forward in promoting research data sharing at Springer Nature, and a great opportunity to measure the impact of technical integrations to support researcher needs.

For more information on how the integration works, see our guidance page: https://www.springernature.com/gp/authors/research-data/figshare-integration

Graham Smith

Research Data Manager, Springer Nature

At Springer Nature I work to develop and promote data publishing tools, initiatives and policies across the organisation. I have an academic background in geology and geophysics, specifically studying seismics at live volcanoes. I have previously worked in a similar data-focused role at the Natural History Museum, managing data pathways and curation practices for big taxonomic and collection data.