The project to implement and promote Figshare at La Trobe University has just accomplished its milestone goal of 200 researchers who have started using the tool. The university launched the platform in October 2017 as ResearchData.Latrobe under the Enterprise Research Data Management System project after a three-month trial.
A systematic outreach campaign was conducted, which included the continuing deployment of a full-time Figshare Analyst to raise awareness among researchers for the remaining duration of the project. This promotional push has involved a wide range of outreach strategies including meeting face-to-face or online over Zoom to reach regional researchers.
This engagement has sparked a broader conversation about developing an improved culture of research data management at the university to stay current with institutional policy, funding requirements, journal data policies, and best practice globally. The Figshare rollout has provided an enabling avenue to progressively iterate towards this culture change in a way that was not previously possible. Researchers using the tool for publishing have accumulated 3302 views and 515 downloads through the data records they have uploaded.
Academics have been inventive with their usage of Figshare, which has ranged from publishing research study protocols, conference presentations, workshop materials, collaborative student project spaces, and even departmental histories to mark La Trobe’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Publishing data has led to increased research visibility, exemplified by media mentions appearing in Figshare Altmetric badges – see an example from biochemistry here.
Impending challenges include maintaining momentum towards a stronger culture of data sharing consistent with F.A.I.R. principles, handing over Figshare advisory services to the Library Research Team, and exploring the potential for Figshare integration with existing systems such as Symplectic Elements.