About twice a week at the moment I’m asked to give advice on something in which I have an internal choice, “use our institutional repository (http://ir.canterbury.ac.nz) or figshare”.
Both have very similar functional outcomes – they provide a permanent online space for material. So, in order to help me, here is an explicit list of the things I think about to make a decision in each case.
|Truly Permanent URLs||DOIs. Metadata mediated by a 3rd party||Handles – not as well understood as DOIs, but functional. DOIs for unique material being implemented.|
|Findability||Excellent – understood by Google Scholar et al.||Excellent – indexed by local and international organisations.|
|Permanence and Preservation||Intentions are good (actually excellent), but 3rd party commercial entity, so there will always be a concern.||Long term explicit preservation plan, and work undergoing on being archived by National Library.|
|Ease of use||Completely under the control of the end user, excellent interface.||Must be mediated by library staff. Pre-registration of permanent URLs is not simply implemented, but achievable.|
|Content Presentation||Excellent content viewers for tabular data, PDFs, &tc||Simply presents file in a type-agnostic way. becomes end user problem to view & use.|
|Metadata Collection||Simple but effective metadata collection. Other than ORCID, no authority control.||Some control, uses formal metadata schema (Dublic Core, ETD (NDLTD). ORCID is on its way.|
|Metadata Presentation/ Interoperability||Extensive (proprietary) API. https://docs.figshare.com/|
and OAI PMH
|OAI PMH (‘natch). items exportable as SIP/XML/…|
|Control and Collection||We have no idea what ‘our’ authors are doing||We can collect our institution’s output|
The last item, and I think that is the real sticking point – us Librarians do like to have some control – can be mitigated by buying an institutional subscription to Figshare, and then use the API to transfer items into a dark archive if preservation concerns are so great we think we need to replicate them. Functionally I think they are really similar apart from how content is presented, and what formal metadata is collected – the differences are in the lack of mediation in uploading material (which is a good thing) and the presentation of the content.
I’d be really interested to see what other IR managers and Figshare themselves think. I want the best for the authors, that their work is findable, preserved and described.