Information Services Division


Figshare chosen to provide UCL’s Institutional Data Repository

24 September 2018

Figshare has been chosen as the provider of UCL’s forthcoming institutional data repository; a key enabler for UCL's support of Open Science.

Figshare logo
After a thorough tender process which  saw a panel of UCL researchers putting the shortlisted solutions through their paces, Figshare for Institutions proved to have the most intuitive interfaces whilst offering a mature system for managing and publishing research data. If all goes according to plan, the repository should be available for use by all UCL researchers early in 2019.


The Research Data Repository will provide a place where all UCL researchers can upload and publish their data, and where those data can be accessed and preserved over long time periods, potentially indefinitely. Whilst the Research Data Storage Service has offered researchers a place to store and share data within a project team for several years now, UCL has lacked a straightforward service for keeping and enabling access to significant datasets after a project draws to an end. In fields which lack specialist community-managed data repositories (and this includes most disciplines) this has meant researchers having to use commercial repository services (with few guarantees of sustainability), or having to go through more elaborate processes to transform their data into the formats required for digital collections. Whilst Figshare offer their own platform as a commercial service, the institutional version will include customizations for UCL, and, by keeping a local copy of data and the accompanying descriptive metadata, UCL can provide much greater assurance of sustainability.

The decision to develop an institutional research data repository system for UCL was taken not only so that researchers would be better able to meet their funder’s requirements in a way that enables long-term data curation, but also with an eye to future opportunities for innovative research. UCL strongly supports the principles of Open Science, seeing openness not just as necessary to improve research reproducibility, but also as a means by which new approaches to scientific discovery can be applied and new knowledge created. The ability to re-interpret or re-analyse existing datasets in ways that the original data creators perhaps lacked the interest or technology to do, or to recombine data generated by others to draw new conclusions, will help not just staff at UCL, but the wider research community and society more generally. The UCL Research Data Repository is regarded as an important enabler as we move towards this goal.

See the Research Data Services website for further information and updates about UCL’s Research Data Repository.

James A J Wilson
Head of Research Data Services