I love Figshare! We are getting used to the idea of using this wonderful resource for sharing all sorts of information as they become available. It is easy. It provides valuable statistics in real-time. Figshare is progressively becoming an integral part of our communication workflows. The service provided by Figshare becomes all the more important that funding agencies like the National Science Foundation are starting to take into considerations other research products than peer-reviewed publications.

Small files. Big disappointment

I recently discovered a major limitation Figshare. After reading that Figshare provides an unlimited storage for public data, I was preparing a 40GB data sets related to a manuscript I was about to submit to a journal. When I tried to upload my data set, I discovered that there is a 250 mb file size limit. This size cap makes it impractical to upload any serious data set. It therefore dramatically reduces the value of Figshare as a data repository.

Charge me!

I understand that storing large data sets has a cost and that this limitation is motivated by cost-control concerns. I see no reason why Figshare should not recover the data hosting cost. It would actually be reassuring because it could contribute to the sustainability of this wonderful resource.

I would like Figshare to start charging publication fees like open access journals do. If I we are willing to pay $2,000 to get a paper published in an open access journal, we should be willing to pay for hosting important data sets.

I am encouraging Figshare to consider a new business model that partly relies on publishing fee. Specifically:

  • Data sets less than 1 GB in size would be hosted free like today.
  • Data sets between 1GB and 1 TB would incur a one time publication fee comparable to the publication fees charged by open access journals.
  • Data sets above 1TB would be quoted individually.

Technically, I would like the storage limit be associated with a fileset corresponding to a single DOI. The limit on the size of individual files should be relaxed and a method to upload large data sets should be developed as it is notoriously difficult to upload very  large files through a web browser.

What do you think?

I am hoping that some of you will join me to encourage Figshare to give us more of what we already like so much. Do you need a data hosting solution? Would you be willing to pay a one time fee to host your research data?