Publishing my first data set on Figshare

Putting it together

I had read about Figshare for several months thinking that I should find ways of experimenting with this new media. The opportunity presented itself when we were looking for a way to share data sets with students taking GenoCAD tutorials. We developed a training set of data composed of a grammar and a set of 32 genetic parts that students will have to upload in their GenoCAD workspace during the tutorial. The two files were included in a single fileset called GenoCAD Training Set I that can be referenced using a citable Document Object Identifier (DOI) as shown in the previous hyperlink.

I wrote short instructions describing how to use the data set in  GenoCAD. I also added keywords, assigned categories, and listed my co-authors.

I used the Preview feature to check that everything looked correct. I noticed that the link to  GenoCAD required to have the full URL including http://.

Voila! I had my first publication on Figshare.

Sharing it

I used the Share this feature of the page to send a quick Tweet publicizing this accomplishment. While I was at it, I posted it on Facebook and Google Plus. Within 50 minutes, more than 50 people had seen my data set. Quite impressive.

I retweeted my tweet using a different Twitter handle. This did not increase the number of shares reported by Figshare.

I also posted a more detailed entry on the GenoCAD pages on Facebook, Google Plus, and LinkedIn inviting users to try the grammar import process and to comment on any issue they encountered.

Possible uses of Figshare

  • Publish other grammars for GenoCAD
  • Publish large datasets in relations to manuscripts submitted for publication in regular journals. In some cases, the journal cannot host large data sets.
  • Publish large datasets ahead of the submission of a manuscript describing their analysis.
  • As part of the data dissemination plan of future proposals.
  • Etc, etc, etc.

Open Questions

I still have a few unresolved questions regarding this experience.

  1. I did not find any way to change the order of my co-authors. In particular, I could not find any way to put myself as last author. Since I was the one writing then entry, it seems that I have to be the first author.
  2. When trying to retrieve my new data set by querying my name on Figshare I discovered I already had some data sets all related to the online supplements of papers I published in PLoS Journals. These datasets are not yet linked to my account. I have to figure out how to claim “ownership” of these data.
  3. I am wondering if the DOI will change if we update the dataset. I would hope it does not but I will need to check this.


  • The Figshare page showing the GenoCAD Training Set. Disconnected from the image.


Figshare homepage showing the GenoCAD training data set.

This screenshot of the Figshare homepage is showing the GenoCAD Training Set is as the most recent entry. It also shows that within minutes after posting the data set, it had already been seen by 31 people.