The Open Science Framework (OSF) is a free and open source web application built by the Center for Open Science to aid researchers in managing the entire scientific research workflow. In February 2019, The University of Texas at Dallas became an institutional partner of the Open Science Framework for Institutions (OSF4I).
The items listed below provide answers to some frequently asked questions about the OSF and how it can benefit researchers.
- What is Open Science Framework? How can it help with my research?
- What are some of the major features of the OSF?
- What are the benefits of using OSF for UT Dallas?
- How do I use OSF as a collaboration tool?
- Are there any online tutorials available for using OSF?
- Are there any OSF templates available for my project(s)?
- Does UT Dallas Office of Research provide any in-person training sessions or consults about OSF for UT Dallas Researchers?
- The OSF sounds cool, but do you have any examples that demonstrate how people use the OSF for their research or teaching?
What is Open Science Framework? How can it help with my research?
The Open Science Framework is a web-based interface that provides all researchers with a mechanism to organize, collaborate, share, and store components of their research projects. Each user has a profile and a dashboard where they can manage multiple projects both public and private. Using the OSF can help you manage issues such as version control with collaborators. Access controls allow collaborators to apply varying levels of control to participants within a group project, and add-ons can help you bring together documents, data, code, and related products that are stored in different spaces such as Github, Google Drive, and Box. OSF is designed to function with your workflow and to facilitate sharing at any point in the research process, either privately among your peers, or publicly with a persistent identifier and a citation.
What are some of the major features of the OSF?
- Collaborative capabilities to share data within and beyond institutions and research groups
- Version control measures
- Access control at both project, and file levels
- Persistent identifiers for all work and a platform to register and share work, whether in process or complete
- Mechanisms to connect multiple services such as Box to the user account
What are the benefits of using OSF for UT Dallas?
Affiliating your projects on the OSF with the institution facilitates greater recognition for both yourself and the institution as a whole. Searching via the institutional portal you can see the public projects with which others at UT Dallas are involved. In turn, all of your public projects, will appear in the OSF for UT Dallas portal. This can create serendipitous connections for further collaboration. It also gives interested individuals in the academic research community a holistic view of the scope of UT Dallas research currently shared via the OSF.
How do I use OSF as a collaboration tool?
To use the OSF as a collaboration tool, choose an individual to be the administrator of the project. The administrator will create the project and then add contributors to the space. These contributors can be assigned varying levels of access depending on their roles in the project.
Lab groups can use the OSF to collaborate on multiple projects and daily laboratory practices and procedures by creating projects specifically named for these purposes.
Office of Research has created a template example for this purpose which you are welcome to copy and use with your own group. UT Dallas Lab Organization Template
If you’d like to learn more about using OSF for collaboration please contact the Data Management Services team. We can set up a time to work with you, or give a workshop for your team, to help you get your collaboration up and running.
Are there any online tutorials available for using OSF?
Yes! The OSF has portion of their online content devoted to guides about the different aspects of working with the interface.
There are also many webinars on the Center for Open Science YouTube channel.
We have listed our favorites here.
Are there any OSF templates available for my project(s)?
Yes. Essentially any public project on the OSF can be used as a template. Public projects can be copied or “forked” by users. If you see a project that you like, choose the copy option and then the next time you create a project you will have the option to use this copy as the template for your own project structure.
We’ve created one for lab groups: UT Dallas Lab Organization Template and we encourage you to browse the popular public projects and popular public registrations to find more content that may be of interest to you.
Does UT Dallas Data Management Services provide any in-person training sessions or consults about OSF for UT Dallas Researchers?
Yes, UT Dallas Data Management Services is open to providing consultations to researchers who wish to use the OSF with their research projects. Additionally, we can schedule a workshop to introduce your lab group or research team to the OSF to demonstrate the functionality of the interface and to discuss important features. Please contact the Data Management Services team for more information.
The OSF sounds cool, but do you have any examples that demonstrate how people use the OSF for their research or teaching?
Yes! The following links show some good examples of ways that researchers and teachers are using the OSF as part of their work. Additionally, searching the OSF for popular projects will also bring up a wealth of examples.
Richard Ball and Norm Medieros use the OSF as part of Project TIER, Teaching Integrity in Empirical Research. In an introductory statistics course, undergraduates are taught how to comprehensively document all the data management and analysis steps that are a part of empirical research. Richard is an associate professor of economics and Norm is the associate librarian, both at Haverford College. Read the OSF story.
The text on this page has been modified with permission from John Hopkins University.