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Research Data Management


The Open Science Framework (OSF) is a Web-based project management tool created by the Center for Open Science (COS). It was designed to promote research transparency, quality and reproducibility. The OSF allows individuals or groups to develop a project workflow, organize data, develop documentation and share all or part of your project with the greater research community.

Duke is an OSF Institutions member. Through this membership, Duke researchers are able to use their NetID for login and affiliate their projects under a Duke masthead.  

What can I do with OSF?

  • You have the ability to set very granular permissions (Administrator/Read+Write/Read) for all contributors on a project.  Contributors can be from anywhere.
  • You can link in existing file storage and versioning tools such as Google Drive, Box, Amazon S3, DropBox, and GitHub as well as bibliographic management tools Mendeley and Zotero. They are integrating new tools regularly.  OSF also provides their own storage that is unlimited, though individual files need to be 5GB or less.
  • Many file formats will render in the OSF to allow for previews (Word, Powerpoint, Excel, PDF, jpeg).
  • OSF provides built-in version control that allows users to "check out" files for editing and check them back in before re-upload.  All previous version are accessible through the Revisions button.
  • You can register a project to provide a public "snapshot" version of where you are at a given point (helps with transparency)
  • You can choose to keep some parts of your project private (raw data) and others public (analysis plan) due to the component structure. 
  • You can fork projects should you be using your OSF to manage multiple, similarly structured projects (e.g. lab template). You can also link projects as well (e.g. multi-site projects).
  • You can view analytics for each component of your project to see how many times your project has been visited (does track unique views) and what pages are most popular.  
  • You can send a "view only" link to those outside of the project (e.g. publishers, potential funders) for verification and transparency purposes.

These are features that the RDM Team felt were especially useful for research project lifecycle management, but of course there are more. To learn more about the OSF, you can use our walkthrough (public - no login required), view how others at Duke have used it, do a general search of public OSF projects, or browse the full list of OSF Guides