Reactions to my tip on how I use figshare

A strategy that serves both our open-science and reproducibility goals, also helps with keeping copyright and releasing figures under CC-BY.


  1. A couple of days ago, I saw a tweet with someone expressing frustration at the fact that including figures in a review paper was an ordeal, due to copyright restrictions on reuse.
  2. I remember years back having this problem: I wanted to re-use a figure from our own previously published paper. But the terms of the journal we were submitting to said that we had to get permission from the previous journal to reuse any published figure. It so irritated me to have to ask permission to use my own figure! It irritated me even more when wasting time navigating the awful website to enter the request. A pain.
  3. As an early adopter of the Figshare repository, I came up with a strategy that serves both our open-science and our reproducibility goals, and also helps with this problem: for the main results in any new paper, we would share the data, plotting script and figure under a CC-BY license, by first uploading them to Figshare.
  4. I don't know when I first thought of this, but it was part of my "Reproducibility PI Manifesto" in 2012.
  5. Ostensibly, this was a measure to increase the reproducibility of our results. In fact, we started including a "Reproducibility statement" in our papers, explaining that the figures, plotting script and data were shared just for this purpose.
  6. But in conference talks and hallway conversations, I often stressed the fact that this strategy also means I am claiming the copyright of my figures, releasing them under CC-BY, and reusing them in my own paper under the terms of this license. That leaves the figures open for future reuse by myself and others under the license terms.
  7. Since we have done this in half a dozen papers by now, I'm more confident in sharing this tip. And folks seem to like it!