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Repository: figshare

Whether you want to get inspired or prepare your course more effectively; educational repository makes it possible. It is a tool to store digital learning material in a sustainable way and to make it easier to find.

  • You determine what you share and with whom you share
  • You can easily collaborate on course materials
  • You can easily integrate it into your learning environment or share it on social media


Within Utrecht University, teachers work tirelessly to develop new digital course materials. Be it in ‘traditional’ forms like presentations and syllabi or in the shape of more ‘innovative’ e-modules: the amount of digital learning materials is growing. Some materials, like e-lectures, are stored centrally. Other materials are being stored on hard drives and USB thumb drives.

But we can do better. Learning materials are often reusable. It saves a lot of time if materials are stored centrally and are well described. The quality of education will improve if teachers use tools that are already available. Exchange of information beyond the boundaries of the degree programme, faculty, and university will enable new collaboration opportunities.

If you have any learning materials you want to make available for reuse within UU and beyond, please store in the Figshare educational repository, which is open to all UU teachers.

Figshare is a user-friendly online platform that is used to save, discover and share data all around the world. Utrecht University uses Figshare as a platform for teachers to save and share learning material made at the UU. Figshare ensures that all learning material can be easily managed and found – all in one tool. It is up to you whether you want to fully share your materials or only share them with specific colleagues, or even work together in a project space.

Figshare allows you to share your learning material up to three degrees:

  • Share your materials with specific colleagues or students at or outside the UU
  • Share your materials with all colleagues at the UU (from end-2018 onwards)
  • Share your materials with all colleagues, students and others world-wide

In addition, you can choose to distribute your materials through learning environments such as Blackboard, or to directly reference Figshare.

Utrecht University uses Figshare as a platform for teachers to save and share learning material (made by UU teachers). In addition, it is suitable for accompanying material which amplifies the re-usability of learning materials. These include: presentations, assignments, visual material, animations, but also course descriptions, guides, and rubrics. For material that is saved elsewhere (such as web lectures and knowledge clips), including a hyperlink and a description in Figshare allows for it to be easily found. Such descriptions (meta data) will be indexed by all big search engines.

If materials are suited for open sharing (it is your own work and you have not used any copyrighted or privacy-sensitive content), the UU advises you to use a Creative Commons licence. The following licences are preferred: CC-BY or CC-BY-SA. In case of CC-BY, you allow others to copy, distribute, show, perform, and transform materials with your copyright on it – but only when you are mentioned as the creator. By adding the SA (share alike) to your licence, you allow others to create material based on your work only if they share it through the same licence as the original work. SA can prevent online materials from being marketed and allows UU teachers to reuse materials in open learning materials with a SA licence. A licence without the additional SA is generally preferred in all other cases as it allows your work to be more easily found and reused.

For more information on copyright and learning materials, please visit the following website: https://www.uu.nl/en/organisation/copyright-information-office/for-lecturers/teaching-material/online-teaching-material

For more information on creative commons, please click on the following link: creativecommons.nl/ (Only in Dutch as of now)

Once saved to Figshare, your materials can be easily used in other online environments, such as Blackboard. This can be done by, for example, embedding your material in the online environment using a code (iframe) or a hyperlink. Materials that you have denoted as private can be shared using a private hyperlink

For more information on sharing your material: knowledge.figshare.com/articles/item/how-to-share-cite-or-embed-my-data

Using the UU house style will add to your learning material’s professional image and recognisability. The various UU visual elements, (PowerPoint) templates, and the image database can be found at: uu.nl/organisatie/huisstijl/ (Only in Dutch as of now)

The university library is the first point of contact for all questions related to Figshare. Please send them an e-mail (library@uu.nl) or give them a call (030-2536115)

What will happen when I publish materials on Figshare?

When publishing materials on Figshare, they will become publicly available and will therefore also pop up in search engines such as Google. By adding a user licence (creative commons) you indicate how others should treat your materials. If your material has been labelled as private, the material itself will not be available but the description (meta data) will be.

Is it possible for me to delete material that has been published?

No, that is not possible. Figshare uses persistent links (Digital Object Identifier – DOI). The advantage is that you will never again be confronted with an error due to incorrect hyperlink. The disadvantage is that you cannot easily delete material. Any material that should not be on Figshare due to copyright or the violation of privacy can always be deleted through a request. Material that is outdated or unsuitable can be unpublished through a request.


Is it possible to edit material?

Yes, that is possible. You can always upload a different/new version of your material or edit the description. The hyperlink, however, will remain unchanged and will refer to the most recent version.


Why do I have to fill in so many details when publishing material?

The material will be found online based on the description (meta data). The fields denoted with a green dot are mandatory to create a persistent link (DOI). We would advise you to fill in the meta data in English.


Does the UU want me to share openly?

Yes, wherever possible. The UU wants learning material to become more easily accessible and ‘findable’. By sharing, you stimulate and facilitate others to reuse learning material. This can occur within your own organisation. But, the academic landscape is rapidly changing, and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science wants all learning material in tertiary education to be shared online and openly by 2025. Against this background, the UU intensifies her efforts to share materials more openly. However, this is not an obligation; the teacher decides what they share and with whom.

For more information on open education, please view the following website: https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/why-open-education-matters


Is it possible to only share within the UU?

Not yet with one push of a button (this function will be added end-2018). But you can already share your material specifically with colleagues at the UU. There are two options to choose from. Any material uploaded to Figshare can be labelled as private. The description will be openly available, but the material itself will not be. In order to share it with some colleagues, you can create a private hyperlink and specify with whom you want to share it. The other option is to use Projects. This is a good way to facilitate feedback and cooperation.

For more information on Projects, please click on the following link: knowledge.figshare.com/articles/item/how-to-use-projects-and-collaborate-on-figshare


Is it also possible to share an entire course?

Yes, that is possible. To share a course, first upload the individual items. If your course contains much material, you can also use the desktoploader. Afterwards, the material can be bundled in a This can be given a separate description and will also be given a persistent link. You can easily upload material once and then add it to an indefinite number of Collections. Being able to do so greatly enhances the reusability of material for various courses.

For more information on Collections, please visit the following website: knowledge.figshare.com/articles/item/how-to-use-collections?


Is there a quality check?

There is no quality check for learning material or its description (meta data). The teacher is responsible. However, it is always possible to ask the University library for advice (library@uu.nl).


Is there a complaints procedure?

In case of questions or complaints in response to the quality, the copyright or other characteristics of learning material on Figshare, please contact the University library (library@uu.nl).


Who can give me advice on questions regarding copyright?

Answers to the most customary questions can be found through the website of the Copyright Information Office. In case of doubt, please contact the University library (library@uu.nl).


What will happen once I leave Utrecht University?

Utrecht University advises to transfer the ownership of material to the programme coordinator when leaving the UU; the UU is the owner of the material, after all. If desired, a copy can be added to a (free) personal account on Figshare.com