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 December 2016, Johns Hopkins became one of the institutional partners of the Open Science Framework for Institutions (OSF4I). Here we provide some details about the OSF.

The items listed below provide answers to some frequently asked questions about the OSF and how it can benefit researchers at JHU.

If you need assistance using OSF for JHU, please contact us and we are happy to help you set up an OSF page for your project(s)!

  • 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 JHBox. 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 JHBox to the user account
  • What are the benefits of using OSF for JHU?

    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 JHU are involved. In turn, all of your public projects, will appear in the OSF for JHU 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 JHU 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.

    DMS has created a template example for this purpose which you are welcome to copy and use with your own group. JHU Lab Organization Template

    If you’d like to learn more about using OSF for collaboration please contact the Data 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: JHU 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 JHU Data Services provide any in-person training sessions or consults about OSF for JHU Researchers?

    Yes, JHU Data 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 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.

    Lorne Campbell‘s lab, University of Western Ontario, uses the OSF to coordinate and manage lab activities and research projects. (read the OSF story)

    Erica Baranski, Psychology PhD student, uses the OSF with her lab group at the University of California, Riverside.  (read the OSF story)

    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)

    Anne Allison is Associate Professor of Biology at Piedmont Virginia Community College, and uses the OSF with her students conducting authentic research projects in a lab setting. (read the OSF story)

    Anna van’t Veer is a PhD student in Psychology at Tilburg University. (read the OSF story)

  • I still have questions about OSF for JHU. How can I get help?

    If you have further questions we are here to help. Please contact the Data Services team with your questions. Additionally there is a lot of material on the OSF such as guides and frequently asked questions on the OSF Support Materials Page. Here you will also find contact information for both their technical support and for general questions and comments.