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# Getting Started Whether you're offering a new service in the library or expanding one you already have, the goal of this toolkit is to provide you with documentation, slides, and other resources that might help. --- # Why the OSF? ### As a librarian I recommend the OSF because of the way it uniquely ties digital stewardship principles into the research workflow, allowing for: - Collection development, - With OSF for institutions, resources can be associated with the university/ institution - If your institutional repository allows for creating metadata records for associated resources, you can even add OSF generated DOIs - Scholarly communication, - Researchers are increasingly being required or requested to share supplementary information associated with their research. The OSF allows researchers different options for doing so, such as making all or portions of their active workspace public or creating a snap-shot or "registration" of the project, which is a more permanent, static option. - Long term preservation, access, and use. - By capturing the activity feed and version control history of OSF projects, provenance of the files is maintained - At least fundamental documentation for the files is created in the course of normal workflow, which is captured. - Information on [storage security and backups][1] for files on the OSF - In process now is a plan to allow registrations to be preserved in Fedora repositories connected to the user's account if they have OSF for Institutions. ### For researchers The motivations for using the OSF vary. Here are a few: - Desire to collaborate with a broad range of people in an organizationally agnostic space - Desire for a project management tool as middleware or as a hub to tie together a team's workflow - Need for a data/file repository (for data management plan, publisher, or policy compliance) - Need to have separate sections of a single project with granular privacy settings to allow for simultaneous comparative research - Desire to create a new, highly structured workflow that allows everyone in the team to see what everyone else is doing and stay up to date on their processes - Desire to create structured class project that teaches both the subject matter and good data management - Desire to pre-register a research study ### When to recommend the OSF? In a data management consultation, the main reasons I would recommend the OSF to a researcher would be if I hear them express any of the following (and more): - I need a place to collaborate with others who are not in my institution and/or who prefer different tools then I use (e.g. “I use Google, but my collaborators want to use Dropbox, and I’m worried about keeping track of everything”). - My research is multi-year, but my lab gets new grad-students every year, and we end up losing track of useful datasets or custom code. - I need a way to organize the project, keep everyone on the same page, control access to our work (e.g. read only, read-write, admin), and to see what everyone is up to in our project space. - I want to have the functionality of an electronic lab notebook, but I don’t want to get stuck in a subscription service (or otherwise expensive system), and I'm willing to be adaptable for a free, dependable solution. - I need reliable online storage with long-term version control for the files I work with, but I can’t afford to pay for it, and/or I don’t know how to use (or my files are inappropriate for) online resources like GitHub and Bitbucket. - I want an easy way to share my supplementary materials and get a DOI. - **Note:** if this is the reason, please also suggest on campus resources, discipline specific repositories, and present other data repository options. For any of the above scenarios, I might talk to the researcher about other tools or strategies as well as the OSF. However, if I heard these needs expressed in conjunction with a **desire/requirement to make any or all of their workflow/supplementary materials publically available**, I would definitely demonstrate the OSF for them. [1]: "storage security"