About OSF

Open Science Framework is a free and open source tool that can be used for managing projects and collaborations in any discipline. OSF is a great way to keep track of all of the different files that are part of a complex research project. You can store files directly on OSF cloud storage (unlimited number of individual files that are under 5 GB each) or sync popular third-party applications such as Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, Amazon S3, GitHub, figshare, Mendeley, and Zotero to the project. You can add collaborators from CMU or anywhere else to a project and set their access so that they can view or edit parts of a project. You can also use OSF to share your work publicly so that it can be cited. Overall, it's a powerful tool for research management, documentation, and collaboration that can help you see the sum of your work across many different platforms.

You have a lot of control over both the structure and privacy settings of a project in OSF. A project can be private, public, or shared with collaborators. Each project has an editable wiki and a flexible hierarchical structure comprised of components, folders, files, and add-on services. Add-on services by default will not be visible on public projects. To share files publicly, you can store them directly on OSF storage or change the permissions of the linked add-on service. Each component can have its own privacy settings, be individually cited with a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), and can be given a specific license to determine how others can use it, for example CC-BY if you want to be cited or CC-0 for data that you want to be used freely.

You can read the following articles to learn more about:

OSF is useful for managing collaborations with other members of your research group or with others at CMU and beyond. You can easily share files stored across different cloud platforms and locally with all of your collaborators. A collaborator (called "contributors" on OSF) can have administrator, read & write, or read only privileges.  If a collaborator does not have an OSF account, you can add them as an unregistered contributor. Each component can have its own unique contributor permissions.

Research data should always be stored in three places, including one remote or cloud location. If you don't currently have your data stored on the cloud, you might consider using OSF storage for files under 5 GB. Other commonly used cloud storage services such as Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, and Amazon S3 can be synced to OSF. Note that CMU-specific storage options that you log into with your Andrew ID can be added to OSF.

You can also protect against unexpected data loss with OSF's built-in version control. Any text-based file can be edited directly in OSF and will be saved as a new version. You can see in your project, which collaborator made changes and when. When you add a new version of a file with the same name to the project, it will be automatically saved as a new version. You can also access previous versions of files stored on synced third-party applications.

You can watch the following videos to learn more about:

Developed by the non-profit, Center for Open Science, OSF has a number of features that support open and reproducible research. Practicing open research has many benefits; it allows others to more easily discover, reproduce, or reuse parts of your work and cite them, it increases transparency of how you conducted research, and it also helps you yourself remember exactly what you did when you need to recreate an experiment or analysis later.

OSF allows users to publicly share entire projects or parts of projects, assign them a permanent Digital Object Identifier (DOI), and select an appropriate license for reuse. If you are interested in publicly sharing and licensing a research product such as a research publication, conference poster, or data set, you might consider using KiltHub, our institutional repository. Please contact a librarian or kilthub@andrew.cmu.edu to learn more about KiltHub.

You can use the platform to preregister or register a study to publicly demonstrate your plans for the work at different time points. With OSF Preprints, you can share your work quickly ahead of publication by posting an unpublished and non-peer-reviewed pre-print manuscript.

You can watch the following videos to learn more about: