Getting to Know the OSF: The Basics

Getting to Know the OSF: The Basics

This week we are taking a step back and providing a summary of the OSF 101 video and the overall features of the OSF. The OSF 101 video helps break down common problems researchers face at each stage of the research life cycle using OSF tools

What is the Open Science Framework (OSF)?

The OSF is a free open-source software project that facilitates open collaboration in science research. As a collaboration tool, OSF helps research teams work on projects privately or make the entire project publicly accessible for broad dissemination. As a workflow system, OSF enables connections to data, preprints, and data management and research planning that researchers already use, streamlining their process and increasing efficiency. Post your work, solicit feedback, and tag categories for others to find, comment on, and engage with you. 

Search and Develop Ideas

Before launching a new research project, you can use OSF to evaluate the research landscape to see what has been investigated recently. Reference platforms or specific journals are ways you may already start your research, but many publications can have outdated results and often only provide information regarding successful studies. What about ideas that didn’t produce the expected outcomes? How can the scientific community learn from their mistakes if they only share perfect, expected results? Through searching the OSF, you can not only find pre-publication manuscripts, but also countless cutting-edge research protocols, collected data, and analyses related to her research interests. OSF search allows you to narrow your results to just project materials, registrations, preprints, files, or even other users who might be working on similar topics. 

Try This: Start your OSF search by checking out this support guide.

How to Describe Your Research Plans (OSF Registrations)

Preregistrations are a way of creating a formal, transparent “story” of your study. This story describes what your research planned to do, any updates that needed to be made, and the results. Preregistrations allow you to submit a research plan including research questions, protocols, and data collection plans, as well as add any materials or collaborators and give it a concrete timestamp. The timestamp allows the preregistrations to serve as a way of “calling your shot” when it comes to a research plan. It adds trust and transparency in the research process, allowing researchers to show a concrete connection between results and an established plan. 

Try This: To learn more about our OSF preregistration tool and how to get started, see our support center on preregistrations

How to Create a Collaborative Workspace (OSF Projects)

Need a centralized space to work with collaborators and share data and ideas? Create an OSF Project. You can use this hub to easily upload and share the data generated during your study. To facilitate this transition, OSF automatically created a project space for her when she created her pre-registration. Your OSF Project is a central, collaborative space that allows your team to store and share materials and manage the study throughout the research lifecycle.

Try This: To learn more about OSF projects check out our project support guides.

Share Your Work (OSF Preprints) 

Once you’ve completed your research project you can create a manuscript and publish it using a preprint service. The OSF hosts a variety of preprint providers including OSF Preprints, some of which are moderated. It is recommended that you check with any peer-reviewed journal you have plans to publish with in the future to make sure that having a preprint will not interfere with their review process.

Try This: To learn more about OSF projects check out our project support guides.

Report Your Outcomes and Make Your Entire Process Transparent (OSF, OSF Registries, OSF Projects, OSF Preprints, OSF Institutions)

Once you have completed your study, make sure to connect all the parts of your story. OSF registrations can connect data, paper, materials, analytic code, and other important information as outcome resources. Learn more about connecting your material to your registration using persistent identifiers with our support guide on open practice resources

Try This: You can also connect your preprint to OSF Project as a supplemental resource using this support guide.

Additional Support (OSF Support)

If you find yourself stuck at any point in the process, there is an extremely useful resource on the OSF Support page, where you can also directly reach out to the OSF support team for any questions you cannot find answers to. We house over 250 help guides along with a support team ready to answer your questions. To contact the support team click the speech Ballon in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen. 

Want to Know More?

For more information and other OSF tips and tricks please see our support guides, or contact OSF Support for more information.


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