Connecting Your Research Tools on the Open Science Framework (OSF)

What are Add-Ons in the OSF?

Add-ons are outside tools and platforms researchers already use for their research that can be connected to your Open Science Framework (OSF) material. Many of these tools are connected in a two-way sync allowing you to make changes either in the OSF or the other service to truly connect your workspaces. 

How Do Add-Ons Support Open Science?

The OSF is unique lifecycle open science infrastructure, and there are dozens of other tools that support researchers every day. Many of these are very much aligned with research transparency priorities. Here are just a few that are categorized into different phases of the research lifecycle. 

Source: Kramer B, Bosman J. Innovations in scholarly communication - global survey on research tool usage. F1000Res. 2016 Apr 18;5:692. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.8414.1.

However, as seen in this diagram above, what often happens is that researchers will use different tools for different stages of the research lifecycle. This creates a disconnected story of the research project from start to finish and puts a larger burden on the reader to find all of the connecting information.

OSF add-ons allow users to mix and match tools, even from different contributors, within a single OSF project. This creates a collaborative workspace where users can share their work from multiple locations in one place. 

Types of OSF Add-Ons 

Storage Add-Ons

Storage add-ons offer an excellent way to integrate external research material into your collaborative workspace, seamlessly connecting it with your OSF project. By leveraging these add-ons, you can efficiently store and manage materials directly on the OSF platform while also bypassing certain storage limitations imposed by OSF Storage.

Some add-ons include:

  • Box
  • Bitbucket
  • Dataverse
  • Dropbox
  • Figshare
  • Github
  • GitLab
  • Google Drive
  • OneDrive 
  • OwnCloud

Once you have successfully connected your storage add-on, your selected folders will appear on your OSF project homepage and your files details page. 

Citation Add-Ons 

The OSF seamlessly integrates with popular citation add-ons to offer a valuable solution for collecting and organizing references in research studies. Once you connect your citation library, a dedicated section will appear on your OSF project interface, below your file tree, providing a convenient space to aggregate all your citations. This feature is incredibly helpful when preparing manuscripts, research projects, or literature reviews, as it streamlines the organization and accessibility of your reference materials.

Citations add-ons include:

  • Mendeley
  • Zotero

Connect an Add-On to an OSF project 

Our Help Center offers detailed help guides on connecting add-ons to an OSF project. Try taking the next step and connecting one of your active citation libraries or project storage to your OSF project. 

Special thanks to The University of Manchester for helping us improve our Amazon S3 add-on which will soon allow users to add individual folders within an S3 bucket to a project.

OSF API integration Because the OSF is built on an open API anyone can build their own integration with OSF. Several tools we know of have built-on OSF support on their end to store and update OSF content from another application. Some that we are familiar with are the Use of Research Evidence (URE) Methods RepositoryProtocols.ioJASPPresQT, and Open Sesame. In addition, some tools have been built for specific programming languages like osfr (R) and osfclient (python).If you are a software developer interested in making your own OSF extension, check out the OSF API documentation. In the coming months, we will be updating and improving the way we create integrations within OSF itself, and will also be publishing documentation on how to build and share your own OSF extension with other OSF users.

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. Additionally, check out blog posts written by some of our COS Ambassadors and COS staff: 

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