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OSF - The Open Science Framework

A guide on CWRU's new open data and project management tool

What is OSF?

OSF (Open Science Framework) is a free, open source platform created and maintained by the Center for Open Science. OSF provides a cloud-based platform for the storage, sharing, and version control of all types of data, documents, and files. As a project collaboration and research management tool, it allows users to share data, files, and workflows amongst collaborators or students, and it integrates with services you already use like Box, Drive, Github, and many more.

OSF can assign DOIs to any data or files uploaded, making it a great place to publicize your work.

With OSF, users create project pages to upload data, invite collaborators, and manage research workflows. CWRU's institutional account with OSF means that you can affiliate your research, projects, and datasets with Case Western Reserve University and make them discoverable on our institutional landing page.


Store Your Data - For Free!

Upload an unlimited number of files to OSF storage. There are no restrictions on the type or number of files that can be uploaded to your OSF workspace. Version control is automatic and easy to work with: new uploads of a file with the same name will instantly create a new version and log the changes. No single file can be larger than 5GB, and OSF storage is limited to 5GB per component for private projects, and 50GB for public. You can have unlimited components, however, so storage is functionally unlimited.

Need more storage? Simply create a new component in your OSF project and add more data or files to it. OSF is not a hierarchical data storage system, so the parent project's size is unaffected by the amount of storage of its child components.



Collaborate With Your Team

Invite colleagues, students, or friends to view, edit, and download your data. Permissions can be set at a granular level to ensure you protect the data you need to protect and share only the data you want to. Create document templates or e-lab notebooks to guide student workflows.


Publicize Your Scholarship

Generate DOIs for your data, papers, and files. Upload preprints of your research papers or scholarly articles. Create a catalogue of posters you have presented at conferences. Give your research project a public-facing portal to increase your academic visibility.

Why use OSF?

Preserve your files
You can create any number of projects on OSF to upload, organize, and store your data. OSF performs twice-daily backups on all files uploaded to its storage locations. OSF storage is free. Even though individual storage buckets on OSF have size limits, you can have an unlimited number of buckets to store your data.


Share your data
Want people to have access to your datasets? Need to comply with funding requirements for open and reproducible data and methods? OSF lets you control exactly who has access to your data, from the general public to only you. Collaborators on your OSF project pages can be assigned privileges ranging from administrator to read-only, and you control exactly what files they can see. Add metadata tags to your files to help people find your work.


Simplify your workflows
Use various services and tools all in one place. Connect multiple accounts like CWRU Box, Google Drive, Github, etc. to your project so that collaborators can move files and share data across platforms. Curate your project structures to keep people and files organized; researchers and students can copy templates to standardize data collection and recording processes.


Improve transparency and openness
More and more funding agencies and institutions mandate and reward projects that make their data and methods open and accessible. With OSF, you can ensure you are part of the open data movement and bolster the reproducibility and impact of your work by providing open access to your datasets and research where appropriate.


Prepare for grants and publications
Create a data management plan (DMP) to plan your research and fulfill funding requirements, generate DOIs for your data, and produce preprints of publishable materials to facilitate the efficient development and publication of your projects.

What should you put on OSF?

CWRU's institutional account with the OSF creates a publicly searchable, sortable interface of projects that are affiliated with the university. The OSF is a place to upload, organize, and share datasets, research projects, and e-lab notebooks. However, it is not the same as our institutional repository, Digital Case.

The OSF is a great place for works in progress, but you can keep your data and files hosted there long after you are done to continue promoting your work. Any project you make on OSF can be affiliated with CWRU and appear on our institutional landing page for the service.

Therefore things that shouldn't be affiliated with CWRU on OSF include:

  • Personal picture collections
  • Personal journals
  • Your own collection of music
  • Informal collections of junk documents

Things that should be affiliated with CWRU on OSF include:

  • Group research projects
  • Posters for conference participation
  • Research papers
  • Classroom or lab worksheets, templates, or notebooks
  • Datasets


The primary distinction between OSF and Digital Case is that Digital Case is a curated, permanent repository for completed academic and scholarly output or special library collections, and OSF is a project collaboration and data management space and tool. You can use OSF to help prepare a research project or store its data, and when that project is complete, Digital Case may be a viable location to upload your final product.

Please see for more information about what kind of material can be submitted to Digital Case.