Searchable Citations on Figshare


Another major feature as part of the April 2020 production release is something we have been working on for a while and we’re very pleased to say is ready to go live. At Figshare, we’re very fortunate to be part of the Digital Science family. As such, it means we often get to work in close collaboration with other sister companies, such as Altmetric doughnuts on Figshare pages and our widely-adopted Symplectic integration.  

Working in conjunction with our friends at Dimensions, we’re pleased to be able to offer daily citations updates on any object within any Figshare instance. Not just papers, but datasets and videos and, well… anything! To illustrate this and before we look at how it works, let’s take a moment to showcase some of the interesting NTROs that we we have found as part of this feature release:

Good examples of “classic” data being cited:

Interesting to see yet not surprising, code is more frequently cited as it is designed to be reproducible:

Great to see our institutional partners seeing their content being reused:

And to finish, a great example of content that previously would not have been tracked having a big impact:

How it works - in brief

We receive daily updates from Dimensions of the latest citation data. Dimensions are looking in the full text of documents and capturing any mention of a Figshare-affiliated DOI string. Citation data is actually stored within the Figshare database and is not pulled live, meaning we’ll be able to expose this in all kinds of interesting ways in the future e.g. citations over time, most cited, cumulative citations by group/lab.

We are not presenting this as an exhaustive and infalible list of all citations for Figshare objects. With continual refinements in coverage, indexing and parsing in the future, we can expect to pick up not only more mentions going forwards but also to increase the quantity and quality of the existing pool.    

Why it’s special

At Figshare, we are fully aware of the power of citations to an academic. It has been highlighted in our State of Open Data reports as the main motivator in sharing open data - more impact in the form of more citations

However, data citations still struggle to find their way into reference lists, but both funder and publisher requirements around open data have resulted in an exponential growth in citations to data across data repositories. For the most part, these ‘citations’ are found in the full text of the article, the methods section - or the data availability section.

As such, we have partnered with our sister company Dimensions to identify these citations in the full text of articles. This ensures that researchers, and our clients, are aware of all of the citations to their research.

Exploring the journey

Let’s take a journey from Figshare object page to viewing the citation in the paper. Here’s a well-cited object within Figshare:

PIVlab - Time-Resolved Digital Particle Image Velocimetry Tool for MATLAB (

On the object page, in the top right you’ll see the metrics section. As the object has citations, you’ll see the option to click through to Dimensions for further exploration.

Next we’ll see the Dimensions landing page. This is available to all immediately without paywall or login. You will have a better experience if you have an account, but it works great without one.

You’ll see the results have a mix of “Open Access” and “View PDF” links. “View PDF” is powered by another member of the Digital Science family, Readcube, meaning you can read the PDF straight on the page.

Searching through the document, you’ll see at citation 51, the object that we are looking for.

If you have any feedback or would like to hear more about our plans for citations in the future, please get in touch via, Twitter or Facebook.

Apr 23, 2020 8:21

This is a reposted article from our blog, the original article can be found at:

get in touch with us

drop us a line