More details about publishing a dataset using ORDA

Metadata-only item records

If you wish to create a record for your research data, but do not wish to upload files, because the data are in non-digital formats or they are considered sensitive data, then you may create a metadata-only record.
When creating a new item record, or editing a record in ‘My data’ (click on the title of the data item record), tick the box named ‘Metadata record only’ at the top left of the item record interface. Provide a reason for the record being metadata only, for example

  • “Dataset in non-digital format"
  • “Dataset consists of 20 microscope slides”
  • “Confidential data – contact … to enquire about access”

Click on ‘Save changes’.

Choosing a license

When creating a new item record, or editing a record in ‘My data’ (click on the title of the data item record), click on "License drop down menu".

  • Select the appropriate license from the options. (The default is CC-BY for data and MIT for code. A link to help is provided in the list)
  • If you are registering a dataset published elsewhere, select the license that the dataset has been published under

Click on 'Save changes'.

See ‘Copyright and Licensing’ for more information.


When creating a new item record, or editing a record in ‘My data’ (click on the title of the data item record), click on ‘Apply embargo’ and choose whether to apply at file level or to the whole item.  If access to an already published dataset has been embargoed, the appropriate embargo period may be selected for the ORDA dataset record.

Applying embargo at a file level means that the metadata record will be publicly visible in the institutional portal. If the whole item is embargoed, the metadata record will not be publicly displayed until the embargo period is over (this may be thought of as delayed publication).

  • Select an embargo period or date for the embargo to end
  • Provide a reason for embargo (this is optional)

Click on ‘Save changes’.

Confidential data

This is an alternative to creating a ‘metadata only’ record. You need to make a risk assessment as to whether you can upload sensitive data to cloud storage (ORDA). If your data includes NHS patient data or commercially sensitive data, for example, you should not upload the files but create a metadata-only record instead.

When creating a new item record, or editing a record in ‘My data’; if a file has been uploaded, the option to make this file private is provided.

  • Click on the ‘Invisible’ icon
  • Complete text box providing reasons for confidentiality and contact details for access
  • Click on 'Save changes'

Creating a new project

Projects allow you to group together datasets and other resources associated with a research project so that they can be easily shared with collaborators whilst the research is still active.

  • Click on ‘Projects’ tab
  • Click on ‘+ Create a new project’
  • Provide Title, Description and funding details
  • Click on add collaborators, add your University of Sheffield colleagues. You may specify roles: Collaborators may create and edit dataset records, upload files, post notes and comments; Viewers may only view records and files and post comments. You will now have a shared folder only those you have invited can access.
  • Click ‘Save changes’.

See ‘Projects: Collaborating on figshare’ for more information.

Creating a new item record in ‘Projects’

  • Click on an existing project name
  • Click on ‘+ Add new item’

An item record interface is displayed. You can add details (see ’Creating a new item record’ for more information)

Publishing a project

A project may be published when one or more of the items within the project is public. See ‘How to make a Project public’ for more information.


Collections provide another way to group together content to give it a new context. Items may be selected from ‘My data’, including private, unpublished items, or published items may be selected from All collections are private by default, but may be published and issued with a DOI.

  • Click on ‘Collections’ tab
  • Click on ‘+ Create a new Collection’
  • Displays ‘Create a new collection’. Here you can provide Title, Description, Authors, Categories, Tags and References.
  • Click ‘Save changes’ and the collection view is displayed
  • Here items may be added from your ‘My data’ selection and from by clicking on the appropriate box. Click the ‘Add from my data’ box and your datasets are displayed.
  • Click on the datasets to add to the collection then click ‘add selected items’.
  • It is then possible to make a collection public, if all the items contained are already public, but please be aware that publishing is permanent.

See ‘How to create a Collection’ for more information.

For further information, please contact