Data Ready

La Trobe University

Research Data La Trobe

Data Ready
La Trobe University

Research Data La Trobe

Data Ready
La Trobe University

Research Data La Trobe

Data Ready

How to use

To manage your data go to OPAL (powered by figshare)

Uploading files 

OPAL accepts the upload of many file formats (more than 1,000 so far) including:

  • presentations (such as PowerPoint and PDF)
  • images (including JPG and PNG)
  • video files
  • audio files
  • Excel spreadsheets
  • CSV files
  • Word documents
  • PDF files
  • code


Once you have logged in to the 'My data' page, click on '+ Create a new item'. This will bring up the form for you to upload your files and enter the author, title and other details.

There are two ways to upload files. You can drag and drop your files into the bar at the top of a draft form. Alternately, you can click on 'browse' in the same bar and select your research files. Once this is complete you can either click 'Save changes' and keep the item as a draft, or click 'Publish' after having completed the minimum required fields (marked with a green dot) to publish the item, making it publicly available.

For more information on how to upload research files watch the figshare video.

After you have selected your file, the file's name will appear in the bar at the top of the draft item. To the right of it you will see the total size of the file as well as the percentage that has uploaded. As the percentage number increases a green bar will move from left to right across the bar. Once the file has been successfully uploaded the green bar will change to a lighter shade, then disappear. Remember to click ‘Save changes’ to save your work.

This will depend on your bandwidth and other factors and will take approximately ten minutes to upload one gigabyte.

OPAL assumes you are going to do one of three things when you create a record:

  1. Upload digital files into OPAL, and either store them or publish them to make them publicly available, citable and reusable by others;
  2. Create a OPAL record that does not contain the files but points to an external URL where the files reside. This is a link file as the data is linked to via the OPAL record;
  3. Create a OPAL record that does not contain the files and does not point to an external URL either. This is a metadata record only as no research files are publicly available in OPAL or elsewhere online. A metadata record only would be created where IP, confidentiality or other restrictions are in place, but the researcher wants to promote the existence of his or her research.

For more information on the difference between metadata records and link files watch the figshare video.

OPAL will not allow folders to be uploaded. However, it will allow zipped folders to be uploaded. Alternately, you can navigate to a folder, and select all the files which will upload them all as separate files.

Deleting and modifying files before publishing

If you have one file to be deleted you do so by going into the draft of the item. The one file you want to delete is displayed at the top of the page with a tick next to it. When you place your mouse on the tick it changes to a cross and the word 'delete' appears. Clicking the cross will delete the file but not the item. This action cannot be undone.

To delete more than one item go into the draft of the item. All the files will be displayed at the top of the page. Clicking on the word 'Manage' to the right of the files takes you to a screen where you can hover your mouse over the files you wish to delete. Doing so brings up a cross next to the file, and clicking this cross deletes the file. Files can only be deleted one at a time and this action cannot be undone.

For more information on how to delete files watch the figshare video.


To delete a whole item, go into the draft of the item and scroll to the bottom of the form. Click on the little icon of the rubbish bin in the bottom left corner (which also says ‘Delete item’), and then click 'Yes, delete' to confirm. This action cannot be undone.

You can download, replace or delete your stored files when they are in draft. However, you cannot modify files in OPAL as you can in Google Docs. To modify a file it must first be downloaded, modified, and then reuploaded to OPAL.

To change the order go into the draft of the item and click on 'Manage' at the top where your files are listed. When you hover your mouse over a file, two lines appear on the right hand side. Place your cursor on the two lines (at which point your cursor will change from a single-headed arrow to a four-headed arrow) and drag and drop the files to reorder them.

Publishing files

After you have saved your draft item you can publish it via a three-step process. At the bottom of the form next to the red 'Save changes' button there is a box and the word 'Publish'.

  1. Tick the box which changes the red button to a green one and replaces the words 'Save changes' with 'Publish item'.
  2. Click the green 'Publish item' button. This action brings up a yellow box indicating that you are about to permanently publish the item. It also states which licence you will be publishing under and asks you to agree to the terms of use.
  3. Click the green 'Yes, publish' button to publicly and permanently publish your research. By publishing your files on figshare you are making them available for reuse by others according to the terms of the licence you have selected.

For more information on how to publish your research files watch the figshare video.


La Trobe University supports the publication of files via Creative Commons licences of which there are six common licences with varying conditions. These licences allow the wide dissemination of your research under certain conditions, all of which require that you be attributed as the creator. Before publishing via a Creative Commons licence it is important that you have a clear understanding of any copyright restrictions. For more information on the six Creative Commons licences visit the Creative Commons Australia website .

The Creative Commons licences are not designed for use with software. The licences that can be selected for software are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) licence, General Public Licence (GPL, GPL 2.0+, GPL 3.0+) and the Apache 2.0 licence.


When you click the publish button, Figshare publishes your research permanently to the whole world. Figshare generates a Digital Object Identifier which is linked to the information you have published.

When you publish you are asked to select one of the Creative Commons or other licences Figshare makes available to you. Before you publish you need to be sure that you hold the rights that allow other people to reuse your data and that there are no confidentiality, copyright or privacy issues that prevent the data from being shared.

When you publish you are also agreeing that you do hold all the necessary rights to publish and allow reuse of the data and that you are responsible for the publication in compliance with the La Trobe terms of use ##LINK TO BE ADDED##

Yes, you can publish all items simultaneously (batch publish) that have all the metadata fields completed. The My data tab displays all your draft and public items. Draft items that have all the metadata fields completed are listed with a grey dot under the ‘STATUS’ column. To batch publish, select the files you wish to publish by ticking the boxes to the left of each item. This changes the boxes to green. Then above the list of items click ‘Actions’ and then click ‘Publish’. A box will appear advising you that you are about to publish with whatever licences you have selected. Clicking ‘Yes, publish’ will publish all items, each with a separate DOI.

Usually when you publish through OPAL your files are made publicly accessible for download and use by other researchers. You can however upload, describe and publish your data but prevent the data from being downloaded. The item and its description will be displayed publicly however users will not be able to access the data. This allows you to mediate access to your data by allowing other users to contact you and request your data (remember to include your contact details in the description field). To share your data with a specific user you can then generate a private link (see How do I quickly and easily share files? in the How to Collaborate tab) which will allow access to your data.

To make your files confidential click on ‘Make file(s) confidential’ at the bottom of the publication form. This also provides you with the option to provide a reason.

To revert a published item to draft please email your request from your La Trobe University email account to and include the DOI and title of the public item. Library staff are then able to revert your public item to a draft. Your files will still remain in the item as will your description of it, however it will no longer be publicly available, and the DOI will no longer point to your files. If you later republish the item it will retain the same DOI that the originally published item had.

Collections are a way to group together public or private content to give it a new context. To create a collection after you have logged in click on ‘My data’ at the top of the page then click on the Collections tab. Clicking on 'Create a new collection’ will bring up a form to allow you to describe your collection. Fill in the details (title, description, authors, etc) and click ‘Save changes.’ You will be taken back to the Collections tab screen and can then click ‘+ Add public items’ to add published items to your newly created collection. This will take you to a figshare search page where you can enter the term/s you would like to search. Hovering your mouse over the items changes them to green, and by clicking the green item you add a tick to the item. To add the selected items to your collection click on the red button ‘Add selected items’.

You can also add items to a previously created collection. After clicking on a public item scroll down to the description of the item. At the top of the description click on ‘+ Collect’. You can then select which of your collections to add the item to and it will be immediately added. If you haven’t already created a collection there is also an option to create a new collection.

Collections can be kept private, or published and made available for reuse by others. Private collections can be published (and receive a Digital Object Identifier) if all the items in the collection are already public. From your collections tab select the collection you would like to publish. On the right hand side, click on ‘MANAGE’. This menu allows you to perform actions such as publishing your collection, editing it, generating a private link or deleting the collection. You will only be able to publish your collection if all the fields with a green dot have been filled in.

For more information on how to create collections watch the figshare video.

Updating the title or files will create a new version. The version number appears underneath the title, next to the authors, allowing other researchers to be clear on which version of your work they have cited. Updating the categories, keywords, authors or description does not create a new version.

To remove older versions of published items please email your request from your La Trobe University email account to and include the DOI and title of the public item and which versions you would like removed. The Library can then request from figshare that the identified older versions be removed. This will not alter the DOI.

Once you have logged in go to the My data tab and find your published item. Placing your cursor on your item makes a pencil on the far right appear. Clicking this pencil allows you to go into your item to make changes. In the publication form you can make the required changes and save your work. This saves your work but does not re-publish it. To re-publish the changes tick the box labelled ‘publish changes’ next to the the red ‘Save changes’ button. The red ‘Save changes’ button will turn green, and by clicking on it your new changes will be published. A green dot will appear with the word ‘Public’ next to the ‘Save changes’ button which has reverted to red.

Citations and Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs)

A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) acts as a persistent link to your research and is allocated at the point of publication. La Trobe University manages these DOIs so that the link always points to your items and files, allowing them to be citable for the long-term.

When you publish in OPAL a DOI is automatically created. To find a DOI on a published item simply click on the word ‘Cite’. This will bring up the automatically generated citation for your item as well as the DOI in bold.

For more information on how to find a DOI on a published item watch the figshare video.

In a draft item clicking on 'Reserve Digital Object Identifier' creates a DOI that is inactive and reserved for your item. You can supply this DOI to publishers for inclusion in an upcoming paper, however the DOI will not become active until you publish your files in OPAL.

For more information on how reserve a DOI on a draft, item watch the figshare video.

You must complete six fields to allow the minting of a DOI and publication of the item (the first five are highlighted in green):

  1. title
  2. author/s
  3. categories
  4. keywords
  5. description
  6. licence (not highlighted in green)

If you try to publish without these fields being completed a box will appear reminding you of the fields you need to fill in. Licence is a compulsory field, however the default option is CC BY. This licence means you are allowing use of your work for any purpose (including commercial use and modifications) as long as you are credited as the author. To change this default licence, select another one from the drop down options.

Please get in contact with us with any questions via this form.