Skip to Main Content
Research Guides

Open Science Framework (OSF): Getting Started

OSF is an open source cloud-based project management platform that helps teams collaborate in one centralized location and provides file hosting, version control, persistent URLs, and DOI registration.

Setting up a Project

With OSF, you can create project pages to store your data, collaborate with peers, and keep track of all your materials. There is no limit to the number of projects or components you can create.

  • Create a new project- create a project for an experiment, lab group, paper, or presentation. A project can be anything with files, collaborators, documentation, or data.
  • Add Contributors- add collaborators, peers, or reviewers to your project. You can customize the permissions for each contributor for each project or component.
  • Licensing- add a license for your project or data by selecting one of the commonly used licenses or upload your own. A license informs others of how they can copy, distribute, or reuse parts of your project.
  • Creating a project from a template- by using a template, you can copy the structure of another project. This can be one of your projects or a project of another OSF user. The template will copy the structure but not the content.

Connecting to Other Services

OSF can connect to 11 cloud storage services like Google Drive, GitHub, Dropbox and more. By connecting to these outside services, users can access files that are housed in these services via OSF. Each add-on has a different level of interaction that can be done through OSF and will have different sets of permissions. Some services have read-only access and need to be edited through the storage service, while others allow you to edit the files through OSF and automatically update in the service. Each add-on service also has a different file size limit.

OSF can also connect to citation management services like Mendeley and Zotero. These allow you to keep track of the references used in your project and will appear on the project overview page.

OSF Storage

In addition to add-on services, OSF provides storage space for files. Beginning November 3, 2020, OSF will limit the storage capacity of private projects to 5 GB per project, and public projects to 50 GB per project. Data stored in add-on services does not count toward these limits. Individual files uploaded to OSF Storage must be 5GB or less. For more information on OSF storage caps, take a look at OSF's storage help guides and FAQs.

Global OSF storage location options:

  • United States
  • Canada- Montréal
  • Germany- Frankfurt
  • Australia- Sydney

Sharing a Project

There are several ways to publicly share your OSF project:

  • Making the project public- Projects and components are private by default, but you can make the whole or just part of the project public.
  • Creating a DOI- After making the project public, you can generate a DOI. Each OSF project and component also comes with a unique persistent URL.
  • Registering the project- by registering your project, you create a frozen, time-stamped copy. Registrations can be made public immediately or embargoed for up to 4 years.

Help Links

If you have questions about OSF, here are a few helpful pages:


OSF is not HIPAA compliant but OSF may be able to link to a storage add-on that meets your HIPAA requirements.