Technology for Research: Collaboration and Sharing

  • Faculty & Staff

There are many ways to share data and collaborate; some are more useful than others. It's usually a good idea to consult with your colleagues and your LSP regarding approaches most appropriate for your needs.

Data Repositories

If you need to share data repositories with colleagues, consider a data repository service. These are particularly useful if you will need to provide public access to research data in the future. 

  • The Van Pelt Library's staff can help you fulfill grant requirements by providing open access to an archive of data.
  • Penn's Scholarly Commons ( can be used to share data and publications with colleagues — and ultimately with the public. For more information consult with Sarah Wipperman ( ) at the Library.
  • FigShare ( offers researchers a way to store up to 20 gigabytes of data privately — or to create research objects that are discoverable, shareable, and citable by the public.
  • See also the options for Permanent Public Repository and for Storage and Big Data.

Other Tools for Sharing

  • Any member of the Penn community can use Penn+Box ( to share files with someone else at Penn. 
    • Secure storage for data, starting at 50 gigabytes per PennKey.
    • You can collaborate in real time with Box Notes.
    • You can buy more storage in Penn+Box if you need it.
  • Google Drive ( lets anyone with a Google or Google@SAS account collaborate on documents in real time. Most Penn students have a Google@SAS account.
  • Undergrad and grad students can use Google Sites (Google@SAS sites) for class research projects:
  • Videoconferencing may be useful for consulting with people in distant locations while viewing data together.
    • Skype is a simple way to videoconference with one other person.
    • Zoom provides videoconferencing for up to 50 people, with screen sharing. See for information.
  • Mailing lists allow colleagues to share brief information by email.  Ask your LSP about getting a mailing list on
  • Secure Share lets you send files securely to other people at Penn:

Further Information

For further information, see "Survey of Scholarly Communication Tool Usage" at Innovations in Scholarly Research (

If nothing else serves the purpose, request a custom database designed by IRAD.

As always, consult with your Local Support Provider (LSP) regarding the tools most appropriate for your needs.