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These FAQs are divided into the following sections for your convenience: The Basics, Privacy & Security, Sharing, Groups, PI & Admin Questions, Troubleshooting, Storage, RSpace Enterprise, and Miscellaneous. If you have a question you don’t see answered here, please get in touch through Intercom, or email us at

The Basics

What is RSpace?

RSpace is a multi-faceted research tool. It is…

  • An electronic lab notebook for researchers to capture and organize data
  • Collaboration software for groups to organize and share data
  • A management tool for PIs to observe and manage lab workflows
  • A platform for institutions to capture, publish and archive data

What’s the difference between a notebook and a folder?

Folders in RSpace are just like folders on your computer, and they can have any depth and number of subfolders. Notebooks in RSpace are simplified folders that can only contain documents, not subfolders. Content can’t be moved into/out of notebooks, but notebooks can easily be shared. ‘Notebook view’ (accessible by clicking on the ‘Notebook’ icon in Workspace) facilitates easy navigation between sequential documents.

How can I edit and update linked files in RSpace documents?

To update a linked attachment:

  • Firstly open the document containing the attachment in ‘Edit’ mode
  • Then double-click on the link to the attachment to reveal the ‘Get Info’ button
  • Click on the ‘Get Info’ button and then the ‘Replace’ button
  • Select the file you wish to replace the currently linked file with

How can I get my documents out of RSpace?

You can export your data in PDF, HTML or XML format.To export data, select the Documents, Notebooks and Folders you want to export, then click ‘Export’ in the toolbar that appears. For HTML and XML export , any attachments/images included in your data will be unaltered in the export.

What is the difference between RSpace Community and RSpace Enterprise?

RSpace Community is open to any type of user. Anyone can sign up for RSpace Community, and create groups with users in their lab, with other labs in their institution, and with labs in other institutions.  It’s completely free for both individuals and groups, and data storage is also free.

RSpace Enterprise is designed for use at research institutions: universities, public research institutes and private companies. In addition to the core functionality present in RSpace Community, RSpace Enterprise provides additional institutional support:

  •    Single sign on integration
  •    Links to institutional and lab-based file stores
  •    Intregration with institutional repositories and archives
  •    Sysadmin control
  •    Multi-tiered admin, including the ability to create and administer Communities

RSpace Communities offer a flexible way to encompass multiple groups and labs. Communities can be based on an existing department, school, college, institute or other sub-institutional unit, and can also represent newly formed groupings.

Privacy & Security

How do I know my work is secure?

RSpace takes your data security seriously. All RSpace products use HTTPS to encrypt network connections, and passwords are stored securely. Access to the Community server is only granted to a select number of authorized ResearchSpace employees. We work closely with RSpace Enterprise customers to ensure that RSpace interacts with institutional environments in a secure manner that suits their needs.

Who else can see my work?

Within RSpace, the default setting is that only you and your PI can see your work. If you are a PI, your data is visible to you alone. In exceptional circumstances, authorized RSpace administrators can access all account types, for example to investigate a user query or bug report. Please see our Privacy Policy for more details.

How do I stop sharing a document with someone?

Under the MyRSpace tab, select the option Manage Shared Documents. Here you can see a complete listing of all the documents that you have shared with other people, with options to unshare each document.

What is your privacy policy?

Our privacy policy is outlined within our Terms and Conditions.


How do I share my work with other people?

Simply select the documents or notebooks that you want to share using the check box on the left hand side, and click the ‘Share’ button. You can then choose to share with members of your lab group, other RSpace users, or both.

How do I share work with people who aren’t RSpace users?

There are currently three ways to share with external parties:

  1.    Export the desired file to HTML or PDF, and send it your collaborators via email or other preferred file sharing method.
  2.    Publish PDF documents within RSpace and share URL. To do this, select a file in the PDF section of the Gallery, and click ‘Publish’. This generates a secure public URL that you can share. Additional authentication is not necessary for RSpace Community users, but Enterprise customers may need to authenticate further if the RSpace server is behind a firewall.
  3. Export the desired file to any of the repositories supported by RSpace (Dataverse, Figshare etc) by selecting ‘Export’ and then the ‘Repository’ option

How can I create a group?

For RSpace Enterprise, a system admin or RSpace admin will set up your LabGroup. For RSpace Community, anyone can create a group by going to the MyRSpace tab and clicking ‘Create a Group’.

What’s the difference between a collaboration group and a lab group?

In a LabGroup, only your own PI can see your work by default. In a Collaboration Group, the other PI(s) can see work that you have explicitly shared with the group.

How do I invite new people to join a group?

If you are a PI or Lab Admin in the group, you can go to the Group page (from the MyRSpace tab, click on ‘My LabGroups’) and click on the ‘Invite’ button on the right. You will be prompted to enter the username or email address of the user you would like to invite. It is also possible to invite external non-RSpace users to join a group– they will be prompted to sign up prior to receiving the group invitation.

Can I belong to multiple groups?

Yes, you can belong to any number of Lab Groups or Collaboration groups.

If I’m in a collaboration group, can the other PI see my work?

No, in a collaboration group, only people you actively share with can see your work.

How can I remove myself from a group?

Contact the PI or group admin to request to be removed from a group. They can do this easily from the My LabGroup section of their MyRSpace page.

PI & Admin Questions

I’m a PI and I’d like to see documents that users in my lab have added recently, how do I do this?

Recent activity is viewable from the audit trail. Navigate to the My RSpace tab and click on’ Audit Trail’. From here you can search by date range, activity or user to see recent changes.

A shortcut is available in the Workspace: click the  icon (‘View All’) to list documents recently modified by you or your group members. Click on ‘My LabGroup’ filter in Workspace to view the individual folders of the users in your lab.


How do I add a published form to my Create menu?

To add a form to the create menu, go to your MyRSpace page, and then to Manage Forms. Select your published form and then click on ‘Add to Menu’ from the toolbar that appears.

I just deleted a document by accident, how can I get it back?

RSpace never actually deletes data from the server (in compliance with 21CFR11). You can see deleted documents under the My RSpace tab by clicking on ‘View Deleted Documents’. Here you can view a list of deleted documents and restore them to your Workspace if desired.

I accidentally deleted some content, can I restore a previous revision?

It is possible to restore any previous version of a document in RSpace. To do this, go to the MyRSpace tab and then View Deleted Documents. Here you can browse and restore deleted items of content. To view revision history, select a single document in the Workspace View, and then ‘Revisions’ from the toolbar that appears.

I can't see my share or messaging buttons

Certain adblockers remove or hide buttons with share or message on them. Please either disable your adblocker or whitelist to continue to use these features.

Where can I find more Help?

Extensive written and video documentation is available on HelpDocs.


Where is my data stored?

Any content you create in a document or notebook is stored in the RSpace database.  Files and images you upload to RSpace are stored unaltered on the RSpace server.  At any time you can export some or all of your data to HTML, PDF or XML format to get all your data out of RSpace.

RSpace Enterprise customers choose whether RSpace is installed on premises, in a private cloud, or in a public cloud in a location of their choice. The data their users enter into RSpace is therefore stored in the country or region in which they are located. RSpace Community is deployed on an AWS server in Ireland.

Can we integrate Box/Dropbox/GoogleDocs/OneDrive content into RSpace?

Yes. To do this, open any document in ‘edit’ mode, click to edit a text field,  and in the editor menu you will see buttons for Box, Dropbox, GoogleDocs, OneDrive and eCAT. Click on these to navigate through your external files. If you don’t see these buttons, you’ll need to ask your RSpace administrator to enable these services. When you link to data in external files, the links will appear in your document.

RSpace Enterprise

How can I get more information about on-site installs of RSpace (Enterprise)?

Please contact us on for all queries and interest regarding RSpace Enterprise. We look forward to hearing from you!

What is the cost structure for universities? For individual researchers?

RSpace is offered in two versions — a free Community version (which unlike other ‘free’ offerings really is completely free. There is no charge for usage, for setting up groups, or for data storage) and an Enterprise version. So, individuals and labs can use Community for free. The Enterprise version is designed for institutional deployment, and contains two main capabilities not offered in Community. The first is administration — you have sysadmin capability and also can take advantage of hierarchical tiered admin by setting up ‘Communities’, which are configurable groups of Lab Groups. E.g. you could have a Community for the Department of Chemistry, another one for the Center for Brain, Biology, and Behavior etc., and each of these units would have a Community admin capability. The second is the ability to set up links to institutional and lab file stores.

For Enterprise deployments at Institutions, pricing is on an annual subscription basis. We can work either with a specified number of licenses per year, or a site license. The site license provides access to all employees and students, and a specified number (300 is standard but can be revised if needed) guest licenses to collaborators you authorize from other institutions. Pricing for specified numbers of users starts at $100/user/year and there are steep volume discounts for deployments in excess of 50 users. We encourage takeup of a site license — because it is easier to administer and also encourages adoption — from the start even when usage will not be that high. To incentivize that, we offer multi-year arrangements under a site license, the cost of which in the early years starts at very low figures and then rise over time. I.e. the cost of the site license would in effect be the same as the cost of the license for say 200 – 300 users because it’s unlikely that in year one or two usage will exceed that figure, but we and the university both benefit from the simplicity of the site license structure.

What are the provisions for researchers or institutions to extract their data from the system if they decide to discontinue use? Or if you decide to terminate an account?

One of the core architectural features of RSpace is the ability to get data out, at any time, in a variety of formats – word, pdf, html, xml — and at every level of granularity from a single document to multiple documents to all work done by a lab to everything in the system. Individuals can export their own work, PI’s can export the lab’s work, and sysadmins can perform bulk export. In this way RSpace is designed to enable easy re-use of data outside RSpace, and to avoid vendor lock in in any way, shape or form.

In addition to this we are constantly improving the ability to manage exports. For example, we have written scripts that support programmatic scheduled exports of work at the lab level using the RSpace API. And, in 2018 we will be developing a feature that was designed in collaboration with the University of Oxford. In brief this will enable scheduled bulk exports of data in RSpace to a repository designated by the institution with additional hashing to provide 100% certainty that the documents have not been altered after they left RSpace.

All of this is under the institution’s control. The customer and researchers own and control the data of course. You can establish whatever controls and SOPs you want about which kinds of user can perform which kinds of export. You also control user management. We would never terminate an account. That is up to the institution. When a user account is deactivated the user can no longer access the system, but their data is retained. If you have a limited number of licenses, when an account has been deactivated another user can take that account, i.e. the licenses are reusable. In the case of a site license there is an unlimited number of accounts.

Researchers are likely to have large amounts of data stored locally that they do not wish to move but would like to access via RSpace. Is this a possibility?

Absolutely! This, along with the powerful export capability, is the second fundamental architectural principle on which RSpace is based. Surprisingly, RSpace is the only ELN that supports this principle. As noted above, RSpace supports connectivity with other data and file sources. This, includes, first,

integrations with the four most common file sync and share apps, i.e. Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and One Drive, and fifth, Egnyte, a super-secure solution that is widely used by biotechs. Second, RSpace also supports linking to lab and institutional file stores where typically big data — e.g. sequencing data and images — is already stored in a structured format. RSpace can communicate with file stores using common protocols like CIFS, samba and DFS, and has a UI which permits the creation of these links and then the ability to search the folder structure and select an item to which a link can be made in an RSpace document. Each user can access the external files to which they have permission.

The development of this feature is a good example of how we work with our university partners. The idea was first mooted during the initial planning at Wisconsin. The first implementation was at the University of Edinburgh. Edinburgh has a single central store on which everyone stores their data, so we implemented the fundamental capability described in the above paragraph. The University of Goettingen also wanted this feature, but operates a distributed system where each lab has its own store. So we expanded the feature to include the ability to expose and link to multiple stores.

Data location

RSpace Enterprise customers choose whether RSpace is installed on premises, in a private cloud, or in a public cloud in a location of their choice. The data their users enter into RSpace is therefore stored in the country or region in which they are located.


How can I automatically import images from my microscope server into RSpace?

RSpace Enterprise customers can configure RSpace to communicate with their internal file-servers, enabling links to be made to images on your microscope servers. RSpace Community users have the options to either directly upload, or import from a URl, depending on how their images are accessible.

Do you have an API?

Yes, as of version 1.41 RSpace has an API. Further development of the API is in progress.

When is your scheduled downtime?

We do not expect any downtime other than when we’re releasing a new version, (approximately once every month).  In the event of any unscheduled downtime, you will receive a notification that allows plenty of time for you to save your work and logout before the application is restarted.

Is RSpace 21CFR11 compliant?

For both regulated labs and unregulated labs, RSpace is a crucial part of you overall compliance, Good Lab Practice and patent protection strategy. 21CFR11 compliance has become the international “gold standard” for scientific data management and should be considered mandatory for any modern, efficient, paperless lab. The key elements of 21CFR11 that are supported by RSpace are as follows:

  • Data is true and accurate record of your work.
  • Ability to create accurate copies and human readable exports for inspection.
  • Limited, secure, role-based access by authorized individuals only.
  • Secure audit trail that records all user actions with computer generated timestamps.
  • All changes are visible, older versions remain available for inspection.
  • All records remain available in the system for the period of the study (i.e. permanently for most academic labs).
  • Training in proper use of the system is available and completed by all users.
  • Digital signatures can be used to lock documents and signatures cannot be separated from the data they safeguard.
  • Proper password management procedures, system security and access / activity logging are all part of the system.

For the highest level of compliance, you lab procedures will need to be professionally validated in-situ by qualified specialists. ResearchSpace can assist you with every step of this process. For more information about 21CFR11 compliance see:

What is the Lucene query syntax?

Lucene search is a means to perform powerful and complex queries in a single expression. For full details, see this link. To get this functionality in RSpace, prefix your query with the 2 characters ‘l:’ (a lowercase ‘L’ followed by a colon). E.g. ‘l: RNA AND protein’ searches only for strings that include both the terms RNA and protein.

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