RSpace Enterprise FAQ

RSpace Enterprise

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
  •    Integration 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.

If you are familiar with RSpace from the Community version, some functionality will be broadly similar in RSpace Enterprise, but certain key areas are profoundly different, such as sharing documents and the creation of groups. We will clearly indicate in the documentation if a feature is only available in a specific version of RSpace, so don't worry about remembering!

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. See Export Options, Export Formats, and Exporting a LabGroup’s Work for more information.

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 (see Cloud Storage Integrations), 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 (see Configuring Institutional File Systems). 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.

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