Signing and Witnessing

Signing a document is an internal RSpace mechanism for taking an active shared document you are the owner/creator of, and effectively marking it as completed. The document will be closed for further editing by both you or anyone else who has been able to edit it previously, but will still be available to view by anyone who has permission. The document will be marked as completed work verified by you, its owner.

Witnessing a document is simply the same process but including further verification of the completed work, your ownership of it and its authenticity by either your LabGroup PI or by other members of the group who have contributed to the development of the document.

Both signing and witnessing a document generate a specific icon in the document’s status.

The Signing Process

In order to activate the signing process, you’ll need to have created and edited a document – which will make the ‘Sign’ button available in the document toolbar in view mode. To choose witnesses, you need to be part of a group – your PI at least will be able to act as a witness, plus any people you have shared your document with.

To initiate the process, open the document and click on the “Sign” button. This “Sign” button should only appear if you have permission and the document hasn’t been signed previously.

In the signing dialog which appears, you can choose between signing and locking your own work, or inviting witnesses to further validate the completion of the document. If the first statement in the dialog is selected, RSpace displays a list of available witnesses for the document. Check the box beside any user or users you wish to witness your work – they will receive a message asking them to be a witness, with a link to the document. If you choose the second statement, you simply sign the document yourself and no witnesses are requested. Once you have chosen, click on “Sign” – you will be asked to type your username and password to authorise the process –  and click on “Proceed” to complete signing. The document will no longer be editable and its status will be “Signed”, with a distinctive status icon in its top right corner.

If you want to receive notification about the witnessing process, access the Messaging options in the “My Profile” section of MyRSpace, and ensure the ‘When the status of a request I made changes’ box is checked.


The Witnessing Process

If you have been invited to witness a signature, you will receive a message informing you of this, indicated by an envelope icon in your workspace toolbar. When you open the message, it will contain details about who sent it and a request to witness a signed document. The message will contain a link to the document.

To continue and witness the document, click on the link. The signed document opens and the “Witness” button should be in the document toolbar – it ONLY appears if the document has been signed, if the user is a selected witness and if the document has not been witnessed previously by that user.

Clicking on the “Witness” button generates a new dialog with two options: the first is verification of your agreement to witness the work – selecting this option will proceed with the witnessing process; the second is an option to decline the request to witness and supply a reason why (you could have declined in the message stage, but this allows a refusal after having viewed the document).After checking one of the options, click on “Witness” button and the witnessing process finishes, sending a notification to the original signer. You will need to confirm your user details to complete the process. After clicking on “Proceed” button, the following events occur:

  • You receive a message about the witnessing process
  • The “Witness” button disappears from the document toolbar
  • The document status is changed from Signed to Witnessed, with a change of status icon
  • The original signer receives a notification that  the document has been witnessed


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