my current manuscript is combining work in multiple research fields, so naturally it's difficult to find good journals to submit it to.

At the moment I'm down to one journal where I would really like to submit it, however, the author's instructions of the journal make it difficult to wrap all my data into it.

I'm only allowed 2 tables and 3 figures and all supplemental material needs to be uploaded to public data repositories like FigShare. There is another table and 3 more figures that I would like to include that way. BUT The journal also only allows 30 references. At the moment I'm at 29 references. I have never used FigShare before but as far as I understand it, I need a new reference for every figure or table I cite that way?! So that would leave me at 33 references and I really can't afford to cut my text. I also don't have any redundant references.

So as I said. I would really love to still be able to submit it to that journal somehow. Is there any way that I can upload all my 3 figures and 1 table in a public repository and cite it as one single reference in the manuscript?

I hope my question makes sense so far.

Many thanks

  • 1
    When I hear public repository, I always think github. Might not be originally intended for figures, but maybe it works for you?
    – Dirk
    Jul 2, 2019 at 6:34
  • 1
    @Dirk I would avoid github for something like this. With a journal article, permanence is important, and github is not ideal for that. Changed user names, changed repo names, deleted repos, a hostile takeover of github, etc, could all break his article. It also makes manipulating figures and other content post publication easy. There's no guarantee that other options like FigShare are 100% permanent, but they probably are a safer bet, and have systems in place to ensure users can see the original figures.
    – anjama
    Aug 1, 2019 at 13:20

1 Answer 1


I routinely use OSF (Open Science Framework) and have a single reference to Supplementary Materials that links to a compressed file on OSF. You can "register" (fixed snapshot) the set of materials you want and have a single reference (including doi). I don't do it quite like that, I simply refer to Supplementary Figure 3 or whatever in the paper, and provide the link in whatever way the journal requests supplementary materials be linked.

But it doesn't have to be a single compressed file. The way OSF archives work is that the single link is to something more akin to a webpage and you can have multiple files able to be downloaded as well as a wiki style information page. It would be annoying for your readers to have to download multiple files though.

  • 2
    Just in case other people will have similar questions: I found OSF really better for the specific issue that I had. I put all files in a "supplementary" PDF file and referenced that. Then I created a folder for the raw picture files in high resolution. I feel like I got the best of two worlds. The reader can just download one supplementary file and use it along my manuscript and in case he is really interested in the data he can just click on the high resolution file. Let's hope my editor will see it the same way. Also liked the usage of OSF much better than Figshare. Thanks for that.
    – Ttam
    Jul 3, 2019 at 21:36

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