Is it OK to post snapshots of Materials Project structures on e.g. FigShare (i.e. for manuscript reproducibility)?

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I’m guessing the answer is yes based on matminer including snapshots, but maybe care needs to be taken not to post the CIF files directly? For example, saving as pymatgen Structure objects (or equivalent) before saving the snapshot?

Any other considerations that need to be taken into account?

Hi @sgbaird,

The answer is yes, based on the terms of our license, and this (in my view) is essential for scientific reproducibility.

However, we do want to avoid a situation whereby researchers start using out-of-date datasets from different places, rather than using the canonical up-to-date data available on Materials Project. We can and do detect errors and issues with the data that is corrected over time, and this is partly why we encourage users to cite the specific database version used when publishing research. If a user starts pulling MP data from figshare or elsewhere, rather than MP directly, for a follow-on work then this would not be ideal.

Separately, I have also encountered a situation where someone has snapshotted MP data, and then someone else has cited the snapshot as the origin of the data rather than citing MP.

Therefore, out of politeness, I would suggest to include a warning that the data is snapshotted for the purposes of reproducibility, but that the latest data should be retrieved directly from the Materials Project, and that use of the data should include a Materials Project citation. (Indeed, this is the “BY” requirement of the “CC BY 4.0” license).

Hope this helps and sounds reasonable!


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To follow up, I would certainly save the Structure object rather than the CIF, but simply because this is the canonical representation of the data in our database.