Sharing Content


Sharing documents and working collaboratively is well supported in RSpace. This article covers sharing of Documents, Notebooks, Folders, and Gallery items.

The Shared Folder

To allow others to access your work, you have to share your content, and in the case of sharing with a LabGroup, Collaboration Group or Project Group, you can also specify where the content should be placed inside the Shared LabGroup folder.

In RSpace, all work must first be created by an individual on their Workspace, and then shared into a shared folder. New work cannot be created directly inside a shared location, nor can it simply be "moved" to a shared folder.

When you share an RSpace document or Notebook, a new link (a "shortcut" or "alias") is created in the appropriate shared folder, where the document and its attached files can be accessed by other users. Sharing a document has no affect on the location of the document in the owner's Workspace.

This system allows everyone in your LabGroup to see the same view when looking in the Shared folder, while enabling each individual to organise their documents in their Workspace however they want, without affecting the organisation of items the Shared folder.

Benefits of the Shared Folder Approach

This approach is flexible, adaptable and has many advantages:

  • Ensures documents can be created privately, and then shared manually or automatically. This prevents accidental sharing, but also allows for real-time managed access as needed.
  • Allows a single document to exist as multiple links simultaneously in different organizational contexts without having to create additional confusing duplicates / copies of the document. The owner can organize their work one way in their own Workspace, yet the same work can be organized differently in its shared context or shared contexts. There is no need to track down and edit duplicate copies of work in other shared locations. Edits to the document accessed using any of its links will be reflected in all other locations where the same document appears.
  • Allows work to be shared with different permissions for different groups or individuals.
  • Establishes, in all cases, who is the unambiguous single Owner of the work, and allows the Owner to have good control over the work, even if it is removed from its shared context.
  • Pre-determines the fate of the work in situations where LabGroups change or disband, or where group members leave or stop using RSpace.
  • Helps to prevent ownership disputes, data misplacement, confusing duplication of documents, and privacy issues.


LabGroups, Collaboration Groups, Project Groups, and Individual Share Items have variations in how they handle permissions to view, edit and manage documents. Please refer to their documentation pages for detailed information.

For LabGroups, which are the most common type of Group in RSpace:

  • PIs and LabAdmins can organise the Shared folder of their LabGroup by moving Documents and creating Folders
  • Members of the LabGroup can create Folders, as well as select a specific Folder to share a Document into, but do not have permissions to organise items within the Shared folder
  • By default, PIs and LabAdmins with view permission ('senior LabAdmins') can directly view the Workspace of users in their LabGroup, even if the user has not explicitly shared their work

Locating Shared Folders

All users who belong to at least one LabGroup can access the main Shared folder and its sub-folders, where shared content lives.

Shared folders can be located in one of three ways:

  1. Open the Shared folder. You can find it at the bottom of the last page of the Workspace, or by searching for "Shared" in the searchbar. This folder contains up to 4 subfolders:

  1. Click the LabGroup Records icon on the Workspace toolbar to jump directly to the Shared / LabGroups folder. Click a LabGroup to see the shared content, or navigate up one level to see other types of Groups.
If you are a PI or a LabAdmin with view permission, you will also see the named user folders in Shared / LabGroups. Each user folder contains all the content of the named user's Workspace.
  1. From My RSpace > My Profile, click on the name of any group you belong to, then on the group details page, click the icon for the shared folder to go directly to the list of shared items.

You can view more in-depth examples of how to structure sharing at Examples of Sharing Scenarios and Project Organisation.

Sharing a Document or Notebook

You can select one or more documents, and they can be shared with groups (LabGroups, Collaboration Groups or Project Groups) or individuals in your groups, or in the case of Community Edition, individuals not yet using RSpace using their email address. Different types of Group can be used to support different types of collaboration or access.

When you share a document, all the content "goes along for the ride" including any attached files within that document.

The document sharing process is applicable to Notebooks as well, but permission handling for Notebooks is slightly different (see permissions within shared notebooks).

To share a document:

  1. In the Workspace view, select the checkbox of one or more documents
  2. In the context menu that appears, click Share

  1. You can now select who you want to share with. Click on a category (as shown in screenshot) to define who to share with and the permissions they will have. You can define sharing across the three categories, and your choices will all be applied when you click on Share.
    1. For Share with Group, select the relevant group. You can then define permissions (either read or edit) and which folder or notebook to share into (optional). If you do not select a folder/notebook to share into, the Document will be placed at the top-level of the Shared folder. Sharing with multiple groups will require you to go through the process several times.
    1. For Share with Users, you can share documents with individual users that are in the same group(s) as you. This is useful if you don’t want to share your document with all the members of a group.
    1. In Share with Others, you can share documents with users who are not in the same groups as you. If you are using Community, you can invite not yet registered users. Start typing a user's name, username or email and RSpace will auto-suggest matching users. The users will be sent an email invite, and the sharing occurs once the invitation is accepted. Non-RSpace users will have to sign up before they can see your document.
    In RSpace Community, users can share documents with any other Community edition user, or even invite totally new users to use RSpace using "Share with Others". For RSpace Enterprise and RSpace Team Edition, sharing is limited to other users on your server and the option to Share with Others is not available. For Teams and Enterprise Editions you can use the Publish feature to make data available to colleagues who do not use RSpace.
  2. Click on Share. This will immediately share the selected document(s) with the selected groups and/or users, with the specific read/edit permissions across the three sections.
  1. Depending on what settings the user(s) you have shared with have enabled (see My Profile and Authentication), they will get a email notification and/or an RSpace notification.


If your System Admin has enabled it, users can also choose to automatically choose to share all of their work with selected groups, or the LabGroup PI may enforce this option so that the work of all members of a lab is automatically available to everyone in that lab. For details see: Autosharing.

Viewing a Shared Document

Shared documents will appear in the main Workspace, under the Shared folder. The Shared folder contains a folder named IndividualShareItems, CollaborationGroups, and LabGroups for documents shared with individuals, Collaboration Groups and LabGroups. For example, a document shared with TestGroup will be found by navigating to Shared / LabGroups / TestGroup_SHARED.

Shared documents will have an icon indicating that they are shared:

You can use the Shared with me filter in the Workspace toolbar options to view shared documents.

You can also search for a specific shared document like you would normally, or use Advanced Searching to filter documents by owner.

More details are provided at Viewing and Organising Shared Group Content.

Editing a Shared Document

Each RSpace document can be edited by one user at a time. When a user starts editing the document, no other users can edit it until the user doing the editing saves and closes the document, or when their session expires. When editing, new content is periodically autosaved.

A shared document can be viewed by any number of users simultaneously. If a document is updated, this will not refresh another user's view page. However, if the user decides to edit, the page will refresh and open the editor with the most recent version of the document.

View Sharing Information of a Document

To view the owner and sharing information of a document:

  1. Click on the File Info Button of a document
  1. You will be able to see the owner and with which groups and permissions the document has been shared in the info panel.

Unsharing or Editing Permissions of a Shared Document

  1. Navigate to My RSpace
  1. Select Shared Documents (you will have to use the arrow on the right side to see it)
  1. You can see a list of your shared documents, including who they are shared with and the permissions applied. You can also see your shared document requests at the bottom. You can use the Permissions dropdown on the right to edit permissions, or click on Unshare to unshare the document. It's not a bad idea to re-visit this area periodically to review what work you are sharing with your colleagues and make any changes you like if your collaboration needs have changed.

Determining which Users or Groups have access to an RSpace Document

For a given document you can click the blue info button to see a list of which users or groups that document has been shared with:

To see a list of specific individuals who have at least "read" acceess to a document, type an "@" in the body of the document while in edit mode. A list will automatically appear that includes anyone who can see the document.

For a number of technical and access permission reasons, is not possible to directly share a folder from the Workspace or files the Gallery with other users. However, one can instead:

• Create pre-existing subfolders in the main shared folder and share items into those.

• Share LINKS to folders or collections of files from the Gallery using alternative methods described in Sharing Folder or Gallery Contents.

The easiest way to share one or more files with users is to insert those files into a basic document, add some annotations (e.g., what the files are and why you are sharing them) and then share the document. This immediately makes those files available to the recipient.

Note that once created in a LabGroup main sharing folder, shared sub-folders can only be deleted by LabAdmins and PIs. This helps authorized users to maintain a centrally agreed to data schema within the shared folder. If the PI wants all members in a LabGroup to be able to organize and delete shared folders, they can give the role of LabAdmin to all members.

Learn More About Various Sharing Scenarios for Individuals, Projects and LabGroups

If you are PI you will probably want to read about some examples of various ways to share data, segregate data into projects and set up appropriate ownership of shared work.

We also recommend that PIs take a moment to learn more about different types of LabGroups and understand how to see and manage shared work belonging to users who have left your organization (e.g., students who have graduated.

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