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Private Groups FAQ

What are Private Groups? How are Private Groups different than what Code Ocean has offered until now?

Private Groups allow easier collaboration in a secure and controlled space. Once the institutional admin creates the group, he or she can add group admins, and both the institutional admin and the group admins can then add group members. 

Only people included in the group have access to the private group. Members are invited to a Private Group via the admin panel (or via email if they are not yet a Code Ocean user) and when invited, can share capsules between members and see the titles of all capsules included within the Private Group. 

Administrators of Private Groups can view all capsules, manage membership, and duplicate capsules shared within the group at any time (as well as automatically when a member leaves the group.) 

Capsules shared within a Private Group can now be visible to an explicit, secure group of people as opposed to being either completely private (only the owner has access) or completely public once published. It allows a group admin to easily see all work being done within his or her working group and share relevant projects with team members in a single space. In addition, the group itself gets a permanent copy of the capsule even if the capsule’s owner leaves the group.

Why are Private Groups important?

Private Groups allow shared access and ownership of capsules within a lab or other research group contexts so that if a researcher leaves the group, the capsule is still accessible to the group members. It addresses the needs of three stakeholders: 

  • It allows PIs to protect and retain code and data within their lab, keep track of all of the projects happening in their lab and their statuses, and to enforce any lab policies of sharing code and data. 
  • It also allows researchers to support the furthering of knowledge using transparency, to build on the work of others, to avoid repeating work if a researcher leaves a group, and to streamline their research. 
  • In addition, it allows librarians to better assist researchers by helping them access information, make use of new tools in their research, and archive and preserve work within the university. 

How much does Private Groups cost?

Private Groups is included in our Team and Institutional plans. Researchers in the free plan can still invite collaborators to individual capsules but cannot join and work within Private Groups. 

Who has access to content/research contained within a Private Group?

The Private Group can be accessed by three different categories of people: the institutional admin, group admins, and group members. The goal is to create a private, secure, and controlled, space where researchers and lab members are able to collaborate. 

Why do we need a way to share capsules that are not yet published? What is the difference between Private Groups and collaboration?

Adding a collaborator or collaborators to a capsule is done when a user may want to work alongside someone else on a capsule, have them review details, help with troubleshooting a problem or issue, append to the capsule etc. The collaboration feature is on a capsule by capsule basis and doesn’t provide visibility into a collection of capsules or projects that are being done within the group. Sharing capsules in a private group that are not yet published creates visibility for both the researcher and the admin. Private Groups is where you share one-to-many. In addition, Private Groups allow collaborators to be added more easily and efficiently, and saves time in the research workflow.

Who has the ability to form a group?

Only the institutional admin has the ability to create or delete a group. After which, he or she can assign group admins, and both the institution and group admins can invite group members. 

Who can function as a group admin?

Anyone who is chosen by the institutional admin or the group admin can become a group admin themselves.

How does a group admin invite someone to join his / her group?

Both group and institutional admins can invite users to groups. In the group, click on ‘+ Add User’ and a new row will be added to the users table. In the ‘Name’ field, enter the new group member’s email address to send an invitation. Then allocate resources to the new group member, and submit.
If the user has already registered with Code Ocean, their name will appear instead of their email address, and group options will be open to them. If the user is not registered, an invitation email will be sent, with a registration link.

Who has the ability to set capsules to public or private? 

As before, all capsules start as private (owner only). The owner can then decide to share the capsule with the group, which will add it to the group’s list of capsules, but group members cannot access the content only see that it exists and its title. Admins can view the capsule. For more granular involvement by other users, they must be added as collaborator to the capsule. Only when the capsule is published is it visible to all group members, and to the general public.

Can a group admin remove a group member? What happens then?

When a group admin removes a group member, the group admin becomes the owner of the leaving member’s capsule copy. If there are multiple group admins, the capsule ownership will default to the one who removed the user. In the rare case that a group admin does not exist, no copy will be generated of the leaving member’s capsules. 

What is the difference between an institutional admin and a group admin?

The Institutional admin has the ability to create or delete a group, and to assign group admin status. In addition, the institutional admin can allocate resources such as compute hours, storage and invite other users to a group. Both institutional and group admins can allocate resources to specific users once the group admin is set up. Another important thing to keep in mind is that while the group admin is considered a user, the institutional admin is not. This is so the institutional admin does not take up a seat or resources, but also cannot share capsules with the group. 

Who is able to assign additional compute time (quota) to group members?

Both the institutional admin and the group admin can allocate resources to group members. 

Who owns the capsule in the group? Who has the right to publish said capsule?

Capsule ownership structure has remained the same: a single user owns each capsule. That single owner has the exclusive ability to publish said capsule. 

Does a group need an admin? Can a librarian function as a group admin?

While technically a group admin is not a requirement, we highly encourage it. Anyone other than an institutional admin can be set as a group admin. Since admins do take up a seat in the group, it is recommended to use someone within the group. 

Can a group have multiple group admins?

Yes, while a group can only have one institutional admin, it can have multiple group admins.

Is it possible to have people from different institutions included in the same Private Group?

Yes, a Private Group can include members from different institutions. Though members can’t belong to multiple groups, anyone may be invited to collaborate on specific capsules in a Private Group, regardless of institution affiliation. It is important to note that a group member can only belong to one group.

Are Private Groups lab-specific, or can it include a group of people who do not necessarily belong to the same lab?

Private Groups can include members from any institution or lab. Determining who is included in a Private Group is the responsibility of the admins, and we do not place any restrictions on who can be included.

Can a user belong to more than one group at a time?

No, users can only be a member of one group at a time.

What happens if a researcher has a capsule before joining a lab?

If a researcher has a capsule before joining a lab, those capsules remain in the researcher's catalog of capsules and can move them to a group as desired.  

Are quotas allocated to the entire group, or divided by group member?

Compute quotas will remain per-individual group member and are not per-group or per-capsule. The quota is allocated by either the institutional admin or the group admin. Additional quota and storage can be shared above and beyond the individual allocations if they have been procured via the institutional admin or from Code Ocean. 

Is it going to be a problem that capsules copied after a group member leaves will use up the group admin’s quota?

We assume that the PI wants the leaving member’s capsules, and that’s why they are copied to the group upon exit. And so, the PI becomes the owner of the capsule, and they are free to delete them if they so choose. The copied capsule will only use up storage, and not monthly compute quota (unless run). 

What happens if the user doesn't have enough storage in her private account to store the copied capsule?

Similar to Code Ocean before private groups were introduced, if a user generates enough results to exceed her quota, we let them finish the run, but then their account goes into read-only mode.

If an external collaborator runs the capsule do they use the private quota or the group’s?

If an external collaborator runs the capsule belonging to a group they use their own private quota, as quotas are allocated on a per-user basis. 

Can a group member add an outside collaborator to a group capsule?

Yes, the capsule owner can invite any collaborator via email to a group capsule. This collaborator doesn’t have to be a group member to join a group capsule. In this case, the capsule appears in their “My Capsules” page instead of on the group page.