Celebrating one year of digital sustainability at Oxford

Infographic illustrating one year of the Sustainable Digital Scholarship service at Oxford University

This month marks one year since the launch of the Sustainable Digital Scholarship service. Based in Digital Scholarship @ Oxford, the Sustainable Digital Scholarship service was created to help researchers at the University of Oxford to safeguard the digital legacy of their research, by providing advice and guidance on digital sustainability, and by offering a long-term solution for the storage, publication, and preservation of research data through the service’s SDS platform - an online, open-access repository. 

The SDS platform has proven to be a welcome addition to the digital research data ecosystem at Oxford, offering, for the first time, a home for ‘warm’ research data, complementing the University’s existing ‘Hot’ data and ‘Cold’ data storage solutions, such as SharePoint and ORA-Data. The SDS service works closely with colleagues and partners across the University, including Research Data Oxford, the Bodleian Libraries, and IT Services, to ensure that it can help its users find the right solution to meet the needs of their projects and get the best out of the data storage technologies currently available at Oxford.  

There has been an extraordinary response to the SDS service in its first year, and the demand for the SDS platform continues to grow. While initially focused on supporting researchers based within the Humanities Division, the SDS service rapidly expanded to the Social Sciences Division, and now offers support more widely to researchers and projects based across the University. The SDS service has engaged with more than 120 projects, and with over 570,000 deposits made on the SDS platform to date, has already improved Oxford’s capacity to share the full breadth of its unparalleled digital collections and ensured that the work of its world-leading researchers remains accessible for decades to come. 

Users of the Sustainable Digital Scholarship platform say:

“Through the SDS service, for the first time, the University is offering a platform through which past and current research in digital format is being published in a sustainable way that meets the FAIR principles (Findable, Interoperable, Accessible, Reusable). The pilot projects have already illustrated the potential of the SDS platform not only to sustain current work but to have a transformative effect on legacy projects which could not readily be sustained in the past. It is exciting to see the rapidly growing collection of very diverse and important projects now being supported and published on SDS, and the increasing interest across the various Divisions of the university, illustrating also the extent to which the world of digital data and research crosses disciplinary boundaries.”   

 — Professor Jonathan Prag
Academic Sponsor of Sustainable Digital Scholarship (SDS)

Since its launch, in addition to helping to keep research safe, the SDS service has also succeeded in adding value to legacy projects, such as the Novum Inventorium Sepulchrale, breathing new life into resources that had fallen offline or were previously stored in less accessible formats.  

“Thanks to the Sustainable Digital Scholarship team, a valuable, web-based archaeological resource that had fallen off-line years ago is again being used. The team were hugely helpful and efficient - a real pleasure to work with. I had given up hope of seeing this resource brought back to life and am delighted with the outcome.”   

— Professor Helena Hamerow
Principal Investigator, Novum Inventorium Sepulchrale Project  


To find out more about the Sustainable Digital Scholarship (SDS) service, visit www.sds.ox.ac.uk

Alternatively, the SDS service will be hosting a special in-person anniversary event from 3.30pm on Wednesday 27 April (St. Luke's Chapel, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter), to give colleagues across the university the opportunity to discover more about what the SDS service has to offer. Register, here: https://forms.office.com/r/KwejmBWFVG