What is Sustainable Digital Scholarship?

The Sustainable Digital Scholarship (SDS) service is one of Oxford University’s data support services, based in the Humanities Division. We provide a long-term solution to digital research projects for the storage, publication, and preservation of their research data.

Digital projects face particular challenges to their sustainability, with websites and databases becoming rapidly technically obsolete, making research outputs inaccessible. Oxford produces some of the best digital research in the world. We want to make that research accessible and sustainable for decades to come. 

The Sustainable Digital Scholarship platform, provided by our partner Figshare, is a digital repository where research data can be stored, published, and preserved. Projects can use the SDS repository instead of, or as well as, a custom-built database to keep your research data safe and accessible.

Our data repository is open to new grant-funded projects across the University from February 2021. It is also open to pre-existing projects in the Humanities Division for free.

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The Sustainable Digital Scholarship service can offer free consultations to new or existing digital research projects, or to individual researchers. We can advise on how to publish your research and keep your project’s digital legacy safe. 

Features of the Figshare Sustainable Digital Scholarship platform include: 

  • Public access to your research, organised in any structure you choose. 
  • Support for all file formats, with the ability to view most in browser including images, time-based media, .XML (including TEI). Further detailed information available here.
  • Custom metadata and file tagging tailored to your project’s needs. 
  • Search and filtering to enable users to easily find your research. 
  • Powerful sharing and citation tools to increase the impact and reach of your research. 
  • Built-in analytics to track the impact of your research. 
  • A system which meets the highest Information Security standards (ISO27001). 
  • Robust and resilient technically, ensuring multiple copies and appropriate back-ups are created of data stored. 
  • The platform conforms to the latest accessibility guidelines (WCAG 2.1). 
  • Simple interface for researchers, with easy account creation and access via your Oxford Single Sign On service. 
  • Permanent location for each record, stored with a versioned DOI (Digital Object Identifier) for easy citation and attribution. 
  • Long-term preservation of research data to fulfil funding bodies’ requirements. 
  • Easy collaboration with researchers within or outside the University. 
  • Ability to limit access to your research data to chosen collaborators, other Oxford users, or with time-based embargoes.  

See our breakdown of the SDS platform for new and existing projects, and individual researchers.

Consultation with the Sustainable Digital Scholarship team is free. We’re happy to offer advice on your options for how and where to publish and store your research data, as well as key considerations on how to structure your research  

Depositing data on the Figshare platform is free for existing projects within the Humanities Division. If you have completed the funded stage of your project, or are currently working within the funding period, we are willing to host and migrate your data for free. 

We ask projects yet to apply for funding, or ones from outside the Humanities Division, to contribute to the costs of running the Sustainable Digital Scholarship service. Our sample costs for research projects can be seen below. We aim to be highly competitive, and our fees only reflect our staff and hosting costs. Using the Figshare platform as a repository for your data avoids any costs for building or hosting your own database or data repository.  

One-off setup fee

Project Complexity Staff days to implement Setup fee
Small/simple 2 £547.40
Standard/medium 5 £1368.50 
Large & complex/custom build Estimate on request Available on request 


Hosting costs per year of project funding 

Project data requirements Annual hosting fee*
Very small (to 0.5 terabytes) £219.42 
Small (to 1TB)  £438.84 
Medium (1-5TB)  £1316.52 
Large (5-20TB)  £5485.50 

*These hosting costs only apply for the project’s funded period; there is no charge to maintain projects on the Figshare platform after your active research period is over.


See our description of what the Sustainable Digital Scholarship service offers and our list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Contact us:

  • For a free consultation about digital sustainability and your options for keeping your digital legacy safe. 
  • To ask about the Sustainable Digital Scholarship platform and how we can help you to use it
  • To answer any questions you may have about digital sustainability at Oxford University.