What the Sustainable Digital Scholarship Service Offers

The Sustainable Digital Scholarship (SDS) service aims to help researchers safeguard the legacy of their research, and get the best out of the data storage technologies currently available at the University of Oxford by collaborating with other key service
providers in this space, such as those on offer in the Bodleian & IT Services. 

We can help researchers and project staff to create accounts on the Sustainable Digital Scholarship (SDS) platform, and get started with training, project set-up or migration, and ongoing technical

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Individual researchers can request an account on the SDS platform, where they can store and share their research data, and collaborate on a personal level. The SDS platform is free and open to researchers affiliated with any faculty in the Humanities Division.

Access requests are made on a ‘Self Service’ basis, using the University of Oxford Single Sign On (SSO) - access the SDS platform to create your account now.

Please read our terms of use before using the SDS platform.

The SDS service automatically provides individual researchers with a free 15GB storage allowance. If you get close to exceeding this initial 15GB allowance, it is possible to submit a request for additional storage within the SDS platform admin console. The SDS service reserves the right in the future to introduce a charge for excessive storage demands, though this would be communicated in advance and no charge would be requested without a discussion first. 

The SDS platform is provided by Figshare, and further helpful technical support and guidance can be found on the Figshare Knowledgebase website.  

We also have a selection of recorded training videos available, to help provide an overview of how the SDS platform can be used and managed.    

If you require any further support or information you can contact the SDS team, who would be more than happy to help you with any queries you have. Alternatively, your Faculty IT Support Team may also be able to provide support. 

If you have a pre-existing research project or collection of research data that you would like to deposit on the Sustainable Digital Scholarship (SDS) platform, please do get in touch: sds@it.ox.ac.uk.

The complexity of the project will determine how suitable the SDS platform will be as a home for this data and the level of support needed. 

The SDS platform should be able to support most of the digital outputs of research projects, providing a long-term home for whatever data your research produces, in almost any format. We appreciate that every project is different. Depending on the nature of the pre-existing project, it may not be possible to reproduce all the features of a pre-existing database or website, but we will work with you to replicate the current functionality of your project as closely as possible.

The SDS platform is not suitable for, or able to replicate interactions and user experiences of, all Digital Humanities projects; it is not a relational database. The capacities for filtered search and finding records by date are not as effective as some databases. However, this functionality is improving, and we are actively working with our service provider, Figshare, to influence their product development roadmap

Migrating a pre-existing collection of research data to the SDS platform is generally a managed service provided by the SDS service. Once a project or collection has been scoped by the team and the researcher is happy to proceed with a migration, the project will be added to our migration pipeline and scheduled to fit the availability of all the parties involved in the process.   

Our ambition is to be able to offer a lifetime of data storage to projects that wish to migrate onto the SDS platform at no cost to the researcher. However, where data collections are extremely complex or require a significantly large amount of storage we may need to discuss options for covering or contributing towards the costs of migrating and hosting this material.

We’d love to hear from you if you have any further questions or an interest in using the SDS platform for your research. 

We are happy to offer advice on how to support your project’s digital sustainability even if It turns out that the SDS platform will not be suitable for you. The Research Data Oxford webpages also provide useful information on the other data support services available at Oxford.   

The SDS platform is ideal as a place to store research data for ongoing projects. If you want to collaborate, publish your research, or store it for long-term access and impact, you can host your data collection on our SDS platform.  

An initial consultation will take place between a researcher (and their team) and the SDS service to help us understand the research project and your data management goals. If you would like to find out more or are planning an upcoming project do get in touch with us to discuss further.  

Ideally, a representative of a new research project should approach the SDS service before submitting a grant application. Together, we can explore how you would like to use the SDS platform to host your data collection, and what budget you will be able to include in your grant application to help support the service’s costs (see new project costs, below). 

Once the research project team is ready to go, the SDS service team will help to provide initial set-up on the SDS platform. This will include: 

  • creating your “collection” on the SDS platform 
  • defining your project structure  
  • defining your custom metadata and file tagging process 
  • training your team in how to use the service to upload your information 

After this initial set-up and training period, we expect that most research project teams should be fairly self-sufficient in using the platform. The SDS service team can support requests for general troubleshooting. More complex updates to the SDS platform or technical assistance may require additional staff time and funding. 

We do not believe that the amount we will ask you to include in your research grant budget to be excessive to use this service. We ask only that hosting costs are covered for your project during the period of your grant funding, after which the SDS service commits to maintain your research data. An upfront payment for limited number of years of storage on the platform effectively buys a lifetime of security, and tenure on a sustainability platform operated by the University. 

The University’s X5 system can be used to estimate the budget required from a research grant to cover the cost of using the SDS platform. Some example costs for research projects can be seen below, however, we strongly advise you to discuss your requirements with the SDS service team or Humanities Research Facilitation team to get an accurate quote for your research project.  


One-off setup fee

Project complexity Staff days to implement Setup fee
Small/simple 2 £561.22 
Standard/medium 5 £1,403.05 
Large/custom build Available on request   Available on request  

Hosting costs per year of project funding  

Project data requirements   Annual hosting fee*
Very small (to 250GB)   £164.21  
Small (0.25-0.5TB)   £328.42  
Medium (0.5-1TB)   £656.84  
Large (1-5TB)   £1,642.10


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

The SDS service team are also available for additional dedicated consultancy / support for lengthier involvements, which will come at a cost to the Research Project at a staff day rate charge of £280.61 (subject to capacity / availability). 

For more advanced custom development on the SDS platform, or assistance with bulk migration of records, the SDS service team are also able to facilitate the hiring of a Figshare consultant, at a day rate of between £800 - £1000 (+VAT), price dependant on the level of expertise required.