What the Sustainable Digital Scholarship Service Offers

The Sustainable Digital Scholarship (SDS) service aims to help researchers 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 SDS Figshare platform, and get started with training, project set-up or migration, and ongoing technical development.

Individual researchers

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

Access requests are made on a ‘Self Service’ basis. You will create your account and access Figshare via your University of Oxford Single Sign On (SSO). Access the Oxford University Figshare portal to create your account now. 

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

The service provides a free 15GB storage allowance for your Figshare account. Users can submit a request for additional storage within the Figshare admin console, if you are close to exceeding your initial 15GB allowance. We reserve the right in the future to introduce a charge for excessive storage demands. This would be communicated in advance and no charge would be requested without your permission.    

For further information about Figshare and how you can use it for your research, there is extensive information on the Figshare Knowledgebase.  

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

If you require any further support or information you can contact the Sustainable Digital Scholarship Service Team, who would be more than happy to support with any queries you have. Alternatively, your local Humanities Faculty IT Support Team may also be able to provide support. 

Pre-existing Research Projects / Data Collections 

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

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

Figshare 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 your 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. As of February 2021, Figshare will not be suitable and be able to replicate interactions & 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 is functionality is improving, and we are actively working with Figshare to influence their product development roadmap

Migrating a pre-existing collection of research data to the Figshare platform is generally a managed service provided by the Sustainable Digital Scholarship team. 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 Figshare 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 Figshare 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 Figshare will not be suitable for you. The Research Data Oxford webpages also provide useful information on the other data support services available at Oxford.   

New Digital Research Projects or Data Collections

The Sustainable Digital Scholarship 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 Figshare platform.  

An initial consultation will take place between a researcher (and their team) and the Sustainable Digital Scholarship service Team 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 Sustainable Digital Scholarship Service Team before submitting a grant application. Together, we can explore how you would like to use the Figshare 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 are ready to go, the Sustainable Digital Scholarship Service Team will help to provide initial set-up on the Figshare platform. This will include: 

  • creating your “collection” on the Figshare 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 Sustainable Digital Scholarship team can support requests for general troubleshooting. More complex updates to the SDS platform or technical assistance may require additional staff time and funding. 

The University’s X5 system can be used to estimating budget required from a research grant to cover the cost of using Figshare. However, we strongly advise you to discuss your requirements with the Sustainable Digital Scholarship Service Team or Humanities Research Facilitation Team.  

We do not believe that the amount we will ask you to include into 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 Sustainable Digital Scholarship 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. 

One-off setup fee

Project complexity Staff days to implement Setup fee
Small/simple 2 £547.40  
Standard/medium 5 £1368.50  
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 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.  

The Sustainable Digital Scholarship 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 £270.54 (subject to capacity / availability). 

For more advance custom development on the Figshare platform, or assistance with bulk migration of records, the Sustainable Digital Scholarship Service Team are also able to facilitate the hiring of Figshare Consultants, at a day rate of between £800 - £1000 (+VAT), price dependant on level of expertise required.