Why Digital Sustainability Matters

Academic research projects face particular challenges to their digital sustainability. 

Funding ends, technologies change or become obsolete, and researchers move on to new projects, leaving behind research that spans many disciplines in Oxford, across the University's academic divisions and its gardens, libraries and museums. Their websites continue to be used, added to, and adapted long after the initial project has ended. This "life's work" provides a vital resource for academic communities around the world, and also contributes to future research projects.   

These data and assets must be:    

  • Live, ready to be continuously updated. Scholars continue to make new findings, which they want to make available and enable collaboration with other researchers.   
  • Open, available to access by researchers from institutions outside Oxford and across the world. In many cases, these are also important cultural heritage collections, used by broad communities with audiences that go well beyond the research environment.   
  • Discoverable, and ready to be queried in many ways. This provides the catalyst for future research projects and opens up new opportunities for collaboration.

How we provide digital sustainability

The SDS Figshare platform offered by the Sustainable Digital Scholarship service is an online open-access research repository, that allows researchers: to deposit their research outputs, ranging from text to images to audio-visual media to code or .XML files (for example, TEI files); to tag them with custom keywords and metadata; to organise them into datasets or collections; to share them with collaborators, researchers, and the general public; and to search across their datasets by keywords and metadata fields. 

The platform, provided by our partner Figshare, enables the sharing of research data and outputs across several academic disciplines. By partnering with the University of Oxford on the Sustainable Digital Scholarship service, the Sustainable Digital Scholarship service are pioneering its use as a repository for Digital Humanities research and beyond, and working to expand the capabilities of the Figshare platform.