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Research Data Shared Service – OR2016

This post is a companion to a poster on the Jisc Research Data Shared Service that John Kaye is presenting for Jisc at the Open Repositories conference this week in Dublin. You can download the poster [PDF] here:

RDSS Poster Open Repositories June 2016

This post provides an overview of the current status of the Jisc Research Data Shared Service Project


The Research Data Shared Service (RDSS) project will develop a beta service that can be taken up by institutions to enable researchers to easily deposit data for publication, discovery, safe storage, long term archiving and preservation. The service will support researchers in sharing and re-using data and will enable increased reproducibility of research. The service will allow institutions to meet their policy requirements around managing research data, whilst exploiting efficiencies and best practice generated by working collectively.

Jisc has created a procurement framework of repository, preservation and reporting system suppliers, as well as developers that will work on integrations and user experience enhancements. Jisc is working in partnership with 12 HEIs and one consortia of small and specialist institutions (CREST), and will develop a service that can be procured, hosted and managed on behalf of the participating institutions.

In the RDSS project  Jisc will:

  • Produce a new system that can be offered as a managed service, relieving burden from institutional IT and procurement staff
  • Collectively develop improved interoperability between the service systems and existing institutional and external systems
  • Produce an end to end system and also enable ‘pick and mix’ options to meet all university needs.
  • Procure research data management (RDM) services and consultancy to support pilot institutions’ RDM requirements and implementation

We will focus on creating an intuitive user experience, providing ease of use for researchers and interoperability between institutional and external research systems.

RDSS Infographic

Research Data Shared Service Goals

The service has the following high level goals: 

  • Research data policy compliance, such as meeting the Engineering and Physical Sciences mandate.
  • Increased sector efficiencies such as: shared procurement, shared use of systems, data re-use opportunities and interoperability opportunities
  • Improving the integrity of research through making data available to reproduce research
  • Addressing Market Gaps: Provide a full integrated end-to-end research data management system, Addressing the digital preservation gap identified by most universities, enhancing user experience and usability
  • Accelerating Research Data Management in institutions
  • Providing a digital object repository that can ingest data and text research outputs, therefore supporting institutions meet Open Access/Research Excellence Framework requirements

Pilot Institutions

 Jisc is collaborating with the following pilot institutions to develop the service. The pilots went through a selection process late last year to create a ‘balanced portfolio’ of institutions of different sizes, specialisms, research intensity and current use of research systems

Cardiff University

CREST – Consortium for Research Excellence, Support and Training

Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine

Plymouth University

Middlesex University

Royal College of Music

St George’s Hospital Medical School

University of Cambridge

University of Lancaster

University of Lincoln

University of St Andrews

University of Surrey

University of York

Pilots’ Minimum Viable Products

With the ‘balanced portfolio’ of unique institutions comes a diverse set of requirements and minimum viable products:

  • “Easy to use and cost effective archiving, ingest, preservation, repository, reporting and discovery supported that can handle sensitive data”
  • “Robust data storage that has growth ability for active and archive data”
  • “Standard metadata profile – international for interoperability”
  • “Integration with all main CRIS systems”
  • “Meets REF and funder deposit requirements (supports deposit of REF data output types)”
  • …..and many more!

 Supplier Framework

Jisc has created a supplier framework to enable us to work with system suppliers and developers to create the service. Suppliers will be contracted from each of these lots based on the requirements of the pilot

  • Lot 4 – Research Information and Administration Systems Integrations Suppliers

The project will also use existing Jisc Cloud agreements for data storage and archiving

Supporting Activities

The extensive technical work required in this project needs to be underpinned by supporting activities that will gather requirements, guide the development and explore business models and future sustainability.

  • Technical Architect
    • To provide expert technical advice to the project on the technical architecture of the service. This includes an assessment of institutional goals, requirements and technical capability, the specification of interfaces for development as well as producing the development path for the service.
  • Data Asset Framework/Preservation Audit
    • To provide the consultation phase for stakeholders in the project, through surveys and focus groups with researchers and support staff. This is not focused on the final technology solution, for example it will carry out an audit of datasets, legal and compliance framework, financial and strategic commitment. A preservation audit will assess the types of data to be ingested, the support of current tools and recommendations for future development.
  • Metadata and Interoperability
    • The creation of a discipline neutral metadata schema, tested against researcher use cases through focus groups. An examination of existing metadata specifications, links to disciplinary profiles and advice on identifier systems and interoperability.
  • Business case support (Market research, costing and modelling)
    • To gather current costs as a baseline,evaluate information on the demand for a service and to test proposed models for the business case to proceed to a production service.

Project timeline

The project has gone through an extensive requirements gathering phase and is just about to start contracting for alpha development. A high level timeline can be seen below

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 11.58.20

Regular project updates will be posted to this blog and practical project outputs will be shared on the Research Data Network Website.

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