Research File Service (RFS)


Oxford University is celebrated throughout the world for the quality of its research, and to maintain that quality there is an ever-increasing need for researchers to store, access, manage and share the data they are working with, data that is of critical value.  To better support them, the Research File Service (RFS) project will deliver a secure and resilient central storage facility for active research data.  It will be available to all researchers across the University and can be accessed via a user-friendly digital interface.

RFS will enable active collaboration across departments and divisions, as well as externally with the wider research community. It will become the University’s preferred way of sharing research data, and will be fully compliant with University data governance regulations.  

Key benefits

RFS will deliver secure, affordable, scalable storage for active research data and will:

•    Provide an easy-to-use, reliable service
•    Protect active research data
•    Facilitate compliance with GDPR and the University information security policy
•    Enable researchers to collaborate safely within the University and externally
•    Offer a service to all researchers, via a wide variety of devices and platforms. 

    Next steps

    A preferred supplier has been appointed and asked to provide a proof of concept during Michaelmas term, showing exactly how the University’s requirements will be met. Some of the first adopters, recruited by the project team, will be asked to be involved in testing the proof of concept, to ensure it meets with their specific needs and developing the service model going forwards.


    The proof of concept will run during Michaelmas 2019. Provided this is successful, RFS should be ready for use during 2020.

    Your questions answered

    The following answers address the main questions we have been asked. If you would like to know more, please contact the RFS team at 

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    Yes, if you are involved in research. The Research File Service project can deliver benefits to all researchers across the University.  

    RFS will become the University preferred way of sharing active research data. It will keep your data more secure and deliver a resilient storage solution. The key benefits of RFS are listed above.

    The project’s success hinges on building a community of RFS ‘first adopters’ who will use, trial and assess the service in a real-world environment. First adopter feedback will influence the development of RFS to ensure it suits the needs of researchers and departments, helping shape the final product for the University.  

    First adopters will be involved in helping shape the RFS solution by telling us about your needs, how you currently store/share and access your data; and how this compares with the proof of concept. In short, your role is to tell us what you think about the solution we are offering.

    It should not take up much time – a few hours per month during Michaelmas term, and the occasional feedback over the following year.  We will need an initial consultation on your current research data solutions and your requirements for the new solution, some hands-on testing and your feedback on the solution during the proof of concept, along with occasional meetings. 

    We will start engaging with our first adopters by the start of Michaelmas Term 2019. Provided the proof of concept is successful, we would like to keep early adopters on board as we move into live service. 

    We have been consulting on pricing and free-at-point-of-service (FAPOS) offering both externally with other Universities and internally with departments and divisions. The final price per Tb per annum and FAPOS offering will be determined during the proof of concept, but there will be no charge to first adopters during this period, assuming a realistic amount of storage.



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