Research IT projects

Current portfolio

Please note that most IT projects have two phases, an analysis and planning phase and a delivery phase. The timescales given below are for these two phases combined.

MARS is a research award management application providing an overview of research projects, allowing potential issues to be identified earlier. MARS extracts and displays selected data from three source systems: Oracle R12 (financial information), CoreHR (project staff names and FTE), and X5 Research Costing and Pricing (investigator FTE and application pipeline). MARS went live for research administrators in departments in July 2018 and is currently undertaking a feasibility study for PI access, which if successful will be developed into a new IT project.

The aim of the project is to deliver an interface between X5 and Oracle Financials R12 for the purposes of award creation and amendment within R12 using costing & pricing data calculated by X5, replacing the current process which involves manually keying in data into R12 from a spreadsheet output produced from X5. The solution proposed utilises BizTalk to transfer the data to staging tables where the calculations are performed prior to loading into R12.

Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELNs) are web applications designed to support research groups in defining experimental protocols, documenting experiments, and storing datasets (or references to datasets). ELNs may provide additional functionality including support for inventory management, creation of databases, and the ability to define workflows, including sign-off steps for PIs to check experimental design. ELNs may also support publication by enabling researchers to export methods, results and data, and make specific pages within the ELN public.

This project has gone through two phases: (1) interviewing and surveying PIs and Researchers to establish high-level requirements and demand, together with discussing ELN provision with colleagues at Wisconsin, QMUL Barts Cancer Institute, MIT and Edinburgh; (2) evaluating and shortlisting commercial ELN products based on functionality, information security, current reference sites and the criteria identified through Phase 1. The third phase will run until November 2020 and will support the adoption of ELN solutions by research groups through partnering with two third-party ‘cloud’ service providers: LabArchives and ResearchSpace.

This project seeks to provide a large storage service for live research data during the lifetime of an award and after the award has finished but the data still needs to be available for ongoing research. The project will develop and pilot the service for a selection of departments that represent different disciplines before making a decision to roll it out across Oxford.

This project is set to upgrade the University’s repository, the Oxford Research Archive (ORA) with a new software solution in order to provide a secure, long term environment for preservation, access to and re-use of the University’s research outputs.

The current solution (ORA and ORA data) holds over 195,000 research items (including articles, theses and research data) and is growing by around 1,000 items per month. This project will make research more discoverable, improve the submission and reviewer workflow, provide standardised metrics and improve the overall user experience by consolidating workflows and making all interfaces responsive (mobile friendly). This project will also support the University’s goals for Open Access and compliance with REF mandates.

The aim of the Oxford Research Finder project is to build a search and discovery tool to present research activity (publications, projects, interests) across the University. The Oxford Research Finder will be a web-based platform using VIVO, and although it will be built with the intention to be made available externally, this project will deliver an internal tool. The Oxford Research Finder’s data source will be Symplectic Elements.
The key benefit of the Oxford Research Finder is that research activity and Researcher profiles will become much more visible, allowing researchers and Research Facilitators to find with less difficulty (other) researchers across all the departments in the University to build research collaborations and develop bids for funding.

This project seeks to address the priority for the long term protection and preservation of live research data related to digital humanities like research projects. This project will take forward the findings from the DHARMa study (Digital Humanities Archives for Research Materials) delivered in 2014, which highlighted the risk of many research data sets, used internationally are disappearing from the internet, despite their research value, and the financial investment in collecting the data in the first place. To mitigate the risk the project aims to deliver a collection management solution for humanities type research data collections across the divisions of the University of Oxford, that will enable long-term access to the data, including searching/browsing and continuous updating (eg to ‘object’ level) as if it were a living ‘collection’.
The solution will be piloted for 2-3 research projects. The project also aims to provide sustainable long term protection, preservation and data management capabilities.

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