ORDS background, projects, and funding

The ORDS is the product of several projects funded from different sources between 2010 and 2016. We are very grateful to our funders and to all of the people that have been involved in the various stages of development.

The Projects

Supporting Data Management in the Humanities (Sudamih) 2010-2011
Funded by JISC as part of the Managing Research Data Programme, Sudamih developed and trialled data management training for researchers in the humanities and works with representatives of the Oxford Roman Economy Project to develop a prototype 'Database-as-a-Service' (DaaS), which would later evolve into the ORDS.

Virtual Infrastructure with Database as a Service (VIDaaS) 2011-2012
The VIDaaS Project was funded by HEFCE with money from the University Modernisation Fund with the dual purpose of developing a virtualised cloud infrastructure upon which cloud services that could improve research efficiency could be delivered, and funding the continued development of the DaaS.

Although the development team involved in the VIDaaS project took the DaaS software to the point at which it could potentially be delivered as a service, the software depended upon JBoss5 as an application platform, which was no longer being supported. With unpatched security flaws becoming common knowledge we had to untangle the DaaS from its application platform, which turned out to be a bigger task than we had initially imagined, although it did give us the opportunity to reconsider how various aspects of the software should be implemented.

The ORDS Maturity Project 2012-2014
The ORDS Maturity Project was a University of Oxford-funded project to redevelop the DaaS software and bring the Online Research Database Service up to the point at which it could go live to researchers at the University of Oxford. A new development team rebuilt the software almost from scratch to be far less dependent on third-party resources.

The ORDS Uptake Project 2012-2013
In parallel with the internally-funded Maturity Project, HEFCE/Jisc awarded a further tranche of funding from the University Modernisation Fund to cover the expense of engaging a range of researchers to act as 'early adopters' of the ORDS, and incentivizing uptake by researchers more broadly. This enabled us to employ a business analyst to better differentiate the service and understand what we needed to prioritize to meet the requirements of our initial users, and to organise testing workshops with researchers from Oxford and beyond.

The ORDS Early Life Support Project 2014-2015
The Early Life Suport Project ran for the first 12 months of the operation of the ORDS as a live service. The Project promoted the service, developed training and support, and established a user group and mechanisms by which users could shape ongoing developments. It was also intended to oversee the transition of the underlying DaaS software from an essentially restricted code-base to a proper open-source project (in practice, much of this work was ultimately done under the auspices of the Open-Sourcing Project). A review of the ORDS business model was conducted towards the end of the project.

The ORDS Open-Sourcing Project 2015-2016
The Open-Sourcing Project was a Jisc-funded project to modularize the Oxford Database-as-a-Service (DaaS) software that underpins the ORDS and release it under an open-source licence.

The People

The development of the ORDS has benefited from the input and expertise of numerous people, from those who have been active members of the various project teams, to members of the project boards, to the various researchers whom we have interviewed, surveyed, and persuaded to test the system.

Members of the project teams
  • Asif Akram
  • Caroline Beadle
  • Penny Charman
  • Christian Fernau
  • Charlie Green
  • Dominic Hargreaves
  • Kristian Kocher
  • Mark Johnson
  • David Paine
  • Meriel Patrick
  • Rachel Slade
  • James A J Wilson
Project directors and advisors
  • David Baranyi
  • Start Basten
  • Rachel Bruce
  • Miko Flohr
  • Mike Fraser
  • Simon Hodson
  • Wolfram Horstmann
  • Jon Hutchings
  • John Ireland
  • Paul Jeffreys
  • Henry Merrivale
  • Peter Millican
  • John Milner
  • Tim Parkinson
  • Sebastian Rahtz
  • Andy Robertson
  • David Shepherd