Storing your files

IT Services, the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and Bodleian Libraries provide a number of different services for file storage and sharing.  This is an overview of the different services.

The University defines data to either be Confidential, Internal or Public and different services are appropriate for different classifications. Data may also be live (i.e. you or others wish to edit it where it is) or archive / historical (i.e. you have placed it there to keep but won’t edit that version).  There also needs to be consideration as to who needs access to the data, is it restricted to a small number of people, a larger group within the University or does it need to be made available to people outside the University.


Service Use Share with Additional Cost Suitable for/ available to:
Research File Service (RFS) Edit and store live data Research group No (up to 20TB) Researchers
LabArchives Edit and store live data Supervisor/Groups/External collaborators No Researchers
Oxford Research Archive (ORA) Archive Open to the world No


Sustainable Digital Scholarship (SDS) service Edit and store semi-active data Open to the world No (for self-service use of up to 15GB) Researchers
Open Science Framework (OSF) Edit and store live data Research Group No Researchers
DigiSafe Archive Archive team Yes Archivists and researchers
Replay Archive Students No Teaching staff
Canvas Archive Students No Teaching staff
SharePoint Edit and store live data Large groups in the University and named individuals outside No Staff and research groups
Microsoft Teams Edit and store live data Groups No Staff and research groups
OneDrive for Business Edit and store live data with sync Named individuals No All
Managed Desktops & Devices - Network Drives Edit and store live data Other users of the service Included in service charges Subscribing departments
Private Cloud: Secondary Storage (Scality) Edit and store live data Groups Yes All
Central Backup Service (HFS) Backup only None No Staff and postgraduates


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The Research File Service (RFS) is a University-approved central storage facility for active research data, available to internal research staff across all divisions. RFS is designed for live data storage and provides a reliable, resilient, secure, and scalable service, with the assurance that research data is safely protected and accessible. University of Oxford research staff can currently request between 100GB and 20TB of data for their project free of charge. 

RFS can be accessed via SMB (as a mapped drive) across the University network, or through VPN outside of the university. Currently RFS is suitable for the storage of public and internal data only. 

RFS is free at the point of service for researchers wanting to store up to 20TB of research data. For research projects that require larger volumes of data storage (>20TB) a cost will likely be incurred. We are currently working on the RFS pricing model, and this should be released shortly.

For support and information on how to use the service, see Overview: Research File Service

For further information, see the IT Services - Service catalogue: Research File Service (RFS)

Most researchers who work in labs keep a lab notebook as a formal record of their work. Electronic lab notebooks (ELNs) are a digital alternative to the traditional paper version. University of Oxford has licensed the cloud-based Electronic Lab Notebook solution LabArchives to help record, organise and store research information from Oxford labs.

For support and information on how to use the service, see Overview: LabArchives Electronic Lab Notebook service

For further information, see the IT Services - Service catalogue: Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELN, LabArchives)

ORA (Oxford University Research Archive) is the institutional repository for the University of Oxford. ORA was established in 2007 as a permanent and secure online archive of research materials produced by members of the University of Oxford. 

ORA aims to provide access to the full text of as much of Oxford's academic research as possible. This includes articles, conference papers, theses, research data, working papers, posters and other content types. 

Making materials open access removes barriers that restrict access to research, allowing for free dissemination of full text content, available to anyone with Internet access. ORA promotes and encourages the sharing of the scholarly output produced by the members of the University of Oxford that have been published under open access conditions, whilst additionally supporting University compliance with research funder policy and assessment. 

There is no charge for this service. The ORA (Oxford University Research Archive) is supported by the Bodleian Libraries

For information about the service, see Oxford University Research Archive

The Sustainable Digital Scholarship (SDS) service is designed to address challenges to the sustainability of digital research projects. The SDS platform, provided by Figshare, is an online, open access repository that allows researchers to store, work with, sustain, and share research data. It can be used for collecting and editing live data, and as a way of keeping research data safe for the medium term and making it available to a wider public.

The SDS platform is free to use for all Oxford researchers and accessible using your Oxford SSO credentials, with an initial storage allowance set at 15GB. The platform is also open to new grant-funded projects from across the University: quotations for support and hosting can be provided for inclusion in grant applications.

For more information, see Sustainable Digital Scholarship (SDS) service

The Open Science Framework (OSF) offers a complete platform for managing your research, from planning through to publication. It is now open to members of all divisions and departments across the University, and you can access it using your Oxford Single Sign-On (SSO) credentials.

The Open Science Framework is developed and maintained by the Centre for Open Science, a not for profit company based in the US. It is an open-source research management framework to support open research practices.

OSF connects existing research support services into a research workflow. It also provides discovery tools to help find materials for research and integrate them.

For information about the service, see Open Science Framework (OSF)

Digital Preservation (DigiSafe) is a cloud-based service for long-term secure storage of archives and other infrequently accessed material. Subscribing units get access to a storage area on the Libsafe platform (provided by Libnova) which they can set up and use to fit their needs. Functionality includes uploading, viewing, and managing stored material. Access is for registered users only. 

DigiSafe offers a secure system for long-term preservation of digital objects that is easy to use, flexible, and affordable. The main features of the service are: 

  • Short or long-term archiving (10+ years) 
  • Secure lifecycle from upload to long-term storage  
  • Simple upload/download facility (‘drag-and-drop’) as well as other methods for secure transfer 
  • Easy access to archived files, with built-in viewers for exploring material directly on the platform 
  • Granular access permission settings 
  • Simple workflows for non-archival specialists as well as advanced functions for professional archival use 
  • Scalable and flexible to fit the needs of different departments 

There is an annual subscription charge which includes the use of the platform for your unit and 1 TB of storage. More storage space can be allocated either from the start or as and when needed. See details of the service charges.

For support and information on how to use the service, see Overview: Digital Preservation Service (DigiSafe)

For further information, see the IT Services - Service catalogue: Digital Preservation

Replay Lecture Capture allows students to review an audio-visual presentation of what was presented in a lecture or seminar, and provides an archive and ‘view again’ facility for exam preparation and revision. The system is automated (as opposed to manual), so that a department or lecturer can initiate and manage recordings without the need for any AV personnel to be physically present during the lecture. 

Videos created in other ways may also be uploaded and stored in Replay for teaching purposes.

For support and information on how to use the service, see Welcome to the Replay Service

For further information, see the IT Services - Service catalogue: Lecture capture (Replay)

Canvas is the University of Oxford’s virtual learning environment (VLE) for teaching and learning. The service is accessible to all University members using their single sign-on (SSO) username and password. A cloud-based, software as a service (SaaS) solution from Instructure, Canvas is utilised by students and staff, offering an adaptable and flexible platform allowing academics (supported by administrators and other support staff) to support, explore and extend teaching practices, helping to enhance the student experience. 

Teaching materials may be stored in Canvas, although it is usual to keep a primary copy elsewhere.

Canvas is supported by the Centre for Teaching and Learning

For further information, see the IT Services - Service catalogue: Virtual learning environment (Canvas)

SharePoint Online is designed for content which needs to be shared with a wide group within the University (or named individuals beyond the University).  It provides an environment for publicising content, sharing content more widely than Teams (see below), for final versions of documents and for content retention of live data.  Each SharePoint Site may store up to 1TB of data and there is no charge made. 

For support and information on how to use the service, see Overview: SharePoint

For further information, see the IT Services - Service catalogue: SharePoint Online (SPO)

Microsoft Teams sites are designed for content which is private to a team.  It provides an environment for collaboration, work in progress and draft content.  Each Team may store up to 1TB of data and there is no charge made.

For support and information on how to use the service, see Overview: Microsoft Teams

For further information, see the IT Services - Service catalogue: Collaboration Tools (Teams and Groups)

OneDrive for Business provides a secure storage location for your documents, held in UK data centres. It is an integrated part of University Office365 and fully supported by the University. Being cloud-based, it allows you to store and access your work files from any device. OneDrive for Business is a convenient place for storing files that you are currently working on and that you may want to share with a small number of people before publishing more widely, allowing you to share documents with anyone (internal or external to the University). 

However, you must consider an alternative for long-term storage since OneDrive for Business will only be available whilst you are a member of the University. 

From August 2026, Microsoft only allocates 50GB per A3 licence for storing files in OneDrive.  We therefore recommend that this is not used for non-work files, for storing large quantities of videos, photos or music files or for long term archives of documents. For advice, see OneDrive for Business housekeeping

For support and information on how to use the service, see Overview: OneDrive for Business

For further information, see the IT Services - Service catalogue: OneDrive for Business

Our Managed Desktops & Devices services, Managed Staff Desktops (CONNECT) and Managed Apple devices (Orchard), provide network drives for users of those services, which allow users to store work files either for their own use or for sharing with other users of these services.  Storage is limited. The charge for storage is included in the cost of the service.

For support and information on how to use the services, see Overview: Managed staff PC service and Overview: Managed Mac (Orchard)

For further information, see the IT Services - Service catalogue: Managed Desktops & Devices

IT Services Cloud Services offer a competitive multi-petabyte object-based storage service to departments, academics, and colleges, dual-sited (Oxford, Slough), resilient (HA), using an abstraction layer providing a secure and scalable platform. This service is also available through the small research facility framework. Cost is per GB, month typical usage is in the 50+TB range with some presentations exceeding 700TB which can be presented via CIFS, NFS or S3. This could also be a suitable target for backups (Such as Veeam). 

We support backups but do not provide them. Advanced replication options (eg to/from public clouds or private stores) are available on request at additional cost.

For support and information on how to use the service, see Overview: private cloud service

For further information, see the IT Services - Service catalogue: Private Cloud: Secondary Storage (Scality)

The Central Backup Service provides two separate backup solutions: 

Backup for personal computers and laptops (CrashPlan) provides a simple to use backup solution, using the CrashPlan backup application. This is intended for single-user machines, such as desktops or laptops (not tablets or mobile devices), and backs up to the cloud. 

Backup for servers, shared machines and large data sets (Storage Protect) is built around IBM’s Storage Protect application and provides an on-premise backup of multi-user machines such as file servers, project servers, application servers and virtual infrastructures. 

Note that both services provide a backup of data which exist on the machine from which they are backed up.  If the data are deleted from this machine after being backed up with Storage Protect, then they will be deleted from the Storage Protect server after 90 days.

For support and information on how to use the services, see: Central Backup Service (HFS)The HFS CrashPlan Cloud Backup Service and The HFS on-site Storage Protect backup service

For further information, see the IT Services - Service catalogue: Central Backup Service (HFS)

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