Title of Service: Research Support

Status of Document: This document presents the general responsibilities of IT Services in providing support for the advanced use of ICT in research to the University of Oxford.

1. Introduction

1.1 IT Services offers support in the use of advanced ICT in research processes, to assist various stages of the research process including:

  • project planning;
  • writing research grant applications;
  • resource discovery and access management;
  • data creation, use and analysis;
  • collaboration and communication;
  • research data publication, curation and preservation.

1.2 IT Services seeks to develop the digital research infrastructure, to enhance the distributed network, services, tools, and support operations which facilitate the research community’s discovery of, and access to research resources, analysis tools, and advanced communication or collaboration technologies. A more effective infrastructure will lower the barriers to embarking on research computing, and make new forms of research possible.

1.3 One of the means by which IT Services supports research is through the Research Support Team which provides support and consultancy services for research activities. The Research Support Team provides a contact point and centre of expertise in research computing and funding for digital research projects.

1.4 IT Services will lead or collaborate on projects that pilot digital technologies on behalf of the University, in particular to contribute to the development of virtual research environments, and the provision of ICT services relevant to research across the academic divisions. Responses to funding opportunities are primarily driven by the strategic ICT requirements of the University.

1.5 The researchsupport@it.ox.ac.uk email address and ticketing system act as a single initial point of contact, information and as a gateway to the numerous services and activities across the sections of IT Services which support research.

2. Summary of IT Servicesresponsibilities

Summary of services

2.1 The service operates 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Monday to Friday excluding University holidays.

2.2 Email queries sent to researchsupport@it.ox.ac.uk will usually receive an initial response within one working day. An initial consultancy meeting will be offered free of charge to members of the University if this is requested and is necessary. Requests for detailed advice or consultancy will be responded to on a reasonable efforts basis.

2.3 Through its various activities IT Services is able to respond to queries on the use of advanced ICT in research, or refer to other known sources of expertise as appropriate. Current areas of expertise include:

  • developing IT aspects of funding proposals;
  • management of IT-related aspects of research projects;
  • assistance with the recruitment of project staff with necessary IT skills;
  • requirements gathering;
  • open standards for interoperability of data, tools and services;
  • web design and website development;
  • database design and development;
  • development, deployment and commercialisation of open source software;
  • access management and authorization technologies;
  • XML document encoding and processing;
  • computing in the humanities;
  • evaluation of digital scholarly resources;
  • curation and preservation of digital resources.

Representation

2.4 Members of IT Services represent the University on local, national and international bodies, and networks. They collaborate in the sharing and development of expertise, and promote Oxford's research in numerous forums. They raise awareness about research technologies within IT Services and the wider University.

2.5 IT Services collaborates with the Oxford e-Research Centre (OeRC) through membership of the OeRC Directorate and an IT Services-OeRC liaison role. Similarly IT services participates in the Digital Humanities @ Oxford network of activities. IT Services also develops partnerships to support research with other bodies locally and beyond.

Education and training

2.6 Training in the use of ICT for research is offered through IT Services' IT Learning Programme and individual project activities. Where the necessary expertise exists, IT Services can offer bespoke training for research projects on a charged basis. Requests for research-related training courses may be submited to the IT Learning Programme directly or via courses@it.ox.ac.uk.

2.7 IT Services contributes to research specific training by organizing an annual Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School, and will collaborate with initiatives in other disciplines to develop training activities.

3. Summary of client’s responsibilities

3.1 Users of IT Services are expected to abide by the University IT Regulations and to comply with any relevant legislation.

3.2 Users of IT Services are requested to share their knowledge and expertise and experiences to facilitate the building of capacity and shared infrastructure in the University, where this is relevant, and in so far as is reasonable.

3.3 Users of IT Services are requested to make contact for the purposes of obtaining advice and support at the earliest possible opportunity ahead of deadlines, in order to allow sufficient time for adequate planning of projects and funding applications.

3.4 Users of IT Services are requested to contact relevant local IT support, administrative, and research facilitation staff in their department, college or other unit, in order to ensure that local procedures are followed and that all stakeholders are informed. This may be necessary, for example, if you plan to make use of local IT resources in your unit as part of your research, or if you plan to make a research grant application.

4. Premium Services

4.1 After free initial advice and a short consultancy session, IT Services may charge for significant effort in planning, carrying out or sustaining research activity as per the current IT Services consultancy rates.

4.2 IT Services, through NSMS, offers a wide range of IT management services for research projects which require from IT Services a level of IT support above the baseline service.

4.3 IT Services welcomes approaches to be a partner in research projects led by University departments. The costing of IT Services participation in any such project must be agreed before any proposal is submitted to a funding body and will be undertaken in accordance with the University's policies on the costing and submission of research grant proposals.