Research Data Management

Making your Data do More

Scientific research often revolves around dealing with data. This could be analysing existing data for new insights, tracking down data in publications or online databases, or creating entirely new data sets through lab, clinic and field work. It’s the data that helps you test hypotheses and provides the supporting evidence for conclusions in published papers and theses.

Graphic of various graphs and charts showing different data

Data comes in many forms

Data comes in all different forms from DNA sequences and mass spectrometer readings to interviews with patients, software code and rock samples. Whatever the data, making sure you have good systems in place to manage that data can help ensure that your data is :

Safe – keeping backups and storing data securely can help prevent loss of vital research and avoid running into legal problems when dealing with sensitive data.

Reusable – making sure that data is well documented and in standardised formats can ensure that it continues to be meaningful and reusable by yourself and others.

Shared – Although not all research data can be shared, making data available in online repositories and archives can help speed up scientific research and save money by removing the need to recreate existing data sets and allowing others to analyse data in new and different ways.

Preserved – Archiving data in repositories can ensure that data being generated now can be fully available to the scientists of the future.

Reliable – Data management can improve confidence in the reliability of data and help to demonstrate ethical research practice and research reproducibility.

Citable – Just like a journal article, a dataset can be cited. By sharing and making data sets citable you’ll get credit and recognition for data as another valuable research output in its own right.

Research data management helps you embed sound data management practices into your work. However, getting started can be a bit daunting. Fortunately, the University of Oxford provides you with a whole range of support in this area.

Working together, the Bodleian Libraries, IT Services, Research Services and other groups around the University provide the resources, tools, information and training you need. To help provide guidance to researchers, the University has recently published its latest University of Oxford Research Data Management Policy. This policy is supported by the redeveloped Research Data Oxford (RDO) website which now offers improved access to all the information you need about research data management at the University.

If you’re new to research data management, start here for a gentle and friendly introduction – Or, even quicker, you can watch the one minute introduction to Research Data Management below.

Still got questions? No problem! We have a dedicated team that can answer research data management questions –

Other Bodleian Libraries

Spaces, spaces, where are the spaces?

Since the RSL reopened in October 2023 we have had record numbers of students through our doors. We’re very pleased to have so many people using the library but we’re aware that this busyness has a downside. We’d love to fit everyone into the RSL but we only have so many seats (226 for now). We’re looking into possibilities to get more seating in the library but in the short term we have some suggestions.

Book a group study room

If you are working with friends or colleagues consider booking one of our group study rooms. The group study rooms can be booked up to 10 weeks in advance.

Photograph of Group Study Room 1 showing a desk surrounded by 6 chairs with a screen on the wall.

If you are working alone, you can book one of our individual study carrels by emailing

Avoid peak times

The library tends to get quite busy between 11 and 3pm. You could try coming earlier in the morning, we open at 9am. During term we are open until 10pm so consider an evening session of study.

Photograph of several students in the RSL reading room.

Photograph by John Cairns.

Try one of the other Bodleian Libraries

As wonderful as the RSL is we just can’t fit everyone, but there are 25 other wonderful Bodleian Libraries that you can try. As a member of the University, you have access to all the Bodleian Libraries. A full list is available on the Bodleian Libraries website along with a list of all the different group study rooms available. The list includes information on room size and how to book so check it out.

We have also highlighted some of the Bodleian Libraries sites that are near the RSL so you don’t have to walk too far.

Bodleian Law Library

The Law Library isn’t just for lawyers. Located a few minutes from the RSL in the St Cross Building, the library has four spacious floors of study spaces including individual study carrels and group study rooms which can be booked online. The main entrance to the Law Library is at second floor level via a set of 36 steps, but there is an alternative entrance at the front of the building for those who can’t use stairs. More information on how to access the building is available on the their website. During term the Missing Bean café is open in the St Cross Building.

Photograph of students and desks in the Law Library taken from above. By John Cairns.

photo (c) John Cairns

Social Science Library

Located next door to the Law Library, in the Manor road building, the Social Science Library (SSL) hosts a range of well-lit seating areas. The library is located all on one floor so it is accessible to most people. The SSL also has two bookable group study rooms and ten soundproofed study carrels. The carrels work on a first come, first served basis. There is a café in the Manor Road building also has a café and comfortable seating are on the first floor. During term, the SSL is also open until 10pm.

Photograph of a workspace in the Social Science Library with white desks and bright pink chairs.

photo (c) John Cairns

Taylor Institution Library

For those who prefer a more classical library, the Taylor, established in 1845 is an excellent choice. Enter on St Giles through the majestic columns, to gain access to five floors of library space. The main entrance has ramp access but due to the age of the building some parts of the library are not accessible. More details are available on the website.

Photograph of a student at a desk in the Taylorian Institute reading room.

photo (c) John Cairns

Exterior photograph of the Taylor Institute, Ashmolean Museum.

Image By Philip Halling, CC BY-SA 2.0

Vere Harmsworth Library

Our home away from home. We shared a space with the Vere Harmsworth Library, located in the Rothermere American Institute, for over 3 years. Now that the RSL has moved out there is even more space available. They also have group study rooms that can be booked online and seating areas across multiple floors.

Students sitting at desks in the Vere Harmsworth Library. e Vere

Weston Library

It’s the big building at the end of Broad Street, you can’t miss it. Along with the three main reading rooms there are further sofas and comfortable seating outside the reading rooms. Every floor is accessible by lift or stairs so everyone can use the space. Excellent for those who enjoy silent study. If you need a break from studying you can pop down to the café or check out the excellent exhibitions in Blackwell Hall.

External photograph of the Weston Library by James Brittain.

Image credit: James Brittain.

Photograph of the Weston Library Manuscripts Reading Room by John Cairns.

photo (c) John Cairns

These are just a few of the many sites available across the Bodleian Libraries. Try exploring them all and see which is your favourite.

New Resource – Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Text reads New resource over a range of scientific, computer and book related imagesNew online resource

Exciting news for all those interested in the field of Biology and Experimental Psychology, we have now arranged access to a new online resource, the Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science by Shackelford and Weekes–Shackelford.

What is it?

This comprehensive, twelve volume reference work reflects the interdisciplinary influences on evolutionary psychology and serves as a major resource for its history, scientific contributors and theories.  It offers the full breadth of an area that is the forefront of behavioural thinking and investigation.

Photograph of four different humanoid skulls with annotations.

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY

Who is this for?

This resource will be of interest to Students and researchers in Biology and Experimental Psychology.

How can I access it?

This book is available through SOLO.  To access this off campus use the VPN or sign in to the journal platform with your Single Sign On (SSO).


Oxford Reading Lists Online (ORLO)

ORLO (Oxford Reading Lists Online) logo

  1. Reading Lists:

    Reading lists are collections of materials such as books, chapters, journal articles, and more, recommended by your tutor for your studies. These lists can be distributed in print or electronically through platforms like email, Canvas, or ORLO.

  2. Oxford Reading Lists Online (ORLO):

    ORLO is an online system for accessing reading lists at the University of Oxford. It offers features such as checking the availability of print items in the library, accessing full-text electronic resources using ‘View Online’ buttons, and aiding time efficiency in your studies.

  3. Accessing ORLO:

    You can find your course’s reading list through the ORLO homepage or your course’s Canvas site. If your course isn’t on ORLO, you can contact your Subject Librarian or email for assistance. Note that most ORLO lists are private and require an Oxford Single Sign On (SSO) for access.

    Two students are sitting at a desk reading text books

    photo (c) John Cairns

  4. Tips for Using ORLO:

    • Download and Export: You can download an ORLO list in PDF format with retained links or as a RIS file for citation management.
    • Reading Intentions and Notes: Set private reading intentions to plan your studies and add personal notes to items.
    • Filter and Search: Use filters and the search bar to quickly find specific readings or types of resources.
    • Save Lists: Save lists to your profile for future reference, even after the academic year ends.
    • Report Broken Links: If ‘View Online’ links are broken, you can report them and get notified when they’re fixed (click the three dots on the far right of the reading list item and select ‘Report broken link’).
    • View Other Formats: Check book details and explore alternative editions through SOLO.
    • Access Digitised Content: Some lists include digitized chapters or articles from Bodleian Libraries, accessible through ‘View Online’ buttons.

For more information see the Bodleian Libraries page on Reading Lists.

RSL Portraiture – Abdus Salam

Abdus Salam – Theoretical Physicist Nobel Prize for Physics (1926- 1996) 

Abdus Salam broke many barriers to become the first Muslim Pakistani to win a Nobel Prize for science. He lived in Oxford.

About Abdus Salam:

Further resources:

Find the full list of the pioneering members of the scientific community featured in our portraiture on our previous blog post.

RSL Portraiture – Dame Louise Johnson and Charlotte Trower

Dame Louise Johnson – biophysicist and structural biologist (1940 – 2012)

Louise Johnson is an inspiring female scientist described as one of the pioneering spirits of protein crystallography and structural enzymology, and remembered for her kindness and mentoring.

About Louise Johnson:

 Further resources:

Charlotte Trower – botanical artist (1855-1928)

Charlotte Trower, “a gifted botanical watercolourist”, was known as an amateur botanist. During her time, amateur botany and flower painting were undervalued and not worthy of being part of natural history. Yet, in collaboration with other amateur botanists, her sister Alice and George Claridge Druce, she produced detailed drawings that have contributed to our contemporary knowledge of the flora of the British Isles.

About Charlotte Trower:

About the illustrations:

  • The Oxford Ragwort, 1 May 1907, first illustration produced by Charlotte Trower after she and her sister began their association with G.C.Druce. The original is held in the Sherardian Library of Plant Taxonomy, Bodleian libraries. Shelfmark: Oxford Ragwort MS Sherard 428, f.12.
  • Monkey Orchid 7 June 1907 was produced by Charlotte Trower. The Monkey Orchid was discovered by G.C. Druce. He kept the precise location secret from his collaborators and only revealed the site to the Trower Sisters many years later. The original is held in the Sherardian Library of Plant Taxonomy, Bodleian Libraries. Shelfmark: Monkey Orchid MS Sherard 439, f.27.
  • Search Trower paintings Index (

Find the full list of the pioneering members of the scientific community featured in our portraiture on our previous blog post.

RSL Portraiture – Nikolaas Tinbergen and Oliver Sacks

Nikolaas Tinbergen – ethologist, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1907-1988)

We celebrate Nikolaas Tinbergen for his illustrious contributions in the field of ethology alongside his lifelong battle with depression.

About Nikolaas Tinbergen:

 Further resources:

 Oliver Sacks –neurologist and author (1933-2015) 

Oliver Sacks is one of the few scientists whose work became well-known through his published accounts of neurological case stories, particularly the adaptation of his book ‘Awakenings’ into a film starring famous American actors. He was also a man who lived at a time when he had to hide his homosexuality for fear of imprisonment or chemical castration. We are grateful to his foundation for allowing us to include this eminent Oxford alumnus in our portraiture.

About Oliver Sacks:

 Further resources:

Find the full list of the pioneering members of the scientific community featured in our portraiture on our previous blog post.

RSL Portraiture – Edith Bulbring

Edith Bülbring – pharmacologist and smooth-muscle physiologist (1903-1990)

About Edith Bülbring:

 Further resources:

Find the full list of the pioneering members of the scientific community featured in our portraiture on our previous blog post.

RSL Portraiture – John Radcliffe

John Radcliffe

About John Radcliffe:

Further resources:

  • Cranston, D. (2013). John Radcliffe and his legacy to Oxford. Words by Design.  Available in SOLO
  • Pettis, William. (1715). Some memoirs of the life of John Radcliffe [by W. Pettis.]. (2nd ed.).  Available in SOLO.
  • Nias, J. B. (1918). Dr. John Radcliffe: a sketch of his life with an account of his fellows and Foundations. Clarendon Press. Available in SOLO

Find the full list of the pioneering members of the scientific community featured in our portraiture on our previous blog post.

RSL Portraiture – Acland Map of Oxford

Acland Map of Oxford 1854

Sir Henry Acland was a physician, educator, and Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford. One of his main interests was sanitary and public health matters. In 1854, he published his Memoir on the cholera at Oxford, in the year 1854: with considerations suggested by the epidemic. The map indicates areas of three outbreaks in 1832, 1849, and 1854 in Oxford. Very little is known about the identity of the illustrator apart from the notation that his ‘Memoir was drawn by a Lady,’ reflecting the lack of full recognition of female contributions in science in the 19th century.

More about Henry Acland and the map:

  • Fox, R.  (2014, September 25). Acland, Sir Henry Wentworth, first baronet (1815–1900), physician. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  • Acland, H. W. (Henry W. (1856). Memoir on the cholera at Oxford, in the year 1854: with considerations suggested by the epidemic. J. Churchill. Available in SOLO
  • Acland, H. W. (Henry W. (1855). Map of Oxford, to illustrate Dr. Acland’s Memoir on cholera in Oxford in 1854, : showing the localities in which cholera & choleraic diarrhœa occurred in 1854, and cholera in 1832 & 1849; together with the parts of the town described as unhealthy, by Omerod, Greenhill & Allen, and a writer in the Oxford Herald; the parts remedied since the date of their descriptions; the districts still undrained; the parts of the river still contaminated by sewers, in 1855; and the contour levels.. [Map]. J. Churchill.

Find the full list of the pioneering members of the scientific community featured in our portraiture on our previous blog post.