UKRDDS Phase 3 – beta update


Research Data Discovery Service development work on hold as priority is to deliver the Research Data Shared Service.

Phase 3 Summary

It’s been some time since there’s been an update from the Research Data Discovery Service project and I will explain why in this post. First of all I’ll summarise phase 3 work in 2017.

The most recent webinar for phase 3 of the project was held earlier this year, in April. The aims of the webinar were to welcome new participants, provide an update of the project, introduce the new beta version (, highlight progress and review requirements from phase 2 and 3. You can read the report from this webinar on the project blog.

From May to June, development work for phase 3 continued in a series of sprints, each lasting two weeks. The beta version of the Discovery Service was updated every fortnight and a list of changes was sent to the project mailing list and posted on this blog. During this time our developer, Mark, was busy creating a custom harvest extension and working on harvesting participants’ metadata.

Latest Update

The most recent of our fortnightly sprint posts concluded with the following update:

“Mark is moving to the Research Data Shared Service project for a few weeks so the current development work in RDDS is on hold. The rest of the team will be using the time to focus on testing and ensuring the current set of requirements are updated and prioritised for the next phase of development. Unfortunately, there won’t be any technical updates during this time. The two weekly cycle of technical updates will restart once Mark is back on the project.”

Unfortunately for the Discovery Service, those “few weeks” were extended, became permanent and Mark has remained on the Shared Service (RDSS) project since July. This was due to the Shared Service becoming the priority for development work to ensure it delivers. Although this is good for the Shared Service you can imagine that it’s had a huge impact on the Discovery Service. The non-technical work mentioned in the above quote has been completed but without a developer further progress cannot be made. In short, with the prioritisation of the Shared Service the Discovery Service project has been put on hold.

I have delayed making this announcement as I have been working on revising the plan and attempting to get a developer on the project to complete the custom harvester and re-harvest from as many participants as possible. Unfortunately, this has not been possible and the project remains on hold.

For those participants who are also piloting the Shared Service and for anyone who’s seen a presentation from the Shared Service team, you might be aware that the Discovery Service will be a component of the Shared Service. This remains the case and current market research work, which will go into the business case, has looked at running the Discovery Service as such a component. At some point integration with the Shared Service will be implemented.


I would like to thank all the participants who have been involved in the project. In particular, I would like to thank everyone who has supported the project, helped identify requirements, provided metadata, tested harvested metadata, provided feedback and engaged with the team. The project wouldn’t have achieved anything without your contribution.

As a reminder, here’s a list of participants:

Phase 2 participants – 9 HEIs (University of Hull, University of St Andrews, University of Glasgow, Oxford Brookes University, University of Edinburgh, University of Oxford, University of Southampton, University of Leeds and University of Lincoln) and 7 Data Centres (Archaeology Data Service, Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre, ISIS/ICAT – STFC, UK Data Service, Visual Arts Data Service, UK Energy Research Centre and Natural Environment Research Council).

Phase 2 volunteers – 5 HEIs (University of Sheffield, University of Bath, University of Nottingham, Lancaster University and University of Bristol).

Phase 3 volunteers (in addition to all the above 14 HEIs and 7 Data Centres) 11 HEIs – (Sheffield Hallam, Royal College of Art, King’s College London, University of Cambridge, University of Stirling, Aston University, Cranfield University, University of Sussex, University of Warwick, University of Liverpool, Open University).

That’s 32 organisations contributing to the project, in addition to other organisations who have been involved in some way, such as the Natural History Museum, figshare, British Library, Thomson Reuters, Australian National Data Service and the Digital Curation Centre.

To have so many organisations involved shows the interest and importance of a Research Data Discovery Service.


If the situation changes and development work can continue on the Discovery Service I will announce it via this blog and the project mailing list. However, for now, the project is on hold until approximately the middle of 2018.

If anyone has any questions or feedback on the above please do not hesitate to contact me at

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