Open Research Data Online (ORDO) policy

Open Research Data Online (ORDO) policy



ORDO is the Open University’s research data archive. Two types of material may be stored in the archive; archival research data and live research data.

Archival research data:

  • are selected for long term storage on the basis of their continuing value to the wider community
  • are made openly available, except where ethical, legal, commercial or other legitimate restrictions may apply
  • may not be overwritten or changed, but may be reversioned, and newer versions be given separate identifiers.

Live research data:

  • are not shared openly, but may be shared with invited collaborators
  • are subject to change
  • may not have long term value, and may be deleted.

This policy is divided into 2 sections to reflect these types of data


2.Archival data

Collection Policy

  1. ORDO is an institutional research data repository.
  2. Content deposited in ORDO is restricted to:
    1. Data underpinning research publications which meet the Frascati definition of research; where the research has been undertaken at the Open University.
    2. Research data metadata, where the research dataset has been stored in another repository, or where the research data is physical.
    3. Research data created during the active phase of research life cycle; such data will be subject to change, is not publicly available. Live research data may be retained within ORDO for 12 months after the research is complete, after which time the depositor will be asked to relocate the data.
    4. Other outputs from research activities that support the mission of The Open University (see ORDO/ORO Content Guidance).


Submission Policy

  1. Items may only be deposited by academic staff or doctoral students of the institution, or their delegated agents.
  2. By depositing in ORDO, depositors are agreeing to the preservation and distribution of the metadata and full text content of their research data files. Depositors grant ORDO the right to preserve and distribute the deposited content. Full details of the terms and conditions are provided in the depositor agreement. 
  3. Depositors take responsibility for ensuring that deposited content complies with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018, and other legal requirements outlined in the depositor agreement.  
  4. Currently research staff and OU students may store up to 5 GB of research data for free. Users may request additional storage space within ORDO, which will generate a request to the system administrator. There may be a charge for additional storage.
  5. Where research datasets contain physical research data the dataset metadata record should contain sufficient information for the end user to be able to consult the physical data, subject to legal, ethical or commercial constraints.  
  6. Before items are made available publicly, a member of library staff will:
    1. Verify the data is within the scope of ORDO
    2. Check the metadata.  Amendments may be made to the metadata by the archive administrator to correct errors, ensure consistency, or to add administrative metadata.
  7. Files in a dataset may be placed under embargo for a specified period, so that the metadata records and file names are visible, but the file contents cannot be viewed or downloaded. Files should not be embargoed for more than 12 months from the date of deposit, and the embargo should last no longer than the date of publication of any research findings that reference the dataset, unless there is good reason for withholding access to data. Reasons might include compliance with commercial sponsorship agreements, protection of intellectual property rights or patent registration.


Metadata Policy

  1. Deposited content must be accompanied by sufficient metadata describing its content, provenance and formats in order to support its preservation and dissemination.
  2. Anyone may access the metadata.
  3. The metadata may be re-used in any medium without prior permission for not-for-profit purposes provided the OAI Identifier or a link to the original metadata record is given.
  4. Metadata Records will be retained indefinitely. If a Dataset or Collection is withdrawn from the Archive, the associated Metadata Record will not be deleted, but will be annotated to record the change in status of the Dataset or Collection and the reason for this change.


Use Policy

  1. All data deposited on ORDO will be assigned a CC-BY licence as a default. Alternative licences will be explicitly identified on individual items as required by funders or legal, ethical or commercial considerations.

Preservation Policy

  1. ORDO's Preservation Policy aligns to the Open University Digital Preservation Policy (internal OU document)
  2. Items will be retained for as long as research funders require, or as long as deemed to be of value to the wider community. Where they have not been reviewed already, all stored items will be reviewed after ten years to assess their continued value to the wider community. Where Faculties or Heads of Units require continued storage of unused datasets, they may be required to pay for continued storage at agreed rates.
  3. ORDO will try to ensure continued readability and accessibility. Where necessary and practical, items in obsolete file formats will be migrated to newer formats. The original files will be retained.
  4. ORDO is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) which ensures a high level of security and stability for research data. Amazon S3 stores multiple, redundant copies of information and utilises an end-to-end approach to secure and harden its infrastructure, including physical, operational, and software measures. Amazon S3 provides authentication mechanisms to ensure that data is kept secure from unauthorised access.
  5. If necessary, an updated version of an item may be deposited; the earlier version will remain available for public view.
  6. Prior to any scheduled disposal and destruction, the University will ensure:
  • The review of the stored data by the depositor, appropriate Faculty or Head of Unit.
  • Where they are found to be suitable for destruction and disposal, the destruction shall be managed in line with regulatory and contractual obligations, and according to the sensitivity of the data in question.
  • A record of the deletion will be stored with the metadata record, including the reasons for the destruction.


Takedown Policy

  1. The Open University takes reasonable steps to ensure that any dataset and associated metadata are an accurate and authentic output of research activity undertaken at the University, that the Dataset does not breach requirements of the funding organisation, any law, and that it does not violate or infringe any copyright, trademark, patent or intellectual property right whatsoever of any person(s) or organisation.
  2. Materials deposited in the Archive are made available on the terms specified by the Depositor of the Dataset, with the implied permission of all rights-holders, and will not be withdrawn from the Archive except in keeping with Archive policy or on receipt of a valid and proven complaint. Acceptable grounds for complaint include the following:
  • Violation of intellectual property rights (including copyright);
  • Legislative breach
  • Matters of national security
  • Falsification of data or failure to follow ethical guidelines


Complaint procedure

  1. Anyone wishing to complain on the grounds above should email with the following information:
  • Name and contact details of complainant
  • A reference to the dataset in question, including DOI for the relevant metadata record
  • Details of the complaint, with proof or evidence
  1. On receipt of the complaint, ORDO support team will:
  • Make an initial judgement of the validity of the complaint
  • Withdraw the item from public view
  • Acknowledge receipt of the complaint within 4 working days.


The complaint will then be reviewed by the ORDO Support team and other relevant University departments as necessary. If the grounds of the complaint are considered proven or plausible, the material will be permanently withdrawn from ORDO.

Once a deposited work has been removed, metadata for the deposited content will always remain to avoid loss of historical record together with a note explaining the reasons for withdrawal. The metadata of withdrawn items will not be searchable.


3. Live data

Permitted users

Current Open University staff and doctoral students may use the service. They may create collaborative project workspace within ORDO, then invite external collaborators to share that workspace. University staff and students remain responsible for the conduct of external collaborators they have invited to share project workspace.

Pricing policy

Currently research staff and OU students may store up to 50 GB of research data for free. Users may request additional storage space within ORDO once logged in, which will generate a request to the system administrator.

Research Data Management Principles

ORDO users are expected to be guided by OU research data management policy.  

Data Protection Act

Where personal data (as defined by the Data Protection Act 2018) are processed for research purposes in the course of a researcher’s employment or doctoral student’s registration at the Open University, the University will be the data controller under the Act for those data. This will include where personal data are stored in ORDO.

Management of risk

However, in all circumstances, the individual researcher will be personally responsible to the University for ensuring the proper administration and management of any data they have stored in ORDO. This will include the individual researcher providing such information as is reasonably required by external funders and the University to make an adequate risk assessment for data storage, and to meet the University’s legal and ethical obligations.

Duration of storage

Live research data may be stored, subject to University storage systems’ capacity, up to a maximum of 5 years after a research project has ended. Depositors will be required to review deposited data within one year after a project has ended, to decide which data may be destroyed, which need further curation to maintain value. Remaining research data may be stored for a maximum of five years; after which time depositors will be required to review the data a second time, to either destroy or archive remaining data.  

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Statement

Policies are inclusive of all Open University staff and Open University postgraduate research students, regardless of age, care experience, caring status or dependency, civil status, disability, family status, gender, gender expression, gender assignment, gender reassignment, marital status, marriage and civil partnership, membership of the Traveller community, political opinion, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, socio-economic background or trades unions membership status.


Document history

Version Number 2. Approved by Research Committee 10th November 2021. Effective from 1st December 2021. Date for review November 2024.

Contact us

Library Research Support team