Curriculum Vitae – Dr Peter Sefton

Location: Katoomba New South Wales Australia 2780

Phone: +61 (0)404 096 932



Short bio for conferences etc

Peter Sefton is an eResearch expert, specialising in software development, Research Data Management and metadata, currently leading the technology and infrastructure team for the Language Research Data Commons project at the University of Queensland.

From 2015 to 2020 Dr Sefton was the Manager, eResearch Support at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). Before that he was in a similar role at the university of Western Sydney (UWS). Previously he ran the Software Research and development Laboratory at the Australian Digital Futures Institute at the University of Southern Queensland.

Following a PhD in computational linguistics in the mid-nineties he has gained extensive experience in the higher education sector in leading the development of IT and business systems to support both learning and research.

While at USQ, Peter was involved in the development of institutional repository infrastructure in Australia via the federally funded RUBRIC project and was a senior advisor the the CAIRSS repository support service from 2009 to 2011. He oversaw the creation of one of the core pieces of research data management infrastructure to be funded by the Australian National Data Service consulting widely with libraries, IT, research offices and eResearch departments at a variety of institutions in the process. The resulting Open Source research data catalogue application ReDBOX is now being widely deployed at Australian universities.

At UTS and UWS Peter lead the team that implemented the university-wide eResearch infrastructure as well as collaborating widely with research communities at the institution on specific research challenges. His research interests include repositories, digital libraries, and the use of The Web in scholarly communication.

Peter is involved in the eResearch community; he is one of authors and continues as an editor of the increasingly influential Research Object Crate (RO-Crate) standard, and is a member of the program committee for the eResearch Australasia conference

Dr Sefton is available for work on:

  • eResearch and Research Data Management strategy
  • Software architecture and business-analysis for research and higher-education
  • Coding for research data management


I am Innovative, tenacious and creative in coming up with socially workable solutions to hard technical problems. For the last ten years I have worked in senior roles in and around Higher Education and research on systems, policy and change management to support research and learning. I am plugged-in to networks of practitioners, theorists and developers in a broad range of scholarly technologies including institutional repositories, web publishing and research data management. I am an experienced technical communicator and have many articles and conference presentations at

I am also experienced at leading software development. I know how to recruit, mentor, inspire and guide technical staff to produce systems that meet the requirements of stakeholders. I’m also maintaining my technical skills. Recently I have been working with document processing in Node/JavaScript and some PHP, although I still fall back on Python. I have a background in XML and XSLT know my way around the major word processing file formats, and I have worked in both Java and C# (not to mention Lisp).


  • PhD, Linguistics (computational) University of Sydney, 1996

  • Bachelor of Arts (Linguistics), First Class Honours, University of Sydney, 1990

  • Associate Diploma, Outdoor Education, Bendigo College of Advanced Education(BCAE), 1986

Conference & Standards committees

2019-2021 : Co-editor of Research Object Crate (RO-Crate) a specification for creating semantic digital objects for distributing and re-using data.

2017 - 2021 : eResearch Australasia program committee

2017 Open Repositories (track-chair for short papers). I have had a long association with this conference including 3 years as a conference committee member, and as co-convenor of the Developer Challenge from 2010 to 2014.


2020-06 - Continuing: Senior Technical Advisor, School of Languages and Culture, University of Queensland

I am leading the technical development of a platform for the Language Data Commons of Australia Data Partnerships (LDaCA) and the Australian Text Analytics Platform (ATAP). These projects will be part of the Humanities and Social Sciences Research Data Commons and Indigenous Research Capability.

The Data Commons will focus on preservation and discovery of distributed multi-modal language data collections under a variety of governance frameworks. This will include access control that reflects ethical constraints and intellectual property rights, including those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, migrant and Pacific communities.

The platform will provide workbench services to support computational research, starting with code-notebooks with no-code research tools provided in later phases. Research artefacts such as code and derived data will be made available as fully documented research objects that are re-runnable and rigorously described. Metrics to demonstrate the impact of the platform are projected to include usage statistics, data and article citations.

2020-12 - 2021-12: Consultant CS34EOSCMESH, Cottage Labs (UK) for the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC)

Worked with the European Open Science Cloud and national research networks in Europe on the democratisation of FAIR (Findable, Accessible Interoperable and Reusable) data via data description, packaging and publishing services on file synchronization services

2020-12 - 2021-12: Visiting Fellow Fellow School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, University of Technology Sydney

Honorary role: collaborating with UTS researchers on data management and semantic modelling of research data.

2015-02 - 2020-11: Manager eResearch Support UTS (University of Technology Sydney)

Manged a team of nine permanent staff, including the staff of the Data Arena Visualisation facility, as well as additional project staff from time to time:

  1. Developed and implemented a UTS eResearch strategy (2016-2020)

  2. Collaborated with IT and Research portfolios to create the UTS Research Systems Strategy (2020)

  3. Supported sector-leading research data management practice at UTS

  4. Grew researcher capability in eResearch, RDM and reproducible research

  5. Established an integrated operating model & governance for eResearch (including RDM)

2011-11 - 2015-02 Manager, eResearch: University of Western Sydney

Ran the eResearch function at UWS (now Western Sydney University). In this role I established the eResearch team (~ 5 staff depending on project load), oversaw the development of Infrastructure projects for Research Data Management and participated in the NeCTAR Virtual Laboratory Project project Alveo - a repository and set of eResearch services for Human Communications Science (~1.2M AUD).

2011-08 - 2011-11 Technical editor, HTML5 demonstrator projects: JISC

In mid 2011 JISC in the UK called for bids for case-study projects showing how HTML5 can be used in academic materials online, including integrating documents with data and making research outputs machine-readable: contributed case studies and documentation.

2011-03 - 2011-08 Word processing expert, Digital Monograph Technical Landscape study: JISC

Short landscape study looking at the issues surrounding the adoption of e-book reader technology within the scholarly publishing environment to assist with the publishing of scholarly literature, in particular monographs.

2008-01 - 2011-03 Manager, Software Research and Development Laboratory: Australian Digital Futures Institute, University of Southern Queensland

With the management team, established the Australian Digital Futures Institute (ADFI) at the University of Southern Queensland. I built-up a technical team with high-level software development capabilities and established the major centre in Australia for expertise in Institutional Repository technology. Provided strategic advice to the university on matters related to eLearning and eResearch and brought in circa $1M in external funding for 2008-2010.

2009-03 - 2011-03 Senior strategist (Repositories), CAIRSS: University of Southern Queensland

Provided Strategic advice to the CAUL, Australian Institutional Repository Support Service CAIRSS team and community. (Externally funded 0.2 FTE) and Supervised CAIRSS Technical Officer and CAIRSS-ANDS Liaison Officer.

2006 - 2007 Technical Manager, RUBRIC project: University of Southern Queensland

Led the technical team in a project “Regional Universities Building Research Infrastructure Collaboratively”, rolling out repositories to a number of Australian universities, plus one from New Zealand. Developed toolkits for managers and technical staff and established a digital communications infrastructure for the network of partner project managers.

2005 - 2006 Senior Research Technologist in Flexible Learning Systems: Distance and eLearning Centre, University of Southern Queensland

Project development for content management in eLearning. Analysed requirements and re-engineered business processes for a project (The Integrated Content Environment) to replace the existing publishing system.

2004 Programmer: Distance and eLearning Centre University of Southern Queensland

Developed preliminary project material and prototypes for publishing and e-Learning systems. And participated in reviews of the existing publishing system.

2000 - 2004 Director, Applied Knowledge Systems: NextEd Limited

Developed and supported educational technologies for collaborative online learning and Knowledge Management including a scalable content-management and publishing system for educational and general content using XML

2000 - 2001 Consultant to Standards Australia International Document Technologies: Standards Australia International

Continued with strategic input to the projects established over the previous three years (see below).

2000-08 Consultant, web-site redesign: RMIT University

Designed word processor template input, with metadata capture mechanism for the enterprise-wide RMIT content management system based on the SIM (TeraText) database.

1997 - 2000 Associate Director, Document Technologies: Standards Australia International

Developed knowledge management strategy and policy using SGML and XML technologies. Successfully re-engineered the production system for major publications.

1996 - 1997 Document Management Consultant: Standards Australia

Formulated document management and electronic publishing strategy and developed a project proposal for re-engineering publications

1995 - 1996 Publishing Systems Analyst & Technical writer: TAFE NSW

Started as a tech writer documenting TAFE computer labs, established an automated web-publishing service for a large distributed educational organisation.

1994 Language Consultant; language skills training manual: University of Technology, Sydney

Researcher for Effective Communication in the Restructured Workplace (1994, ISBN 1 875940 11 1).

1991 - 1994 Senior Research Assistant, “Dialogue Project”: Departments of Electrical Engineering and Linguistics at the University of Sydney

Worked on a Telecom-funded project looking at speech processing, and developing a natural language interface to directory database.

1992 - 1994 Associate Lecturer: University of Sydney

Functional Grammar and Discourse, Undergraduate linguistics program

1994-02 - 1994-03 Researcher, Multilingual Text Generation Project: University of Sydney

Developing computer systems to generate written language in multiple languages automatically from databases

1993 - 1994 Desktop Publisher: Freelance

Production of technical diagrams for academic publications.

1991-11 1991-12 Professional Officer Telecom Research Laboratories: Telecom Research Laboratories

This position involved implementing specifications from the Dialogue Project (see above), using Lisp.


I maintain an online reference list at