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Getting started

To run your own RSD instance you can use file provided in the RSD release.


To be able to use file, you need a machine with Docker and Docker compose. In production, you also need a third party authentication service with one or more of the following providers: Microsoft Entra ID (Azure AD), ORCID, SURFconext or Helmholtz AI.

  • Unzip file. It contains:

    • .env.example is an environment example file
    • CITATION.cff contains citation information of RSD software.
    • docker-compose.yml defines all required RSD services and exposes environment variables used by each service
    • nginx.conf basic nginx configuration file.
    • contains instructions
  • Rename or copy .env.example to .env and provide the values in the SECRETS section of .env file. Please do not use special characters in the .env file. For the minimal local setup you should provide values for these variables

  • Start RSD using docker compose
docker compose up

Login using local account

To be able to log in to RSD you need to enable at least one authentication provider. For testing purposes we offer the local account option. To enable it use LOCAL value in RSD_AUTH_PROVIDERS property in .env file.

# consumed by services: frontend (api/fe)
# provide a list of supported OpenID auth providers
# the values should be separated by semicolon (;)
# if env value is not provided default provider is set to be SURFCONEXT
# if you add the value "LOCAL", then local accounts are enables, USE THIS FOR TESTING PURPOSES ONLY

When changing values of environment variables in .env file you need to restart RSD. Use docker compose down followed by docker compose up -d

At this point you should be able to see RSD instance running. You should also be able to log in using Local account by providing any username, for example Tester. In order to be able to make changes to RSD please accept the Terms of Service and the Privacy Statement after loging in.

Login with local account


The local account login option is only for test purposes. Local accounts do not require a password and are therefore not safe.

Log in as RSD administrator

To be able to log in as RSD administrator, the account id of that account needs to be in the database table admin_account first. To do so, connect to the database and execute the following query, changing the value of the UUID:

INSERT INTO admin_account VALUES ('00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000');

A user can see their account ID in their user settings page, which they can find under the My settings option in the profile dropdown menu.

If that user is already logged in, they need to log out and log in again before they can make use of their admin rights.


When you log in to the RSD as administrator, you will see an additional "Administration" option in the profile dropdown menu.

Login as rsd admin

Customizing RSD instance

For customizing and administrating your RSD instance have a look at configuration and administration.

Public RSD instance

If you want to run a RSD on a non-localhost machine you will need SSL certificates. The easiest way is to use Linux with Letsencrypt and a public IP address for that purpose. Please note that you should take measures to protect a public installation against attackers, in particular as long as the authentication has not been set up properly.

You will need git:

sudo apt install git

You will also need Docker with the Compose plugin, see the installation instructions for Docker and Docker Compose.

You can then clone the RSD:

git clone

You can then set your server name in nginx/nginx.conf, let's assume it is


Copy the example config to a .env file

cp .env.example .env

and change, as described above, the values for POSTGRES_PASSWORD, PGRST_JWT_SECRET (with at least 32 characters) and POSTGRES_AUTHENTICATOR_PASSWORD to arbitrary values. Additionally set


Now start the instance with

docker compose up --detach --scale data-generation=0

You can then prepare the SSL certificates for the user cookies

docker compose build --parallel
docker compose exec nginx bash -c 'certbot --nginx -d --agree-tos --register-unsafely-without-email' should now show your installation.

To create an admin user, see these instructions.