One of the questions in our Application Form asks applicants to state: ‘Long-term preservation service(s) where the journal is currently archived’.

It is a sad truth that some online only, open access journals have disappeared offline without any trace, taking published articles with them. When those articles have no permanent identifiers, nor have they been archived with an archival organisation, then they are potentially lost forever.

Long-term deep archiving and digital preservation

Archiving and preservation plays an important role for all journals, particularly if those archives are ‘dark’ archives that have an intention of preserving materials for a very long time. They may have the ability to start serving content when the normal content source stops working. They may apply formal methods of preserving content to ensure minimal or no digital deterioration.

The archiving schemes that we list in the question are all recognised archiving agencies and are listed as such at The Keepers Registry (KR). LOCKSS (or Global LOCKSS Network) is essentially like a digital bookshelf where libraries have perpetual access to content to which they are entitled. CLOCKSS is a not-for-profit, dark archive, that preserves digital scholarly materials for the very long term, through a global and geopolitically distributed network of archive nodes. Portico is a company offering comprehensive archiving and preservation techniques.

We also recognise PubMed Central as a valid archiving option. It has a remit to preserve copies of research content that has been funded by public money. Unlike the previous 3 options, they convert the content they receive into their own format, archive copies and distribute copies to their own local repositories.

Another option is ‘a national library’ and we added this option because many (although not all) national libraries are mandated to receive, via legal deposit, and preserve a copy of anything published in their countries. Although it doesn’t cover all countries, Wikipedia has a good list of such libraries.

What is not a deep archive

So let me quickly cover also what doesn’t count as a valid archiving option:

  • an online hosting platform (e.g. OJS)
  • a 3rd party aggregator (e.g. EBSCO) that you have licensed to reuse or distribute your content
  • a journal’s back issues or older articles made available on its own site (often, confusingly, referred to as the journal’s archives)
  • an institutional repository which often has author preprints and not the final article.

Hopefully this post has add some clarity to our archiving question but, as always, get in touch if you have any questions.

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  1. QUESTION 25: LOCKSS, CLOCKSS, Portico, PMC, National Library, Others

    I wrote already on 2014-07-08 about the topic:

    Global LOCKSS Network: “Authorized readers at participating institutions access content from an institution’s LOCKSS box”. That means it does not serve the general public reader on the Internet. Also: LOCKSS does not support the more than 700 publishers on Beall’s List.

    CLOCKSS does not support the more than 700 publishers on Beall’s List. Beall’s logic is this: “You are on my list, because you are not archived, and I will make sure you will never have a chance to be archived.” Unfortunately, CLOCKSS follows this false logic.

    Only lately Portico offered contracts suitable for Open Access journals with triggered content to be made available open access. Portico does not seem to have principle restrictions for publishers.

    PMC (as the name says) is offering service only in a limited scientific field. At PMC you have to distinguish “Publisher Submitted Manuscript on Behalf of the Author” (not all publishers are allowed to do that) from “Author Manuscripts in PMC”. For the latter, authors need to provide their properly formed NIH grant number. So, this is also not an option to cover content of a whole journal (even if the journal is in the correct scientific field).

    National Library: The legal deposit requirement is limited by national law to one country. One the other side it usually also means that national libraries will not deal with material which is not from their own country. So, if you happen to have your journal in a country that can not support you, it is likely you will have problems finding any other national library to help you. Not all national libraries offer to store data for digital journals. Some are just starting to set something up. Some are harvesting instead of ingesting. If a national library harvests content from your journal, you can not claim to have an archiving agreement in place.

    “Others”: e-Depot at KB – National Library of the Netherlands sounds interesting. The KB would be suitable for many publishers, because it does not limit its activities to publishers from the Netherlands. “KB strives for certification as a ‘trusted repository’ “. This means KB is not yet certified and data is not necessarily safe there. KB was not accepting new publishers into its e-Depot for some time, because the system underwent major renovation. Plans were to get back into business from 2015 onwards. Please check, if KB is now accepting new publishers again.

    DOAJ rules out much of the rest like institutional repositories. But, it is not true that institutional repositories are only dealing with Green OA. The repositories may also publish OA journals from their institution. Repositories should count at DOAJ, if they are certified as a “trusted repository”. Agencies who can certify a repository to be a “trusted repository” are not only The Center for Research Libraries – CRL (, but also others like Data Archiving and Networked Services – DANS (

    Are CLOCKSS and Portico “trusted repositories?

    “The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) found already in 2010 “that Portico’s services and operations basically conform to the requirements for a trusted digital repository.” “Certification Advisory Panel identified a number of issues that Portico will need to address to more fully satisfy the concerns of CRL libraries.” (

    CLOCKSS is only a trusted repository since 2014-07-28 (

    From the above we see how recent many activities are. Everything seems to be still growing to maturity.

    Despite this difficult situation (to my interpretation) “Best Practice” ( demands with Principle 15 that publishers must have an archiving contract signed: “A journal’s plan for electronic backup and preservation of access to the journal content … in the event a journal is no longer published shall be clearly indicated.” DOAJ interprets (e-mail) the “journal’s plan” to be a plan of getting (some day) an archiving contract signed. This interpretation allows journals to be indexed in DOAJ also without being archived (but not getting DOAJ’s seal). Let’s understand DOAJ’s gracious interpretation as a pragmatic way out of the jungle of rules, principles, and demands.

    Archiving is not that easy and getting the rules set up clearly for it is also not that easy.

  2. I totally agree with the idea of considering institutional repositories. The situation mentioned by Dieter, in which repositories may also publish OA journals from their institution, is exactly the one in Universidad Nacional de La Plata (and I presume many others) and UNLP Journals portal I work at. Our central repository, SEDICI, provides a digital preservation service which includes remote deposit (Sword), distributed backups, formats monitoring and files transformation. Although I don’t think the repository holds a trusted repository certification, maybe cases like that one shouldn’t be completely discarded.