Advice and best practice

JASPER – preserving open access journals forever

Long-term preservation of research resources is of paramount importance for scholarship. Authors want to ensure their contributions to the scholarly record will be permanent. Scholars must be able to access all of the published research in their fields, both now and long into the future. Journals vanishing from the Internet take with them the research they published, eroding humanity’s accumulated knowledge.

Sadly, we see that published scholarly output is often not preserved properly and is at risk of disappearing1. Preserving content is far more than backing-up your website, or storing a copy on your hard drive or in the Cloud. Proper long-term, digital preservation involves curation: careful attention to ensure the content and associated metadata are safe and secure and are managed so that they remain usable despite changes in file formats and technologies in order to remain accessible. As the name implies, preservation is for the long term: preserved properly, the content should be available in perpetuity. 

This post introduces Project JASPER, a new initiative to preserve open access journals indexed in DOAJ.

There are numerous preservation barriers at present for these publishers that we aim to overcome, and these include: 

  • low awareness among journal owners, editors and publishers about why archiving and preservation are important, and how these differ from back-up and storage.
  • Financial and technical barriers that prevent some journals from taking part in current services. 
  • practical challenges for digital preservation services that currently would need to communicate with thousands of small publishers all with different practices.

We are pledged to eliminate the possibility that these high-value open access resources can so easily disappear. Project JASPER aims to close the gap and safeguard the scholarly record by creating a process to help small journals currently unable to realise archiving. We hope to make it easy to get connected to a service and aim for the process to remove much of the admin and set up by allowing publishers to give their content to us rather than have to negotiate the different options themselves.

We hope that many open access publishers, whose journals are not currently archived, will want to take part and that Project JASPER can help by making it easy for you to work with a range of trusted preservation partners. The criteria for eligibility for Phase One are that:

– your journal is indexed in DOAJ
– it does not charge any fees of any kind
– it is not archived in a preservation service

Please email preservation[@]doaj[.]org to register your interest in being involved or to be kept up-to-date with developments. 

1M. Laakso, M. Matthias, N. Jahn. Open is not forever: A study of vanished open access journals. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, Feb. 2021.

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