Applications: a note about Archiving and Preservation

One of the questions in our Application Form asks: ‘What digital archiving policy does the journal use?’ (Question 25). The words “archive” and “archiving” are used frequently in academic publishing and more often than not refer to very different things so I want to add some clarity to what DOAJ is referring to with this question.

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 When those articles have no permanent article identifiers, nor have they been archived with an archival organisation, then they are potentially lost forever.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 3 deep archiving schemes that we list in Question 25—LOCKSS, CLOCKSS, and Portico—are all recognised archiving agencies and are listed as such at The Keepers Registry (KR). More on the KR in a future post. 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 ‘PMC/Europe PMC/PMC Canada’ (PubMed Central) as a valid archiving option. They have 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.

The final option in Question 25 is ‘a national library’ and we add this option because many (although not all) national libraries have a mandate 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.