CLOCKSS – a community governed archive

Collaboration between publishers and libraries demonstrates a shared commitment to preserving digital assets while supporting OA.

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Preserving digital assets

The Digital Distributed Community Archive is better known to the world as the CLOCKSS ArchiveBuilt on low-cost, open-source, award-winning LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) technology, the CLOCKSS Archive comprises a network of redundant nodes located at twelve major research libraries, into which e-content is ingested and preserved.

CLOCKSS's decentralised, geographically disparate preservation model ensures that the digital assets of the community will survive intact. This approach to distributed preservation makes CLOCKSS unique in its approach and provides a proven, sustainable methodology to protect and preserve the content. This has been accomplished by deploying twelve archive nodes in major libraries around the world.  CLOCKSS is technologically diverse - able to store any number of content types in a diverse array of redundant locations.

Open access and community governance

CLOCKSS is committed to open access and to community governance for the entire world's benefit. Content no longer available from any publisher (‘triggered content') is available for free. CLOCKSS uniquely assigns this abandoned and orphaned content with a creative commons license to ensure that it remains available, forever. The archive is managed by, and for, its stakeholders, not by a third party. Publishers and librarians have equal say in deciding procedures, priorities, and when to trigger content. We are committed to a transparent community-based governance structure, to be most sustainable in the future as technologies and priorities change. It must be governed by, and represent, the diverse voices of the global open-access scholarship community.

Growth of the CLOCKSS Archive

The past two years have seen significant growth in both the number of publishers placing their content in the CLOCKSS Archive for preservation and the broadening of the base of support. On the publisher side, the number has grown from 33 at the end of 2010 to 116 as of the writing of this article. In many respects, the signing of Brill, a large well-known publisher, in July of 2012 was a key benchmark for CLOCKSS. The 100th publisher level establishes the strength and viability of the CLOCKSS Archive proposition.

For the past year we have been promoting the cause at conferences and book fairs. Publishers see digital preservation as a stewardship commitment, but with the direct benefit of reassuring global customers of the safety of the digital content. With more libraries selecting digital content, there is a steady expansion of the understanding and desire for an independent third party to maintain a ‘protected' set of content in a dark archive. Publishers are also seeing the steady rise in requests and possibly requirements for preservation in their renewal agreements with libraries.

The strength of the growing portfolio of publishers has been noticed by libraries, and the support for the CLOCKSS Archive has broadened in several key areas, including Australia, Italy, the US, Japan, and among a collective of small business schools in Europe under the European Council of Business Education. The number of institutions has more than tripled in the last two years. Work with consortia in various regions has also had the effect of maintaining or lowering the average contribution for support from the libraries.

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