Supporting E-Journal Archiving: Research Libraries

In June 2016, EDINA and the ISSN IC hosted a workshop as part of the Keepers Extra project. The event brought together representatives of the archiving agencies and libraries reporting into the Keepers Registry and other key stakeholder such as Research Libraries UK, Coalition for Networked Information and Digital Preservation Coalition, to explore potential international action to increase the preservation coverage of e-serials. Following the face to face discussions, the Keeper agencies were invited to submit prioritised suggestions for actions that would support e-journal archiving. This is one of a series of posts outlining key actions that would support long-term stable access to serial content. 


Research libraries have traditionally been the collectors and stewards of journals, books and other materials. Their librarians are expert in identifying, selecting, and archiving content of value to the scholarly community and have strong connections with researchers, who rely on stable access to scholarship and publish their work in journals. It is important that such librarians contribute towards shaping the future of the scholarly record, bringing their knowledge, expertise and skills to bear on the challenges that face libraries and archiving agencies alike. Research libraries should promote the value of this work and support their librarians to join the international community engaged in journal archiving. They should view archiving and preservation agencies not only as a form of insurance but also as partners in a shared project.

As a first step, research libraries could commit to supporting the work of e-journal archiving by joining a third party preservation service such as CLOCKSS or Portico, and/or by supporting local or regional hosting initiatives. They can identify clear digital preservation roles and responsibilities within their organization, and embed consideration of long-term access issues in the process of licensing content.

Secondly, research libraries can collaborate with other libraries and archiving agencies to identify and prioritise serials for preservation. For archiving agencies, content identification is a resource-intensive task, especially when it comes to the ‘long tail’ of smaller publishers. Librarians have a broad view of what is being published where, and can greatly assist archives by identifying valuable content and providing this information to archiving agencies.

Thirdly, libraries can advocate for digital archiving and preservation among publishing, research and funding communities. They can raise preservation as a concern during their negotiations with publishers, enquiring about digital preservation arrangements, and making third party hosting a condition of subscription. They can suggest researchers take archival status into account when choosing where they will publish their work.

They can also encourage library associations to promote awareness and understanding of digital preservation through events, publications and training. Only when research librarians feel confident in their knowledge of archiving and preservation are they able to ‘effectively demand archival deposit by publishers’, and ‘educate authors and readers to consider these archiving provisions in evaluating the suitability of journals as durable records of scholarship.’ (Waters, 2005: 3)


Learn how publishers can support e-journal archiving

Learn how national libraries can support e-journal archiving


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