Digital Preservation Seeds

by Barbara Sierman

EU Principles for Scholarly publishing

Recently the following report was published by the European Commission: Future of Scholarly Publishing and Scholarly communication: Report of the Expert Group to the European Commission. 2019 DOI 10.2777/836532

The Expert Group was invited to assess the current situation of scholarly publishing in the era of Open Science and got the task to develop a set of principles to support the EU drafting a vision on Open Science  for the next 15 years. Based on these principles the current shortcomings should also be identified.

Since 1945 the scholarly publishing landscape has changed, with the growing importance of commercial publishers and the establishment of the Journal Impact Factor. After a description of the context of scholarly publishing, the key functions in the life cycle are described:registration, certification, dissemination and preservation. In the vision of the authors “researchers and their needs must be put in the heart of scholarly communication of the future.(…)  The knowledge and understanding they create should be treated as public good.” (p. 25)

Ten principles to underpin this vision are described

Although (national) libraries are not amongst the actors mentioned, digital preservation is part of the principle of “Maximising Usability”.  “ A broad, international, network of public institutions would oversee the necessary effective mechanisms for the active stewardship and preservation of all the outputs of research for the long term” (p. 26) raises some questions about the participants in this network but is not further explained however. One of the identified shortcomings related to the Maximising Usability principle is the  limited set of journals that give

full and unambiguous rights to re-use or re-distribute them. With repositories, usage rights for the different versions posted on different sites are often unclear, because they do not have a license specified. Moreover, inconsistencies in formatting restrict the potential for computational re-use of articles, and the lack of semantic context hampers information retrieval.

But I raised my eybrows reading the following sentence:

In the future, these deficiencies may be compounded by the preservation issue: protecting digital content for the long term remains an unsolved problem, and the governance structure needed for such a project remains elusive. (p. 31)

Should we do more outreach to the EU who supported us with millions in over 20 projects in Digital Preservation?

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© 2019 Barbara Sierman

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