Monday, 30 March 2009

Charity closing, possible loss of 4 OA titles

I note from Gavin Baker's [not Peter Suber's; my mistake- CR] blog entry that the charity ICTHES is closing, and as a result its 4 OA journals, listed may disappear. I have checked the Internet Archive, and in case we should be complacent about that as a system of preservation, found only 1 issue out of 18 issues from 4 titles had actually been gathered there.

The Journals are
I see from Suncat that these titles are variously held by BL, Cambridge, Oxford and NLS, so I guess they are regarded as serious titles.

Since UKSG is now in progress, I wondered if I could challenge UKSG on what it (or we, the community) can and/or should and/or will do about this! Would there be any opportunity in the programme to discuss this? (BTW unfortunately I am not able to come to Torquay, so I'm niggling, and indeed watching the #uksg tweets, from a distance.)

Options for action that I can see include
a) some kind of sponsored crawl by Internet Archive

b) an emergency sponsored crawl by UKWAC or one of its participants (which may of course already have happened),

c) an urgent approach by a group of those participating in LOCKSS for the charity to join the programme (which may be stymied by lack of development effort and time), would only make available to participants, I think

d) Ditto for CLOCKSS, which at least might have the resources to make available publicly on a continuing basis,

e) sponsored ingest into something like Portico; again, only available to participants as I understand it

f) tacitly suggest libraries grab copies of the 18 or so PDFs, or

g) get a group of libraries to offer to host a historical archive of the titles for the charity...

h) appraise the titles as not worth preserving, and consign to the bitbin of history

i) ummm, errr, dither...
PS this blog entry is based on an email sent to the conference organisers and others, unfortunately after the conference has started. I have already had one response, from the BL, suggesting they would discuss with their journals people...


  1. Chris, the post is actually by me (hi!), not Peter; see "posted by" at bottom of the post.

    This is also a question that occurred to me when I saw the news. I've thought for a while that archiving OA journals should be a goal of the library and OA community, maybe via a consortium which would harvest new issues of journals listed in the DOAJ. (We can treat as separate, for these purposes, the question of short-term archiving in case a journal goes under from the question of long-term preservation.) Is there a reason why this approach isn't undertaken? Do people assume that any OA journal worth archiving is already being archived by somebody somewhere? Of course many deposit their full contents into PubMedCentral, etc., which is its own sort of archiving, but only for journals in those disciplines.

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