Institutional Repositories, Long Term Preservation and the changing nature of Scholarly Publications

Paul Doorenbosch, Barbara Sierman


In Europe over 2.5 million publications of universities and research institutions are stored in institutional repositories. Although institutional repositories make these publications accessible over time, a repository does not have the task to preserve the content for the long term. Some countries have developed an infrastructure dedicated to sustainability. The Netherlands is one of those countries. The Dutch situation could be regarded as a successful example of how long term preservation of scholarly publications is organised through an open access environment. In this article it will be explained how this infrastructure is structured, and some preservation issues related to it will be discussed.

This contribution is based on the long term preservation studies into Enhanced Publications, performed in the FP7 project DRIVER II (2007-2009). The overall conclusion of the DRIVER studies about long term preservation is that the issues are rather of an organisational nature than of a technical one.

The nature of publications in scholarly communication is changing. Enhanced Publications and Collaborative Research Environments are new phenomena in scholarly communication using the wide range of possibilities of the digital environment in which researchers and their audience act. This rapidly changing digital environment also affects long term preservation archives. Raising awareness of long term preservation in the research community is important because researchers are responsible for public dissemination of their research output and need to understand their role in the life cycle of the digital object. Researchers should be aware that constant curation and preservation actions must be undertaken to keep the research results fit for verification, reuse, learning and history over time.

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