Re: ALPSP Archiving Seminar - 29th November 2002

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 15 Nov 2002 12:52:21 +0000

Dear All:

It is important not to confuse the ALPSP notice below, which is about
publisher archiving initiatives for online preservation of their
proprietary digital contents, with the open-access initiative and
author/institution self-archiving. They are almost exact opposites!

Currently, journal content (c. 20,000 journals, 2 million articles per
year) is increasingly digital, but still accessible only through access
tolls (subscription/license/pay-per-view). The objective of the Budapest
Open Access Initiative and many allied
movements is to create toll-free access to all those articles through
either of two means: author/institution self-archiving or open-access

The resulting toll-free, open-access archives are not the ones that are
the subject of the ALPSP meeting announced below! The meeting below is
about the archiving of the journals' toll-based digital contents. This
is why the focus is not on the generic technical issues of archiving
and preservation, some of which might be common to toll-access and
open-access archives, but rather on "implementation, policy, licensing
and business models."

What this means is this: In the past, journals were in paper, sold by
susbscription, and "archived" on the shelves of individual and library
subscribers (plus some national deposit libraries), in paper. The
publisher might also have stored some (paper) back issues, but as there
is almost no market for back issues, this was not an important concern
for publishers. Archiving and preservation were the responsibility of
certain of their consumers: libraries.

In the digital age, where online licenses are complementing and gradually
replacing paper subscriptions, there is the question of access and
preservation of digital contents after the term of a license (typically
annual). Who holds the digital content and ensures that it is
continuously migrated, preserved and accessible as technologies evolve?

These are interesting and important questions, but they concern contents
that are "born" toll-based. As there is not much revenue from back
issues, publishers will no doubt be willing to share or cede the digital
preservation burden to libraries; and of course if they retain the
burden, they will need to recover its costs, perhaps by making even the
legacy literature toll-based rather than open-access.

Either way, these implementation/policy/licensing/business archiving
concerns are irrelevant to the archiving concerns of those who are trying
to make this literature open-access. (Only perhaps some technical
matters overlap.) On the contrary, once open-access prevails, the
toll-access publishers' archiving concerns may well become moot, as the
open-access archives -- distributed across the world's
author-institutions, and integrated by the "glue" of
OAI-interoperability and harvestability -- will be both the locus
classicus of the literature and the corpus that is to be preserved, not
the publishers' proprietary toll-access versions.

So if you are interested in open-access archiving you are unlikely to
find much that is useful at this ALPSP archiving workshop (except if the
technical issues prove to surface more substantially than anticipated
in the ALPSP notice).

Instead of attending a workshop on how to preserve publishers' toll-based
archives, the best step authors and their institutions can take toward
digital preservation is to self-archive their own work in their own
institutional archives.

Stevan Harnad

> On Fri, 15 Nov 2002, Debbie Stoddart wrote:
> If you would like to register for a place on the Archiving seminar,
> please telephone + 44( 0)1245 260571, fax +44 (0)1245 260935, or go to
> for a full programme and online booking form.
> 9th Publishing and the Internet Seminar. Archiving - Whose problem is it?
> Friday 29th November, City Conference Centre, 80 Coleman St, London EC2R 5BJ
> Chair: David Bull, Palgrave Macmillan
> There are challenges for us all - publishers, authors, librarians,
> national libraries, intermediaries and aggregators - in maintaining
> access to digital resources over time. By its very nature the subject
> 'archiving' has become broad with multiple meanings and aspects. This
> seminar will focus on issues specific to long-term archival preservation.
> While technical issues are rarely far from the surface, the seminar will
> concentrate on implementation, policy, licensing and business models.
> Who should attend?
> Editorial and financial people who are concerned with content
> preservation.
> Debbie Stoddart
> Marketing Coordinator
> Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers
> Tel: +44 (0) 1780 757005
> Email:
> ALPSP website
Received on Fri Nov 15 2002 - 12:52:21 GMT

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