Background: The literature reveals a lack of implementation of long-term digital preservation in Open Access (OA) repositories in the United Kingdom (UK). Limited research has been done on the subject to better understand the situation.
Aim: The study aimed to formulate a case for best practice guidance for long-term digital preservation in OA repositories in the UK by undertaking an assessment of existing practice.
Methods: A questionnaire was first circulated to a sampling of OA repository managers in the UK to gather quantitative evidence of current digital preservation practice. The questionnaire received around a 20% response rate. From the group of respondents, roughly 18% of them were further interviewed to gather additional qualitative evidence.
Results: The questionnaire revealed that long-term digital preservation was a ‘very important’ or ‘somewhat important’ concern for 77% of respondents, and for 68% it formed a part of their repository strategy. It further demonstrated that 86.5% of respondents were interested in a centralized approach to digital preservation in the UK, while 59% indicated that preservation of content held in institutional repositories should take place elsewhere. The interviews revealed that the primary concerns of OA repositories, apart from digital preservation, are good quality metadata, discoverability, and interoperability, and that these concerns complement, rather than compete, with the aims of digital preservation. The interviews also revealed that the main barrier to long-term digital preservation is resourcing, including staffing and funding.
Conclusions: It is concluded that long-term digital preservation should be a priority within OA repositories as there is a risk of data being lost if it is not preserved. A centralized approach to digital preservation in the UK would be beneficial although preservation taking place outside of institutional repositories is not required. A case for best practice for long-term digital preservation in the UK is described.
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