Counting Previously Cancelled titles in a LOCKSS Archive

The 2014 SCONUL Statistical Return asks a question about Digital Preservation and Post-Cancellation Access to Electronic Journals. In this post I will try to outline our attempt to answer that question.

Perhaps it is best to start with the question itself. It is a part of question 3.4.3 on the number of serial titles purchases in electronic form only and asks for a count of:

Previously cancelled titles for which hosting fees have been paid in the current year either to the publisher or to another provider such as Portico or LOCKSS.

The question does apply to De Montfort University (but not to all UK Higher Education Institutions) because:

  1. We are members of the UK LOCKSS Alliance and have paid our subscription fee for the current year;
  2. But we are not subscribers to Portico, which at least makes this exercise easier;
  3. We select journals to be archived in LOCKSS that match our subscriptions or interests and some of these titles will have been cancelled as the Institution’s journal requirements changed.
  4. LOCKSS is a key part of the Library’s infrastructure enabling access to electronic resources, being, along with EZproxy, a component enabling access to the articles and books found in our Summon discovery service  ‘Library Search‘ [Login required].
  5. Library Search was introduced in September 2014, outside this SCONUL reporting period. Before that LOCKSS was an optional source of content in our SFX OpenURL Resolver.

Answering the question is not straight-forward, however, as:

  1. The question does not ask for a count of all the journals we have successfully collected in our LOCKSS Archive. De Montfort University’s answer here would be 793.
  2. The question does not ask from how many different journals did LOCKSS supply archived articles (where the articles is either identical to the publisher version or not available from the publisher at all). For January 2014 – July 2014 that total would be 93 for DMU.
  3. It does not want to know about the titles we are collecting now as a precaution against them being cancelled or otherwise unavailable in the future;
  4. It is not interested in the archived Open Access journals to which we may have contributed Article Processing Charges.

That does help with some boundaries, however. The answer for SCONUL cannot be greater than 793. If there are post-cancellation journals archived in LOCKSS, some of them will be among the 93 titles where LOCKSS is involved in serving the content.

LOCKSS does provide COUNTER reports that provide evidence on how the archive is being used. There are reports for both journals and electronic books available in two versions:  Type 1 and 5 relate to JR1 and JR5 reports counting only those items served from the LOCKSS Archive itself. Types 1L and 5L include all the requests passing through the LOCKSS box whether the content was eventually served from the publisher or from LOCKSS.

That report pointed us to publishers where LOCKSS was involved in serving content and that therefore there might be post-cancellation titles among those archived. We could also obtain reports from our electronic journals  management tools (we have Proquest’s 360 service) for those publishers. Checking the overlap between journals archived in LOCKSS and titles in 360 where our subscriptions have ceased enabled us to identify:

  • 17 titles published by Sage where we have post-cancellation access assisted by LOCKSS;
  • Other publishers, OUP and Emerald among them, where there may be other post-cancellation titles.
  • Journals where we have collected material in LOCKSS, but not made this content available to our users. These could also be post-cancellation journals where our access rights would otherwise have been lost.

The checking process also enabled us to check for uncollected volumes of journals to which we have continuing subscriptions.

Access to post-cancellation electronic journals and how to evaluate the success of digital preservation initiatives are both developing areas where ‘best practise’ is yet to be identified. Our attempt to answer SCONUL’s question about our activity in this area does indicate that De Montfort University is taking the challenge seriously and making a difference with the steps taken so far to ensure continuing access to the electronic content that we care about.

 Archived Post-Cancellation Journals in 2014

  1. Action Research; Sage 2003-2012
  2. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education; Sage 2005-2008
  3. British Educational Research Journal; Taylor & Francis 2007-2010
  4. Child Language Teaching and Therapy; Sage 2007
  5. Current Sociology; Sage 2005-2012
  6. differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies; Duke UP 2002-2013
  7. Diplomatic History; OUP 2009
  8. Economic and Industrial Democracy; Sage 2005-2009
  9. Environment and behavior; Sage 2005-2008
  10. Feminist Theory; Sage 2005-2012
  11. Health Policy and Planning; OUP 2005-2012
  12. Human Reproduction; OUP 2005-2012
  13. International and Comparative Law Quarterly; OUP 2005-2007
  14. International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media; Intellect 2006-2013
  15. International Journal of Refugee Law; OUP 2005-2012
  16. Journal of Architecture; Taylor & Francis 1996
  17. Journal of Crime and Justice; Taylor & Francis 2011
  18. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management; Emerald 2001-2012
  19. Journal of Gender Studies; Taylor & Francis 2011
  20. Journal of Humanistic Psychology; Sage 2005-2012
  21. Journal of Learning Disabilities; Sage 2010-2012
  22. Journal of Management Education; Sage 2005-2012
  23. Journal of Material Culture; Sage 2005-2011
  24. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency; Sage 2005, 2009-2012
  25. Journal of Sport & Social Issues; Sage 2007-2012
  26. Journal of Sports Economics; Sage 2006, 2009
  27. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science; Springer 1997-2011
  28. Nucleic Acids Research; OUP 2005-2012
  29. Organization & Environment; Sage 2009-2012
  30. Planning Practice and Research; Taylor & Francis 2005-2012
  31. Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management; Emerald 2006-2009
  32. Services Marketing Quarterly; Taylor & Francis 2010-2012
  33. Statute Law Review; OUP 2005-2010
  34. The British Journal of Aesthetics; OUP 2005
  35. VLDB Journal; Springer 1997-2010


About Philip Adams

Senior Assistant Librarian at De Montfort University. I am interested in digital preservation and the use of data to measure a library's impact. All comments own.
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