Lessons Learned and Next Steps: PKP Preservation Network Report
Having a reliable digital preservation strategy is recommended best practice in scholarly publishing. The PKP Preservation Network (PKP PN) was created to meet this need, but regrettably, has yet to work reliably in OJS 3 environments. Accordingly, we have not yet launched OJS 3 support. We recognize the inconvenience this has created for journals and wish to apologize for both the delay and silence to date.
So what went wrong? And why the delay?
Following the release of OJS 3.0, we began to notice reliability issues when creating deposits in the PKP PN plugin. As a result, we chose not to launch the service beyond OJS 2.4.8 until we could resolve these issues. As we set out to debug 3.x, we also learned that the 2.x plugin, which we believed was working well, was also experiencing similar issues with deposits. In 2019, following extensive real-world testing with community partners, we finally identified the cause:
- Invalid character sequences in deposit XMP due to character encodings; and
- Reliability issues caused by large XML files that have PDF files embedded within.
Alongside these technical issues, we also acknowledge that as a project, we’ve made some mistakes as well. The PKP PN service involves two pieces – the OJS plugin and the software that receives content and stores it in the LOCKSS boxes (preservation nodes). The service is meant to run automatically, with minimal fuss, however we failed to properly resource both pieces, as well as the larger-scale testing and deployment required for 3.x.
To resolve long standing issues, the PKP PN team has planned the following work:
- Take advantage of changes in the way that OJS 3.2 manages content exports to eliminate the failures in the PKP PN plugin.
- Release a patch that includes changes for OJS 3.1.x that will enable the new PKP PN plugin to work without needing a full upgrade to OJS 3.2+.
- Enhance the PKP PN plugin so that it provides more information to journal managers regarding the status of their deposits.
- Work with storage partners to resolve server configuration issues that have resulted in OJS 2.x journals in the PN showing false failures in their PKP PN plugin “status” page. This will also ensure that journals that join the PKP PN will have their status reported accurately.
Further to the above, we have assigned dedicated project managers for both the plugin (PKP) and software (SFU Library) and are now better positioned to not only move forward with a resolution, but manage such as well. We are currently building test packages and are in the process of contacting our last round of testers. Test journals will install the plugin and potentially a patch to OJS, then we can start monitoring test results. If all goes well, we should see a plugin release for OJS 3.1.x and 3.2.x within the next few months.
We know digital preservation matters – and we know our community of OJS journals are eager to utilize and support the PKP PN. As of this post, 1,638 journals from around the world have ensured the preservation of 30,509 issues with the PKP PN. We would like to assure PKP PN users that all of the content that is reported in your journal as successfully deposited with the service is, and has always been, safely preserved.
We are committed to releasing the plugin for OJS 3.x and will update following our latest round of testing. We appreciate our community’s patience and willingness to continue to work with us and welcome feedback. Please reach out via the PKP Community Forum with any comments, questions or concerns.