Good News for PKP Preservation Network

November 5th, 2020 by  | Comments Off on Good News for PKP Preservation Network

We’re celebrating World Digital Preservation Day (#WDPD2020) with exciting news from PKP’s free digital preservation service, the PKP Preservation Network (PN). Plus, Mark Jordan, Simon Fraser University (SFU) Library’s Associate Dean of Libraries for Digital Strategy and PKP PN partner, sheds some light on our “dark archive” in a PKP exclusive interview.


Earlier this year, we reported several technical issues preventing the release of the PKP Preservation Network (PN) for OJS 3 journals. After months of internal development work and extensive community testing, we’ve got not one, but three exciting updates to share:

  1. The PKP PN plugin is now fully operational and widely available to supported OJS versions in the OJS plugin gallery. Thank you to all of our community testers who enabled us to release the plugin with confidence.
  2. To support users, our documentation team has written a new guide on the PKP Docs Hub that focuses on what the PKP PN is used for, how to get started, and how to troubleshoot common issues. Users can also reach out via the PKP Community Forum for additional support.
  3. The PKP PN has joined a new partnership led by the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) to provide an alternative pathway for the preservation of small-scale, APC-free, OA journals. For more information, check out the full announcement on the DOAJ website.

It’s been a long journey for the PN, but with these great announcements OJS users can rest easy that their journals will be preserved for long-term access. To learn more about this journey, and what lies ahead, we chatted with long-time PKP contributor, Mark Jordan.


Mark, you’ve been with the project since the very start. Why has it been so important for PKP to provide this service?

One of OJS’ most important user groups are independent journals, and most of those journals will not have the resources to invest in preserving their content for long-term access. So most importantly, the PKP PN offers independent journals trustworthy assurance that should they cease publication for whatever reason, their journal’s content will continue to be available to readers. But the PKP PN is only one part of a larger ecosystem, and it has a secondary role in supporting journals by providing a recognized preservation service to allow their inclusion in other parts of that ecosystem like DOAJ and Keepers Registry.

How does the PKP PN compare to other services like CLOCKSS and Portico?

First, it’s free of charge to the journals. It also reduces other barriers by not requiring complex contractual agreements with a preservation service. Journals that are preserved in the PKP PN do need to accept some terms of use, but these are very brief and simple.

Why should an OJS journal consider the PN?

The PN is open to all OJS journals, but as I’ve suggested earlier, it will be most attractive to journals that don’t have the resources to be part of a for-fee preservation service. It will also appeal to journals for whom “open” is an important value. While the PKP PN is secure and trustworthy, it is run by PKP (an organization that values openness highly), using open source infrastructure (LOCKSS), and we welcome not only new journals, but also new storage partners and collaborators.

As mentioned, the PN encountered difficulties following the release of OJS 3. We’ve resolved these original concerns, and the plugin is now operational. Are there any outstanding issues that users should be aware of?

The OJS plugin that notifies the PN of new journal content doesn’t currently support supplemental files, or content that is not managed by OJS (for example, embedded videos that are served from outside OJS). Continuous publication journals are also not preserved automatically, since the plugin alerts the PN of new content when an issue is published.

The PKP PN is an ongoing development project. What can users expect next?

We do need to address the two items I mentioned in the last question. I would also like to see us have more storage partners. We don’t need high numbers of storage partners, but almost all of our current storage partners are in North America, and almost all are universities. More diversity in storage nodes, in terms of geography and organization type, will result in more heterogeneous, and therefore more robust, copies of the preserved content. This is an important principle underlying the LOCKSS technology.

What help is available for journals using the PN? Either if they are new to digital preservation, or if they encounter difficulties with the plugin?

If journals encounter a problem with the plugin, they should post to the PKP Community Forum. We have also developed documentation on preservation in general and its role in ongoing access to journals’ content. Our intent is that this documentation will not only provide more information on how the PKP PN works, but also clearly articulate the benefits of a journal being in a trustworthy preservation service of some sort.

PKP develops open infrastructure (providing free and open source software) and relies on community contributions to advance not only our software development, but also related projects like the PN. How can the community support this work?

We’ll be looking for translations of the documentation I mentioned. We would also be interested in hearing from institutions who are interested in becoming storage partners in the PN. More generally, PKP is always interested in talking to potential collaborators about ways of advancing open. I think we’ll see more and more ways of leveraging collaboration around preservation as technology evolves and as the benefits of distributing the costs of preservation across many institutions becomes more apparent.

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