A collaboration of the world’s leading academic publishers and research libraries, CLOCKSS provides a sustainable dark archive to ensure the long-term survival of digital scholarly content.
Standing the Test of Time
CLOCKSS (Controlled LOCKSS) employs a unique approach to archiving (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) that was initiated by Stanford University librarians in 1999. Digital content is stored in the CLOCKSS archive with no user access unless a “trigger” event occurs. The LOCKSS technology regularly checks the validity of the stored data and preserves it for the long term.
CLOCKSS operates 12 archive nodes at leading academic institutions worldwide, preserving the authoritative versions of 48.5 million journal articles, over 34,000 serial and 360,000 book titles, and a growing collection of supplementary materials and metadata information. As of August 2021, 66 titles have been triggered and made available from our archive via open access. CLOCKSS participants include 300 libraries and 435 publishers.
This secure, robust, and decentralized infrastructure can withstand threats from technological, economic, environmental, and political failures. A destructive event in one location won’t jeopardize the survival of preserved digital content because the 11 other locations serve as mirror sites to back-up and repair the disrupted location’s archive.
Another CLOCKSS advantage is that publications are preserved in their original format. When an unavailable publication is triggered, the authoritative version is dynamically migrated to an accessible format via up-to-date technology.
CLOCKSS has been designated as a trustworthy repository by the Center for Research Libraries’ Certification Advisory Panel. CLOCKSS received the only perfect score for Technology.
OF THE COMMUNITY, FOR THE COMMUNITY
CLOCKSS is governed by and for its stakeholders. Our operations are governed by a Board of Directors with an equal number of librarians and publishers making decisions together about policies, procedures, priorities, and when to trigger content.
As the only dark archive that assigns a Creative Commons license to all triggered digital content, CLOCKSS benefits the greater global scholarly community by enabling permanent Open Access to abandoned and orphaned publications. As a result, recovered content becomes perpetually available to anyone with Internet access.
Libraries and publishers want a choice of archiving solutions. Rather than put “all their eggs in one basket,” some institutions may prefer to participate in multiple archives. CLOCKSS’s geographically disparate nodes satisfy the demand for locally situated archives.
CLOCKSS participants have the opportunity to be deeply involved in all aspects of our industry and help to keep the community’s best interests at the forefront. CLOCKSS actively participates in industry policies and practices.
FINANCIALLY SECURE AND SUSTAINABLE
As an independent, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charitable organization, CLOCKSS is committed to keeping its fees affordable, for libraries and publishers of all sizes and budgets to participate in CLOCKSS. Low operating costs make it possible to keep this commitment. As a long-term preservation organization, CLOCKSS believes that a robust Succession Plan is required. In the unlikely event of the demise of CLOCKSS, four of our twelve library nodes have committed to continuing the preservation of the content in the Archive.
Download a CLOCKSS overview in the following languages:
- Chinese – 中文
- French – Français
- German- Deutsche
- Italian – Italiano
- Japanese – 日本語
- Spanish – Español
See a comparison of CLOCKSS, Global LOCKSS Network and Portico.