CLOCKSS Formalizes Long-Standing Commitments from Four Leading Universities to Ensure Perpetual Preservation

How Does an Archive Guarantee “Forever”?

Researchers, librarians, and publishers look to CLOCKSS and other long-term archives to guarantee that the scholarly record will remain intact in a world where rapid change has become a constant. CLOCKSS is taking steps now, as a strong and stable organization, to formalize its Succession Plan and ensure the enduring survival of the scholarly content it preserves.

Four of CLOCKSS’s twelve library nodes have agreed to continue to preserve the digital content that is preserved in CLOCKSS, if the organization were to cease to exist. In that unlikely event, Stanford Libraries (U.S.), Humboldt University (Germany), the University of Edinburgh (U.K.), and the University of Alberta Libraries (Canada) would take over the responsibility and the organization for running the LOCKSS software across the CLOCKSS content, to continue preservation for the future.

“The plan provides for continuity should CLOCKSS cease to be able to fulfill its commitments. If such a time comes it is likely to be a period of much wider uncertainty and significant change, and so the commitments from these four leading and long-standing successor organizations provide a strong foundation to ensure ongoing digital preservation,” said CLOCKSS Executive Director
Craig Van Dyck. He added, “The plan is the outcome of CLOCKSS’s ongoing collaboration between librarians and publishers — a dialogue that continues to examine how best to address the community’s needs.”

The CLOCKSS Board – including twelve leading academic libraries and twelve leading academic publishers – has enthusiastically endorsed this plan, which also has a broader community of support among its 260 participating publishers and 300 supporting libraries.

“Stanford and the other successor libraries consider long-term planning essential for a digital preservation service,” noted Mimi Calter, Deputy University Librarian at Stanford University, and co-chair of the CLOCKSS Board of Directors. “CLOCKSS is unique among preservation organizations in announcing this proactive step, which will ensure that the scholarly record will be preserved in perpetuity, and in its community-led governance.”

The CLOCKSS Succession Plan is part of its Trusted Repository Audit Checklist (TRAC) certification by the Center for Research Libraries.

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 Web-based scholarly content. CLOCKSS (Controlled LOCKSS) employs a unique approach to archiving (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) that was initiated by Stanford Libraries 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 over 30 million digital journal articles, 25,000 serials, and 75,000 book titles, and a growing collection of supplementary materials and metadata information. So far 53 titles have been triggered and made available from the CLOCKSS Archive via open access. A strong and secure organization, CLOCKSS is supported by 300 supporting libraries and 260 participating publishers.