Researchers increasingly access journal articles online, but the real possibility exists that, due to natural disaster or human/computing failure, digital content might not always be available. Libraries and publishers have joined forces in an initiative called CLOCKSS1, providing leadership and the supporting technology, to ensure reliable, long-term access to scholarly e-content.

The moment has arrived to see how CLOCKSS works.

As of today, the web-published content of the journal Graft: Organ and Cell Transplantation (SAGE Publications) has been exported from the CLOCKSS archive, and is now available to the world from two CLOCKSS hosting platforms at universities in Europe and the US. Released under a Creative Commons license, this content is free to researchers, students and the general public, without need of any subscription.

CLOCKSS is a trusted and secure dark archive, preserving scholarly journal content from the world’s leading publishers. The CLOCKSS system is based on geographically-dispersed nodes located at major research libraries into which e-journal content from publishers is routinely ingested. Archived copies remain "dark" (hidden, secure and unavailable for use), until a trigger event and the CLOCKSS Board votes to "light up" the content and restore access to it again via a hosting platform. At present there are seven archive nodes and two hosting platforms. These numbers are expected to double in order to achieve added security from global coverage.

SAGE Publications is one of 11 premier publishers (together accounting for about 60% of e-journal content) participating in the CLOCKSS Pilot and serving on the CLOCKSS Board. When SAGE announced that it was discontinuing Graft, this became the first real-world test for the CLOCKSS system and its procedures: the CLOCKSS Board, comprising both publishers and library organizations, determined that a trigger event had occurred; instruction was given for Graft content to be copied from archive nodes in the CLOCKSS network to the designated hosting platforms; and 18 issues of Graft became available to the world.

Stanford University, where the underlying LOCKSS software was developed, and the University of Edinburgh are among the seven participants on the library side, acting as stewards for the CLOCKSS system. The two universities have also been designated as CLOCKSS hosting platforms in order to demonstrate, through the release of content, how CLOCKSS works, with EDINA, the UK national data centre at Edinburgh, playing that role for Europe, and Stanford University Library doing so for the US. Both serve as points of worldwide access, free to all, without any prior subscription, fee, or registration.

To read Graft, please click here.

1 CLOCKSS is transitioning from a Pilot Program to an organization for the long-term, building on the technology and findings of LOCKSS (for Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe).