In order to work with digital publications and data in a reliable and sustainable way, researchers need to be sure of continuous availability and fault free access. . An interruption in the access to licensed content can occur for many reasons including a temporary or long-term server breakdown, the transfer of journals to another publisher, the withdrawal of publishers from the market or the termination of electronic resource subscriptions by the licensee. Such operational disturbances require solutions that ideally can become part of an overall strategy for Germany. The Alliance of German Science Organisations working under the "Digital Initiative" framework commissioned Charles Beagrie Ltd. to produce a study on „Ensuring Perpetual Access: Establishing a Federated Strategy on Perpetual Access and Hosting of Electronic Resources for Germany“ (2010). The study investigated the current situation and international context, describes the most important use cases, and gave recommendations for further action.
First Project Phase (2014-2018)
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) funded the “National Hosting of Electronic Ressources” (NatHosting, 2014-2016) project that developed a two-pronged concept. It envisioned the participation of a German consortium in the Portico archiving service to rapidly secure important content, and a technical solution – a Private LOCKSS Network (PLN), based on the LOCKSS software developed at Stanford University that would archive content not covered by Portico.
Second Project Phase (2018-2022)
In the second project phase (2018-2022), the focus was on implementing these concepts. The following work priorities were established:
Formation of a supra-regional Portico consortium.
Detailed needs analysis with regard to the content to be hosted and extensive contact with publishers
Technical implementation of a PLN prototype
Evaluation of the ERM system LAS:eR for rights management
Development of cost models for the ongoing operation of a two-pillar model
In the course of the project, it became apparent that the two-pillar concept could be implemented in principle, but that the establishment of a PLN would not be feasible at the present time. Reasons for this included the Portico developments, the need to acquire content in the longer term, and the effort needed for technical and organisational operations.
Against this background, the project concentrated on expanding the first pillar and cooperating closely with Portico with the following focal points:
Expanding the existing Portico consortium in Germany.
Broadening Portico's portfolio to include content that is of particular importance to academic institutions in Germany.
Negotiating extended rights for content already available via Portico (e.g. increasing the share of content with post-cancellation rights)
In the long term, setting up a mirror server of Portico in Germany.