(Updated: 04/04/2024)

1. Introduction

This document describes the SciELO Program’s digital preservation policy that applies to the digital contents of the SciELO Network collections. In addition to the national and thematic journal collections that represent its main information sources, the SciELO Network also includes the SciELO Data repositories, the SciELO Preprints server, and the SciELO Books collections. The implementation and follow-up of the policy are carried out in a decentralized process under the responsibility of the managers of the SciELO Network collections.

The SciELO Program aims to contribute to the strengthening and expansion of national capacities and infrastructures of scholarly communication. Its implementation is carried out methodologically and technologically by the SciELO Publishing Model, which operates, on the one hand, as a public policy framework to support the improvement and visibility of quality journals published nationally in open access, and, on the other hand, as a framework for international cooperation for the global development of open science scholarly communication. Preservation is one of the SciELO dimensions for the development of national infrastructure and international cooperation.

The management and operation of the functions of the SciELO Publishing Model are carried out in a decentralized manner through the development of content collections of research communication objects in the form of text files, data, codes, et cetera. The basic functions include the quality control of content admission and permanence, which is carried out through indexing, which includes bibliographic and bibliometric control of research communication objects, storage and preservation, publication, dissemination, and interoperability. Thus, preservation is an integral part of the second basic function of the SciELO production flow, i.e., communication objects are preserved at their origin in SciELO collections.

The SciELO Program has as its principles, firstly, the conceptualization and management of scientific knowledge as a global public good that characterizes it as an open science program, secondly, working in networks as a means of cooperation, sharing of resources and creation to scale in order to maximize visibility, promote the exchange of experiences and the management of asymmetries, and third, the adoption of standards, best practices of scholarly communication and innovative advances.

Thus, the preservation of contents of the SciELO Network collections responds, on the one hand, to the principles of the SciELO Program and, on the other, to its operational functions.

2. General and specific objectives

The SciELO Program’s digital preservation policy has the general objective of developing infrastructure and research communication capabilities with preservation systems according to standards and state-of-the-art that ensure that the contents of communication objects in the SciELO Network collections are available for future generations according to nationally and internationally adopted legislation, standards, and best practices.

The specific objectives are:

  • to develop and operate digital preservation systems oriented to the SciELO Network’s research communication objects in an operationally and financially sustainable manner, in accordance with the state of the art standards, best practices, information and security technologies;
  • to provide all SciELO Network collections with digital preservation integrated in the production flows of research communication objects; and
  • to promote collaboration between the managing institutions of the SciELO Network collections among themselves and with other national and international reference institutions in digital preservation.

The preservation policy is aligned and subordinated to the policy and objectives of the SciELO Program.

3. Scope, characteristics, and properties

The policy, management, and operation of the digital preservation systems of the research communication objects of the SciELO Network collections are structured, continuously improved, and implemented in line with the following characteristics, properties, and processes:

Scope and Provenance

Documents that are objects of research communication in the SciELO Network’s natively digital collections are preserved in all their format and versions instantiations. SciELO will ensure that the “chain of custody” of records held in its custody is maintained through the capture and preservation of appropriate descriptive metadata.

SciELO Network collections

The collections of the SciELO Network operate on the Web in open access research communication objects. These are the national and thematic journal collections of the SciELO Network, the SciELO Data repositories of research data, the SciELO Preprints server, and the SciELO Books collection. Collections are managed and operated in a decentralized manner. Collection managers are responsible for contextualizing and implementing the preservation policies of the SciELO Program.

Communication objects
Research communication objects comprise different types of full text files, numerical data, schematics, maps, software application codes, images, audio, videos, and other types of digital content that are stored in the collections of the SciELO Network. Communication objects are operated in the form of files.

Operational principles

  • Authenticity – documents are preserved and protected from intentional or accidental modification, corruption, or loss.
  • Integrity – the actions and activities performed on the documents in the scholarly communication flow are recorded in the respective metadata.
  • Reliability – the preservation policy, processes, and procedures and their updates follow standards and best practices; they are publicly documented from an open access page on the SciELO Network portal.
  • Usability – the preserved documents are findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable according to standards and best practices.
  • Open Access – the preserved documents are open access under the Creative Commons CC0 license for metadata and CC-BY for all research communication objects.
  • Flow – preservation is an integral part of the communication flow of the SciELO Publishing Model and applies to different instances of research communication objects.

Preservation Work Framework

  • Work plan – triennial planning document updated annually that defines, organizes, and monitors the conditions, resources, expected results and schedule of activities of the preservation function. The work plan of the SciELO Program is contextualized to the conditions of each collection.
  • Preservation standard – the digital preservation systems that implement the SciELO Program Preservation Policy have the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) as a reference model.
  • Collaboration and Cooperation – The SciELO Program, through its digital preservation system, which directly involve the SciELO Network collections, projects itself as a partner institution that is a member of the IBICT CARINIANA preservation Network, a member of the LOCKSS Network;
  • Communication object file formats – Communication object files are structured in standard formats specific to each type of collection, including XML according to SciELO Publishing Schema and other schemes, PDF, CSV spreadsheets, Excel spreadsheets, specific database formats, different image formats, audio, and videos.
  • Metadata – The preservation metadata will follow the entire life cycle of the research communication objects, recording the applied strategies and the changes that have occurred. They follow standards that allow reuse, interoperability between systems, contemplating general, descriptive, structural, technical, and rights metadata and persistent identifiers. Metadata are sources of curation information for preserved communication objects.
  • Safety – the protection of servers, documents in process and those already preserved against attacks, disasters, and defects is carried out in accordance with the state of the art in accordance with the SciELO Information Security Policy.
  • Backups/Restoration – the preservation processes and contents preserved as an integral part of SciELO’s scholarly communication flow are backed up daily in accordance with the Backup and Restoration Policy.
  • Sustainability – the preservation of research communication objects is operationally and financially sustainable as a basic function of the work plans and triennial budgets of the SciELO Program.
  • Indicators – the evolution and preservation status will be periodically monitored with indicators of the number of research communication objects by collection, object type, and according to different attributes.

4. Guidelines

The SciELO Program’s digital preservation policy applies to all communication objects in the SciELO Network collections and its implementation follows the following guidelines:

Preservation is in line with the state of the art of the fundamentals and best practices of preservation of archival, library and documentation, schlarly communication, knowledge management, and information and communication technologies.

Preservation is an integral part of the three basic functions of the SciELO Program operationalized by the SciELO Publishing Model: (i) bibliographic and bibliometric indexing; (ii) storage and preservation of the complete texts, their retrieval and publication; and (iii) dissemination and interoperability.

Preservation follows the three principles of the SciELO Program: (i) scientific knowledge understood as a global public good; (ii) working in network in all instances – network, national collections, and journals; and (iii) compliance with standards, best practices, and adoption of innovations.

The implementation and follow-up of the policy is carried out in a decentralized manner, in line with national and thematic policies, legislation and norms under the responsibility of the managers of the SciELO Network collections.

The preservation operation is carried out according to a work plan updated annually and contextualized to the context of each collection.

This document, all guidelines derived from it and indicators of the number and characteristics of the preserved documents are made available on a specific page at the www.scielo.org portal of the SciELO Network.

5. Advisory Committee and working groups

The updated development and implementation of the SciELO Program’s Digital Preservation Policy through the work plan, management, operation, and monitoring are assisted by the Advisory Committee (AC) of the SciELO Network Secretariat, which should schedule the topic in at least two of the annual meetings to assess the adoption, operation, and performance of the preservation and recommending fixes and advances. The SciELO Brazil Collection is responsible for the Secretariat of the SciELO Network, organizing meetings, documenting, and following up on decisions.

The AC of the SciELO Network Secretariat may establish Working Groups with defined terms of reference and operating time to analyze specific issues that affect the SciELO Program Preservation Policy related to methodologies, technologies, management, interoperability, legislation, etc.

6. Audits, monitoring, and improvement indicators

The Preservation Policy of the SciELO Program and the preservation systems of the SciELO Publishing Model will be subject to periodic audits by experts and independent bodies with a view to systematic improvement and alignment with the state of the art in digital preservation.

The monitoring of the performance of the SciELO Publishing Model preservation function will be conducted with the support of the following progress indicators:

  • Evolution of the number of SciELO Network collections in line with the SciELO Program Preservation Policy as a basic function of the respective production flows;
  • Evolution of the number of research objects preserved by collection according to different attributes;
  • Operational conditions of preservation repositories in terms of availability, sustainability, and security; and
  • Integration to the CARINIANA IBICT, and implementation of audit recommendations.

Audit results and follow-up indicators will be made available on the SciELO Network Portal in the section dedicated to digital preservation.