CLOCKSS: Business Plan Overview

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CLOCKSS: Business Plan Overview

Market Analysis

The digital preservation service organizations that operate similarly to CLOCKSS in terms of archiving service provisions approach their operations in different manners using different technologies and funding models. The closest comparable organization to CLOCKSS is Portico, which offers both dark archive services and post-cancellation access (PCA) for archived ejournal and ebook content. There are several national preservation efforts including the British Library (BL) and the Dutch National Library (KB). Finally, there is the specialty group HathiTrust, which manages a number of collections of digitized content that are sourced from Google’s scanning of library holdings. There are also local preservation efforts under the Global LOCKSS Network (GLN), which gives each library their own digital bookshelf and PCA rights.

The most important note in reviewing the marketplace of these various services is to keep in mind the large number of academic publishers – 6,000+ and growing per Scopus - and the fact that each of the aforementioned groups has only a small fraction of them participating in their efforts. Also noteworthy is the fact that many of the largest publishers, which account for 80%+ of all the content published, are covered by several of these groups. A review of The Keepers website ( will give one all the overview needed to see the size and scope of what has been accomplished.

The overarching raison d'être for any and all of these groups is the desire on the part of the library community to ensure there is a lasting copy of digital content by having someone else independently manage this challenge. In a digital world with various formats and technologies, the inescapable conclusion is that it is infinitely more difficult to collectively gather digital content than in the days of print journal issues and books.

Business Plan Overview

The CLOCKSS Archive is currently funded by three revenue sources: Library Support fees, Publisher Participation Fees, and Publisher Ingest fees from content collection activities. As noted in CLOCKSS: Preservation Strategy the goals are:

  1. Partner with as many academic publishers as possible.
    1. Try to avoid too much duplication, except among the largest of publishers.
    2. Focus on the up and coming Open Access publisher content, which is at most risk of disappearing.
  2. Develop the Library Supporter base

The Library Support fees are unencumbered funds by virtue of the fact that the effort to keep them informed is minimal and no direct services are provided. In essence, the growth in this part of the operations creates revenues that will support the digital preservation work and the management costs. Anything left over will help to grow the reserves.

On the other hand, the Publisher Participation Fees and Publisher Ingest fees are direct revenues dedicated to the preservation work.


The CLOCKSS Archive has a relatively simple marketing approach. These are the specific strategies currently employed:

  1. Contacting publishers
    1. Initial email contact
      1. Routine follow-up until an action is indicated
      2. Conference calls to further explain the CLOCKSS value proposition
    2. Face-to-face meetings at conferences or book fairs
    3. Speaking at conferences
    4. In some cases, site visits to main office
  2. Contacting libraries
    1. Initial email contact
      1. Routine follow-up until an action is indicated
      2. Conference calls to further explain the CLOCKSS value proposition
    2. Negotiation of group deals with consortia with target levels and discounts
      1. Email follow-up to increase the participation level
    3. Face-to-face meetings at conferences or book fairs
    4. Speaking at consortia meetings
  3. Website maintenance
    1. Current news of recent publisher agreements
    2. Full listing of publishers and libraries
  4. Listserv PR

Relevant Documents

  1. Confidential: CLOCKSS: 2014-2016 financial filings, 2017 budget, and 2018-20 preliminary budgets
  2. CLOCKSS: Preservation Strategy
  3. Confidential: CLOCKSS Collection Development Policy