CDSC Digital Scholarship

Digital Scholarship

The digital environment has made significant changes to the way that scholars share and preserve their work. North Carolina State is committed to helping scholars disseminate their work as widely as possible as well as preserving the scholarly and cultural record for future generations.

Digital Curation

Recent years have brought significant changes to the way libraries provide access to scholarly resources. Specifically, libraries have been replacing subscriptions to the print versions of scholarly journals (or mixed subscriptions that provide access to both print and electronic copies) with electronic-only access to materials. This raises two important questions:

  • What happens if subscriptions to these electronic resources are cancelled or they become otherwise unavailable?
  • How can one ensure the long-term preservation and availability of such materials?

The NCSU Libraries is participating in three international, leading cooperative initiatives - Portico, LOCKSS and CLOCKSS - that address these problems.



Portico was launched in 2002 by JSTOR, an online archive of academic journals and monographs, to facilitate the preservation of born-digital scholarly literature.

Unlike LOCKSS--which relies on storing files in multiple locations, i.e., its partner institutions--Portico centralizes the storage of the materials provided to it by the currently 72 participating publishers. In addition to the long-term preservation of journals of monographs, Portico provides access to titles should one of the following events, called "Trigger Events," occur:

1. a publisher stops operations.

2. a publisher ceases to publish a title or no longer offers back issues.

3. a catastrophic and sustained failure of a publisher's delivery platform occurs.

Depending on the publisher, Portico can also provide post-cancellation access to back issues.

The NCSU Libraries is one of almost 500 institutions worldwide-approximately 330 in the U.S.-that participates in the program.

You can find more information at the Portico web page




LOCKSS stands for "Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe" and was initiated in 1999 by Stanford University. The goal was to create a system that would allow libraries to preserve and provide access to local copies of authorized electronic resources.

Currently, LOCKSS consists of an international network of approximately 200 academic libraries, library services providers, and research organizations worldwide, with the majority of them being located in the U.S. Each of these institutions operates a LOCKSS Box--generally nothing more than a desktop computer--that regularly visits the websites of about 400 participating publishers and downloads the latest issues of their electronic journals.

In addition, the NCSU Libraries is part of a group of thirty-two U.S. and Canadian libraries and the Library of Congress that form the U.S. Government Documents Private LOCKSS Network whose goal is the long-term preservation of important documents issued by the Federal Government.

To ensure that files are not damaged over time, LOCKSS Boxes regularly compare the files that are locally stored against the publishers' websites and other LOCKSS Boxes and replace them if necessary.

LOCKSS fulfills two important functions for the NCSU Libraries:

1. It ensures the long-term preservation and accessibility of the original content by continually comparing the locally-stored files to those on publishers' websites and other LOCKSS Boxes and, if necessary, replacing them, LOCKSS prevents the irreversible corruption of electronic resources.

2. It continues to provide access to local copies of back issues if there is a temporary or permanent interruption of access to the publishers' original copies due to:

a. unavailability of the publisher's website.

b. the publisher ceasing operations or publication of a specific title.

c. the Libraries cancelling subscriptions to titles stored in LOCKSS.

Currently, the NCSU Libraries is hosting approximately 560 GB of electronic journals and 100 GB of government documents.

For more information see the LOCKSS homepage.



CLOCKSS (Controlled LOCKSS) runs on LOCKSS technology and has the same goal, i.e., the long-term preservation of scholarly electronic resources, such as electronic journals.

Unlike LOCKSS--where each LOCKSS box directly harvests, or retrieves, documents from publishers' websites--only three CLOCKSS boxes have direct access to these resources. They then distribute harvested documents to twelve globally distributed boxes in the network for long-term preservation.

Also, CLOCKSS is considered a "dark archive." While LOCKSS can provide access to electronic resources if the original publisher's site is temporarily inaccessible, documents stored in the CLOCKSS network are only made available if no publisher has responsibility for or provides access to this content and the CLOCKSS Board votes to make the content publicly accessible.

For more information see The CLOCKSS homepage.

This chart provides a useful comparison of LOCKSS and CLOCKSS.

Open Scholarship


The term "open scholarship" refers to the growing international movement towards open access publishing for scholarly works. Many academic authors choose to make their research and works openly accessible by publishing in an open access journal or by depositing their works on an unrestricted web site or repository. In all its permutations, the goal of open scholarship is to ensure access to information to support academic, research and personal pursuits of knowledge and promote innovation and discovery on a global as well as local level.

Many publishing contracts have clauses that prevent the broad distribution of scholarly content. For tips on negotiating contracts that allow open archiving of your work, go to For direct assistance in managing your rights as an author, contact the Center.


The NCSU Libraries supports the following open scholarship projects:



Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD)


The NC State Graduate School requires that all students submit their thesis or dissertation electronically. These ETD's are accessible online through the NCSU Libraries' Digital Repository. Students may choose to make their ETD available openly. The SPR's home page provides more information.


Digital Repository


Faculty interested in releasing their works openly may deposit their full-text works in the Digital Repository, hosted by the NCSU Libraries. For more information, go to


E-Books and Electronic Textbooks


The NCSU Libraries has worked with departments to host and license electronic books and textbooks. We have prepared a general statement on ebooks.

You way also wish to read Jordan Frith's whitepaper on open textbooks.



Federal Public Access Policies


Various efforts are in-place and underway to make federally funded research openly available online. Federal public access policies have multiple aims including to help document the scholarly products of funded research, preserve scholarly works from funded projects, and increase the availability and impact of federally funded research to promote discovery and further innovation. Efforts supported by the NCSU Libraries include:


NIH Public Access Policy


The Libraries offers assistance to faculty who need help with the NIH Public Access policy. More information can be found at The Center's NIH page


Support for the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA)


The Federal Research Public Access Act proposes to make manuscripts reporting on federally funded research publicly available within six months of publication in a journal. The Libraries and NC State, along with dozens of other universities, have written in support of FRPAA. More information can be found at The Alliance for Taxpayer Information's FRPPA page.


Open Data


Besides supporting open access to their scholarly works that stem from funded research, federal funding agencies and scholarly journals are increasingly asking researchers to make their original data available so that it can be repurposed in future research projects or used by others to verify published findings. Examples of open data requirements can be found at the National Science Foundation and the National Institute for Health's pages.

Examples of open data repositories can be found at and the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).