As published on the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) blog page
Written by Arkivum CTO Dr Matthew Addis

This blog post is both a demonstration of how to extensively torture a metaphor if you try hard enough, which I certainly want to do from time to time, and a look at some of the serious issues of digital preservation at an industrial scale outside of memory institutions.

The metaphor is washing machines, the industrial application is research data preservation, and the answer, perhaps paradoxically, is to choose to do less for more.

I’ve been involved for over 2 years now with the Jisc Research Data Shared Service (RDSS) This has the ambitious and laudable goal of providing a national Shared Service for Research Data Management to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the UK, including the deposit, storage, publication and preservation of a wide range of digital research outputs.

Just to give some scale to the problem, research in the UK by HEIs is funded to the tune of £6Bn per year, which supports some 91,000 researchers and academics across 220 institutions who produce a vast amount and variety of data that totals the thick end of 500PB.

However, only 1-2% of that budget currently goes into long-term curation, preservation and access to this data.

Even when including high-impact national and international services for research data such as the EBI or the UKDS, custodians of research data are outnumbered 500:1 by those who create the data in the first place.

Click to read the rest of the blog post via the DPC website