Millions of research papers at risk of disappearing from the Internet

A recent study reveals a concerning gap in the preservation of scholarly articles, with over a quarter of digital publications lacking proper archival. Despite possessing active digital object identifiers (DOIs), which serve as unique identifiers for publications, 28% of the more than seven million works examined were not found in a major digital archive. The research, led by Martin Eve of Birkbeck, University of London, underscores the importance of verifiable research history and the risks posed by inadequate digital preservation.

Preservation specialists acknowledge the significance of these findings, highlighting the assumption that a DOI guarantees perpetual access, which is not the case. The study points to the challenges faced by smaller publishers who may lack the resources for proper archiving. To combat this issue, the study suggests implementing stricter requirements for DOI registration and enhancing awareness among publishers and researchers about the importance of long-term digital preservation. This is crucial not only for current accessibility but also for ensuring that future generations can access today’s research.
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