CLOCKSS Audit Report 2014

Release Date: 
Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) conducted a preservation audit of CLOCKSS ( between September 2013 and May 2014, and on the basis of that audit certified CLOCKSS as a trustworthy digital repository of e-journal content. The CRL Certification Advisory Panel concluded that the practices and services described in CLOCKSS’ public communications and published documentation generally correspond to the operations of CLOCKSS and are appropriate to the e-journal content being archived and to the expressed needs of the CLOCKSS designated community. Moreover the panel indicated its expectation that in the future, CLOCKSS will be able to deliver the content it preserves to appropriate third parties who are equipped to make it available for use by the designated community. CRL certification applies to the repository’s ability to preserve and manage digital content deposited by participating e-journal publishers as of May 2014.  

The present report is based upon review, by CRL and the members of its Certification Advisory Panel, of extensive documentation gathered by CRL independently from open sources and from third parties as well as data and documentation provided by CLOCKSS.  The review also included a site visit by CRL audit personnel to the offices of the LOCKSS team in Redwood City, California. CRL’s evaluation of CLOCKSS and the information provided in this report reflect the policies, systems and procedures that were in place at CLOCKSS to manage e-journal content as of June 1, 2014.

On the basis of this evidence, the certification panel concluded that overall CLOCKSS can be recognized by its designated community as a trustworthy repository.  However, in the course of the audit, the Certification Advisory Panel identified one issue that CLOCKSS will need to address to more fully satisfy the concerns of its research library constituents: the lack of a formal succession plan.  In addition, two aspects of CLOCKSS operations became apparent that should be understood by stakeholders, as they may have a bearing on future CLOCKSS services. Those issues are described in the section titled, Detailed Audit Findings, with reference to the corresponding criteria in the TRAC checklist.  CLOCKSS has agreed to address the succession plan issue and also to make certain disclosures to CRL periodically, as a condition of continued certification. Those ongoing requirements are outlined in Section C of this report.

CRL assessed CLOCKSS on each of the three categories of criteria specified in TRAC, and has assigned the level of certification below for each. The numeric rating used is based on a scale of 1 through 5, with 5 being the highest level, and 1 being the minimum certifiable level.  

TRAC Category



Optimum rating

Organizational Infrastructure



Digital Object Management



Technologies, Technical Infrastructure, Security






The basis for assigning these ratings is provided in Detailed Audit Findings