Electronic Preservation Project for Ukrainian Open Access Journals (EPP UA) aims at safeguarding research content during the war

By Nataliia Kaliuzhna and Nataliya Butych

“Electronic Preservation Project for Ukrainian OA journals (EPP UA)” has been initiated by the TIB – Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology, University Library in Hannover. The TIB is the German national library of science and technology, as well as architecture, chemistry, information technology, mathematics and physics and is the world’s largest specialised library in these subject areas.

The idea of establishing the EPP UA project arose shortly after the Russian Federation’s full scale war against Ukraine, when Dr. Irina Sens, Management Deputy of TIB, proposed saving Ukrainian Open Access journals through web-recording and long-term digital preservation. Following this suggestion, Heike Gutsche, Team Leader of East Asia and Eastern Europe, with the support of the Department of Conservation and Long-Term Archiving, designed the project workflow. The selection criteria were further developed by subject specialists under the supervision of Dr. Elzbieta Gabrys-Deutscher and Dr. Andreas Lütjen. These criteria included research disciplines of TIB relevant subjects, particularly architecture, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, physics, technology, and natural sciences, articles in the English language and proper licensing.

As of summer 2023, the project involves five individuals, three of whom are contributing on a voluntary basis. With the collaborative efforts 42 journals have been successfully web-recorded, comprising a total of 19,731 articles and over 12 GB of content. It was also noted that throughout the process, several challenges have been encountered, including difficulties accessing journal websites due to the blackouts and power shortages in Ukraine and lack of proper licensing for the content being preserved.

There are various reasons why academic journals hosted on institutional platforms can disappear from the internet. These reasons can include technical glitches, hacking incidents, or the simple loss of content during server updates. Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, the risk of losing valuable content increases dramatically. That is why to safeguard the research content of the Ukrainian academic journals from potential destruction, the TIB is conducting this project.

There is no web page of the project, however, there are slides that were presented by the visiting researchers from Ukraine Dr. Sabina Auhunas and Nataliia Kaliuzhna, who are currently working on the project in Hannover together with Saskia Ernert from TIB’s East Asia and Eastern Europe team. The presentation took place on 3rd July 2023 in the framework of the joint workshop “Open Education Resources with Ukraine:  Informatics” within the DAAD programme “Ukraine Digital: Ensuring academic success in times of crisis” which was attended by project partner universities from Ukraine like Lviv Polytechnic National University and others. The project has gained significant attention since then.

More information on the project as well as contact information can be found here.