Digital Preservation Cost Models

I blogged back in January on the JISC Research Data Preservation Costs study and promised an update at the end of March. Well the draft final report titled ‘Keeping Research Data Safe: A Cost Model and Guidance for UK Universities’ is now with JISC and being peer-reviewed.

Its been a significant effort and I think it should be a major contribution to thinking on digital preservation cost models and costs in general: hopefully the final report will be out later this Spring. In short we have produced:

’¢ A cost framework consisting of:

o A list of key cost variables divided into economic adjustments (inflation/deflation, depreciation, and costs of capital), and service adjustments (volume and number of deposits, user services, etc);

o An activity model divided into pre-archive, archive, and support services;

o A resources template including major cost categories in TRAC ( a methodology for Full Economic Costing used by UK universities); and divided into the major phases from our activity model and by duration of activity.

Typically the activity model will help identify resources required or expended, the economic adjustments help spread and maintain these over time, and the service adjustments help identify and adjust resources to specific requirements. The resources template provides a framework to draw these elements together so that they can be implemented in a TRAC-based cost model. Normally the cost model will implement these as a spreadsheet, populated with data and adjustments agreed by the institution.

The three parts of the cost framework can be used in this way to develop and apply local cost models. The exact application may depend on the purpose of the costing which might include: identifying current costs; identifying former or future costs; or comparing costs across different collections and institutions which have used different variables. These are progressively more difficult. The model may also be used to develop a charging policy or appropriate archiving costs to be charged to projects.

In addition to the cost framework there are:

’¢ A series of case studies from Cambridge University, Kings College London, Southampton University, and the Archaeology Data Service at York University, illustrating different aspects of costs for research data within HEIs;

’¢ A cost spreadsheet based on the study developed by the Centre for e-Research Kings College London for its own forward planning and provided as a confidential supplement to its case study in the report;

’¢ Recommendations for future work and use/adaptation of software costing tools to assist implementation.

Watch this space (well blog) for a future announcement of the final report and url for the download.

One Response to “Digital Preservation Cost Models”

  1. […] Research Data Preservation Costs Report I have posted two previous entries to the blog in March and January detailing progress with the JISC-funded research data preservation costs study. I am […]

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