Because good research needs good data

4C Project - Collaboration to Clarify the Costs of Curation

Magdalena Getler | 25 March 2013

The EC has launched a major new initiative to help organizations invest confidently in digital curation and preservation. 

4C Project - ‘the Collaboration to Clarify the Costs of Curation’ - will help organisations across Europe to invest more effectively in digital curation and preservation.

Research in digital preservation and curation has tended to emphasize the cost and complexity of the task in hand. 4C reminds us that the point of this investment is to realise a benefit, so our research must encompass related concepts such as ‘risk’, ‘value’, ‘quality’ and ‘sustainability’. Organizations that understand this will be more able to effectively control and manage their digital assets over time, but they may also be able to create new cost-effective solutions and services for others.

"It can be difficult to make a convincing case for investment in digital curation for two reasons" explained Neil Grindley project co-ordinator from Jisc in the UK. "Firstly the costs of curation are currently hard to predict; and secondly the short term benefits of curation are hard to define because it implicitly addresses long-term challenges. So, even when public policy or regulation requires it, practitioners have the unenviable task of persuading executives to invest in new services whilst being uncertain about their potential impact and their actual cost. This is particularly hard when they have to compete with immediate priorities that bring instant and obvious returns."

The DCC is pleased to be a partner in this new European project, "HEIs in the UK are eager for tools to help them assess the costs of digital curation and to develop sustainable business models," explains Joy Davidson (DCC). "4C will help institutions to make sense of existing cost models and to invest more effectively in digital curation and preservation. By focussing on concepts including risk and value, the 4C project will help institutions to better assess a potential return on their investment." 

The partners involved are: Danish National Archives (Denmark), DANS - Data Archiving and Network Service (Netherlands), Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (Germany), Digital Curation Centre (UK), Digital Preservation Coalition (UK), Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute (UK), Institute for Information Systems and Computing Research (Portugal), Jisc (UK), Keep Solutions (Portugal), National Library of (Estonia), Royal Library of Denmark (Denmark), Secure Business (Austria), UK Data Archive (UK).

The project was launched on 1 Feb 2013, for more information please visit the website: