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Statens Arkiver
UK Data Archive
University of Glasgow

Understanding and comparing digital curation costs to support smarter investments

The 4C project submitted D3.3, its ‘Curation Costs Exchange Framework’ deliverable to the European Commission this week.

“To date there have been very few opportunities and, due to trust issues, little willingness for digital curation practitioners to exchange information relating to the cost of curation. The Curation Costs Exchange (CCEx) platform allows users to upload their curation costs and compare them with those of others in a secure, controlled fashion,” explains Alex Thirifays of the Danish National Archives who collated the report.

The report, along with the CCEx and the Cost Comparison Tool make up the deliverable (D3.3—Curation Costs Exchange Framework) and address some of these issues of trust and unwillingness, and explains how organisations can use the CCEx to understand and compare digital curation costs to support smarter investments.

"Transparency of digital curation costs will help organisations identify greater efficiencies and pinpoint potential optimisations,” Alex continues. “Insight into how and why peers target their investments can lead to better use of resources, help identify weaknesses and drivers in current practices, and inspire innovations. Last but not least, a community such as that facilitated by the CCEx enables members to collaborate more, communicate more, exchange information and experiences and start addressing the taboo subject of sharing financial information."

With volumes of data increasing, and budgets to manage these data unable to keep pace, investments in digital curation must be strategic and targeted to ensure the best value for money. The CCEx is designed to be used by anyone involved in digital curation - practitioners, researchers, users and re-users, managers and financial controllers, member organisations, policy makers and solutions providers, to help achieve this best value.

The report outlines two key challenges which remain for the CCEx: to gather cost data, and to translate these into figures that organisations of all kinds find meaningful and engaging. The meaningfulness of these figures does not just depend on how results are presented, but on how many cost data sets the CCEx is able to attract in order to generate statistically reliable and useable figures. The meaningfulness of the results is the compelling argument for the submission of new cost data sets.

In short, the CCEx needs community support, it needs digital curators, creators, vendors and funders to use it, add to it, take care of it – and above all share their data with it to make it work.

The full version of the CCEx will be launched at the 4C/DPC ‘Investing in Opportunity: Policy Practice and Planning for a Sustainable Digital Future’ conference on 17 – 18th November at the Wellcome Trust in London, UK and participants will have an opportunity to comment and interact with the tool.

The beta version of the CCEx is now available at: