Critically Endangered small

Correspondence and other records which describe the configuration and delivery of research but which are ancillary to the core research outputs, including reviews, drafts and correspondence between researchers.

Group:  Research Outputs

Trend: New Entry

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Last update: 2019

Previous category: New Entry

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, assessment in twelve months.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on many people and sectors.

Effort to Preserve

Loss seems likely: by the time tools or techniques have been developed the material will likely have been lost.


Email boxes of senior academics; social media posts; personal spaces on institutional networks

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Originating researcher no longer active or changed research focus; staff on temporary contracts; dependence on single student or staff member; weak or fluid institutional commitment to subject matter; weak institutional commitment to data sharing; complicated or contested intellectual property; encryption

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Recognition of value of correspondence; integration with CRIS; routine use of EDRMS; documented and managed professionally; separation of personal and corporate identies

2019 Review

Research data has been an entry in the BitList since 2017 so the Jury this year has tried to spell out the different complexities that arise in the preservation of research outputs more generally.  This entry represents archives behind research which is available from previous generations of researchers in physical form but which are now electronic.

Additional Jury Comments

In ideal circumstance, correspondence should be stored in EDRMS systems separately from research data and subject to different retention schedules i.e. 10-20 years.  There may be challenges connecting the EDRMs holdings to the research data and vice versa.

Advocacy and research re the scale of the problem may be required to encourage academics to use EDRMs for example for correspondence and integration with CRIS. Simplified tools and workflows to move data from CRIS to Repository to Preservation systems

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