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Curation Costs Exchange

Understanding and comparing digital curation costs to support smarter investments

Summary of cost models

What are the available cost models?

Several cost models exist, and you will need to judge which offers the best fit for your organisation's needs. The following set of ten current and emerging cost and benefit models illustrate the range of options available to you.

Total Cost of Preservation
Cost Model for Digital Archiving
Cost Model for Digital Preservation
DP4lib Cost Model
Economic Model for Long-Term Storage
Keeping Research Data Safe
LIFE3 Costing Model
NASA Cost Estimating Tool
PrestoPRIME Cost Model for Digital Storage
Test bed Cost Model for Digital Preservation

What should I look for?

Each of these ten cost models has been mapped against a set of criteria to make it easier for you to judge which might best meet your particular requirements. We've looked at the range of information assets that the model can handle, which activities they cover, and which cost elements and variables they account for. We've also grouped the criteria into the following five broad categories so you can see at a glance which features might matter most to you.

  • Model type - does the model cover past and future costs, activities, benefits?
  • Resource breakdown - does the model cover direct and indirect costs?
  • Activity breakdown - does the model break down all activities by type?
  • Adjustments - does the model allow you to account for volume and complexity of assets?
  • Usability - what sort of learning curve is required to use the model?

How do the models compare?

Click on the category of criteria that interests you to reveal a more detailed evaluation, and/or on the model name for a short description of the model including its key features. Models that we consider to satisfy a given criteron are indicated by ; those that we consider do not satisfy a given criterion are indicated by ; those for which we could reach no clear conclusion for a given criterion during this review period are indicated by .

Accounts for the economic lifecycle of digital curation
Accounts for benefits and value
Includes activity checklist
Accounts for capital costs
Accounts for indirect costs
Is based on a widely-used/standardised structure
Is based on a custom structure
Breaks down cost by amount of assets
Is based on OAIS entities
Covers pre-ingest functions
Allows for specifying the number of assets
Allows for specifying upload/download amount and frequency
Handles simple data formats
Handles complex data formats
Handles preservation strategies based on migration
Allows structured specification of the quality of individual activities
Allows structured specification of repository quality
Has repository managers or preservation specialists as the intended users
Is well documented
Can be learned by users in less than a day
Can be learned by users in less than a week
Enables users to generate results within half a day
Is implemented in a spreadsheet
Is implemented in a Web application
Has a graphical user interface
Is modular
Provides default data
Allows parameters and values to be changed
Provides multiple sets of default values for different use cases

Not sure yet which model best meets your needs?

Check out our detailed evaluation of these models against an expanded set of 78 assessment criteria to help you make your decision.

Next steps

Now you have worked through the summary of available cost models, continue with our advice on using cost models to describe your curation-related costs.