Guidelines for Selection of Free and Open Access Web-Based Resources
Recognizing that Web-based, free and open
access resources of potential value abound, selectors are encouraged to utilize
these resources where appropriate. Suggested criteria for selection of these
materials for inclusion on the UMD Libraries website, in the WorldCat UMD
Catalog, and/or in Database Finder or ResearchPort are provided here.
For purposes of this document, concepts are defined
- Free web-based resources – include websites, documents, databases or other
similar resources available to library users free of charge via the Internet.
- Open access – materials are those that are considered "available freely to
the public via the Internet," which the
Open Access Initiative defines as "permitting any users to read, download,
copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles,
crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any
other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than
those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself."
- Selection of free and open access electronic resources should follow the
guidelines developed for all electronic resources, and should meet the same
selection criteria as resources that are purchased.
- Selection should be based on the site's ability to support and enhance the
research and teaching activities of the University of Maryland. They should be
of a scholarly nature or likely to assist in advancing scholarly research or
university education programs. Relevance to campus teaching and research needs
should be the primary selection criterion.
- The quality and content of the electronic resource are likewise of great
importance. Quality indicators can include peer review of the site, review of
the site by other librarians, an authoritative sponsor or producer, and evidence
of ongoing support (creation of archives, mirror sites, etc.).
- Ideally, open access publications should appear in the
of Open Access Journals, be published by members of the
Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) or be publications that
demonstrate adherence to the OASPA
- The amount of content provided should be significant.
- In subject areas where similar sites exists, emphasis should be placed on
creating a selective collection that highlights key resources rather than a
comprehensive listing of all known resources.
- Ease of use is also a relevant selection factor for electronic resources.
Selected resources should be self-explanatory with regard to their use and offer
effective support for browsing or searching.
- Reliability and stability can also influence selection. Resources known to
be frequently unavailable should not be selected.
- If registration and/or licensing are required, licenses must be submitted
for approval through the Libraries' license review process. Resources may be
rejected if licensing terms are unacceptable.
- Fee-based resources that are available on a free-trial basis for a limited
period of time or password-protected Web sites available to single users are not
appropriate for selection.
- If a resource is found to no longer be in compliance with these guidelines,
it may be removed.
Created 1999; Updated: 08/23/2012; Revised and expanded: 5/21/15
Reviewed and approved by CDC 6/23/15