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Policy for the Withdrawal of Print Journal Volumes and Replacement with an Electronic Version

The University of Maryland Libraries recognizes the importance of electronic information resources to students, faculty and staff in order to support teaching and research. Many scholarly journals are now exclusively available electronically, and UM users have responded enthusiastically to the increasing number of electronic titles that have been made available through ResearchPort.

In acquiring electronic journal access, the Libraries have taken advantage of publishers bundling journals into larger collections. As a result, the Libraries are able to offer more full-text journals, the content of which would otherwise only be obtainable to users through interlibrary loan. In addition to providing access to more scholarly content, electronic journals are available to students and faculty at their desktops, whether they are on campus or off. This access to scholarly literature without the restrictions of time or place is very beneficial.

The Libraries has built its journal collection, in support of the University's teaching and research needs, over the course of more than one hundred years. The overall integrity of the collection has always been and remains a high priority and until now print volumes were the only available archival resource and rarely discarded.

The increasing availability of electronic journal holdings for the entire run of a journal title and the current lack of additional physical space for print journal volumes housed in the campus Libraries has compelled the Libraries to examine the feasibility of withdrawing print journal volumes and replacing them with an electronic version.

The following criteria will be used to evaluate journal titles to determine the suitability of replacing the print with an electronic version:

  1. Completeness of content: The electronic version must include all articles, letters to the editor, announcements, supplements and conference proceedings that are found in the print copy.
  2. Quality of images, figures and pictures: The pictorial quality in the electronic version must be represented in a legible and desktop accessible format. The images and other graphics should compare favorably to the print version. Three quality designations will be utilized to ensure the image quality is of a reasonable standard to meet the needs of UM users:
    • Acceptable: The quality in the electronic version meets or exceeds that of the print copy;
    • Questionable: The quality may or may not be acceptable. Library staff will consult with faculty to make a reasoned judgment.
    • Poor: The quality is unacceptable. The print copy will be retained until the publisher makes improvements to achieve an adequate standard.
  3. Perpetual access: The publisher/vendor must ensure stable, electronic access through an acceptable interface for the entire run of content the Libraries has purchased. If the publisher goes out of business in the future or ceases to support the purchased content, there must be provisions in place for another publisher/vendor or a reputable third party to provide the journal content. Examples of third parties include national libraries, like the National Library of Medicine's PubMedCentral, scholarly presses like Highwire Press, or emerging preservation coalitions like LOCKSS and Portico. It will not be acceptable for the publisher/vendor to provide the Libraries a local file of journal content in lieu of access to a hosting site. Journals collected in aggregated databases will not be considered an acceptable substitute for a hosting site.
  4. Access: Access to journal content must be offered through IP authentication. Remote access must be allowed with standard UM user name and password authentication.
  5. Licensing Terms: The license for electronic journal backfiles must allow for simultaneous users, printing of content, interlibrary loan, and other reasonable uses. The need for proprietary software hosted on the Libraries' local server to access journal content is not acceptable.
  6. Usage Data: Vendors should provide regular usage data for the titles that the Libraries purchase. The data should conform to industry standards in order to be useful in assessing the utility of the Libraries' collections.
  7. Reliability and Technical Support: The speed of loading/accessing the content must meet UM user's expectations. The publisher/vendor must provide adequate technical support and clear lines of communication to resolve access problems in a timely manner.