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Open-Access Resources: Guidelines for Contributors to Libguide


Before including a resource in this guide, please be sure it meets the following criteria:

  1. Links should be to the absolute highest level/most direct point of access to open-access materials.
  2. The content should be easily searchable and readable.
  3. Materials can be (not meant to be exhaustive):
  • websites
  • open-access, full-text databases
  • e-journals (with substantial full-text offerings)
  • direct links to professional organizations’ open-access materials
  • text files
  • pre-prints in the sciences
  • audio files
  • videos

All as appropriate to the scholarly interests of the discipline.

NOTE: “Scholarly” primarily means peer-reviewed but not exclusively and the ultimate decision as to what constitutes scholarly should be left up to the subject specialist. Materials included should serve the research and curricular needs of the university.

Please do not include:

  • Lists of links
  • Gateway sites with lists of links
  • Links to other Libguides or Electronic Books page on the Library home page
  • Links to materials in our subscription databases
  • Landing pages of organization/association sites
  • Links to actual archives (not archives of articles).  Most such pages only include a small amount of archival materials and result in frustrating the user.
  • Government documents, government web-sites, statistical sources, and image databases.  These should be handled in a separate source.
  1. Links which contain both subscription and open-access on the same page are to be included only if the majority of materials are open-access.  The only exception would be to include links that have both open-access and subscription materials if in general, materials on the topic are rare in both open and subscription formats.

Contributors will be prompted periodically to check his/her links for currency and relevance.  

It is of utmost importance that we avoid including deceptive/predatory sources.  Please consult sources linked below to make sure the source you are considering has not already been determined to be deceptive/predatory.

A journal may be legitimate, but still of poor quality.  One means of assessing the influence of a journal is to consult the Cabell's database:

Also, consider this from NLM’s publication selection FAQ:

A journal should demonstrate quality of editorial work, including features that contribute to the objectivity, credibility, and quality of its content. These features may include:

  • Information about the methods of selecting articles (especially on the explicit process of external peer review)
  • Statements indicating adherence to ethical guidelines
  • Evidence that authors have disclosed financial conflicts of interest

Commercial sponsorship should not raise questions about the objectivity of the published material. Additional factors that are considered include the publisher and/or sponsoring organization's history and corporate structure, longevity, and record of performance regarding such issues as: quality of publications; experience in scholarly publishing; involvement with the scientific community; disclosure of and adherence to print and electronic publication standards; and promotion of editorial integrity and independence.

More from NLM:

From NISO:

RSS from Beall's List


RSS from Retraction Watch


Evaluation Sources

Please consult the following resources to assure the source you are considering is worthy for inclusion:

Check out the resources under the Discussion of Open Access tab to get a larger picture of open access. The resources listed on this page are meant to help contributors weed out the worse articles and the most obviously predatory journals. Open access occurs in many forms and the evaluative process and the question of quality are not always a straightforward and simple ones.

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