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OPEN FL: For Librarians

Guide for the open and affordable learning community of Florida, OPEN FL.

For Librarians

The following information should be incorporated into the libraries overall general collection content guide.  These overarching principles are placed here as they also apply to the guidance of collecting open access (OA) content. 

Collection Development Principles:

The library's collections directly reflect and support its mission and the goals of the institution. The library's collection development program gives highest priority to acquiring materials needed by students to meet curricular needs; faculty to conduct classes and support their scholarly research; and faculty and staff to carry out the functions of their positions.  Materials collected typically are college-level and scholarly in nature. The exceptions to this are materials in Curriculum Materials or Juvenile Literature Collections. Textbooks and educational resources (i.e study guides, and workbooks) required for individual class use may not be normally purchased by the library, but might be considered as OA content. In order to provide users the resources they need in a format that will be as compatible as possible with future technology and media, the library may only be able to offer content in this collection that are in electronic format. 

Materials collected are in support of the institution's teaching and research mission. Primary emphasis is on acquiring current materials, with a growing emphasis on increasing expanded access to other scholarly resources. The library will seek the most effective and economical methods possible for its collection acquisitions, licensing, and contracting procedures.


  • Subject: all subjects are covered that meet the research and instruction needs of faculty or students.

  • Acceptable sources: academic, government, commercial, non-profit and private sources are generally acceptable.  Other sources will be reviewed before inclusion.

  • Level: the primary target group should be higher education.

  • Content: All content should be openly, freely available on the host site.

  • All languages will be considered.

  • All open access content produced by institution authors should be deposited into the institutional repository, to have the item indexed in the discovery service.  This content may also be published through additional channels.  

All content should be evaluated on the:

  • Quality of the content

  • Credibility of the source

  • Validity of the content

  • Usability of the content and source site

Controversial Materials:

The library recognizes that some materials and programming are controversial in nature and may offend some patrons. However, disapproval of a library resource by an individual or group does not cause that resource to be denied to all individuals or groups. If an individual or group believes that a library resource is objectionable, reconsideration of the material may be requested. The library supports the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement, and the Freedom to View Statement, which are included in the Intellectual Freedom statement below. Questions about materials in the collection should be referred to library leadership.

Duplication of Formats:

In general, the library will not purchase duplicate formats of the same item, however each resource will be evaluated individually. When an item is available in multiple formats, the following selection criteria will be considered in making format decisions:

  • how an item will be used

  • potential audience

  • ease of access

  • space requirements

  • preservation considerations


Open Access resources may not have a fee to acquire the content, however, we do recognize that there are costs involved. System and human resources will be needed to collect, curate, and connect this content.  It is recommended that the cost of inclusion of open access content be reviewed before items are selected for the collection.  This does not have to be an exact figure, but a good estimate will help to determine if the content is worth the costs.


Because open access is a new and evolving collection it is recommended that this collection be regularly reviewed for accessibility and suitability by all stakeholders.  Library withdrawal of collection content is done on a limited basis following best practices and with input from stakeholders. To recommend changes to this guide please contact library leadership.

Open Access (OA) Content Selection:

Primary responsibility for selection of open access content will reside with the Content Development and Digital Scholarship Librarians.  Secondary responsibility rests with Academic/Subject Librarians.  Anyone from the university community may provide recommendations for inclusion.  Recommendations for content can be considered by submitting them to the Content Development Librarian(s). 

It is recommended that all open access content included within locally hosted platforms (i.e. the institutional repository or press) be made available through the discovery service/catalog.

All OA Content Types

For new content considered, it should:

  • Clearly state who the publisher and/or supporting organization is of the content.  

    • The name of the publisher or content should be unique or one that is not easily confused with another.  

  • Clearly display contact information on their site.

    • The address should be checked to ensure it is a real publisher location. 

  • Provided through a stable platform and available for a period of one year or longer.  

    • The amount and type of content published in the past should also be reviewed.

  • Support the OAI protocol or otherwise make their metadata and content easily harvested. 

    • The OAI should be tested during the review process.

  • Clearly state copyright and licensing information and reviewed before inclusion.  

    • A copy of the permissions or license may be retained for after the review.

  • Clearly state high ethical and professional standards.

  • Not be misleading or attempt to mimic another.  

  • Free of all paywalls or otherwise any fee required by the user.  

  • Free of excessive pop-ups or any form of malicious activity.

  • Self-published items should have a review of the funding agency and author conducted.

    • Determine eligibility, including the qualifications to write this type of content and reviews conducted on the content.    


A textbook is defined as: 

“An edition of a book specifically intended for the use of students who are enrolled in a course of study or preparing for an examination on a subject or in an academic discipline, ... sometimes published in conjunction with a workbook, lab manual, and/or teacher's manual. Also refers to the standard work used for a specific course of study, whether published in special edition or not.” 

— Joan M. Reitz Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science, (11/20/2017) 

It is recommended that textbooks are added when:

  • Experts in the field recognize a particular textbook as a classic.
  • Presents material in a way that is especially valuable to users in the opinion of teaching faculty and librarians; and whose usefulness to the readers will probably outlive related course offerings.
  • Other kinds of monographic publications in a curricular area are sparse.
  • Covers an important extra-curricular subject not otherwise represented in the collection. 
  • Currently used by faculty or students in class setting.


It is recommended that monographs have an ISBN, however this is not required.  It is recommended that content listed with the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) be added to the General Collection.  If the monograph is not listed within the DOAB then the content should meet the following additional requirements:

  • Content has been Peer-reviewed.

  • Should contain an Open Access or Creative Commons License.

  • The publisher should be a member or follow OASPA's Code of Conduct.

It is recommended that the archive and preservation policies of the publisher be reviewed with inclusion, including if they are indexed by Crossref and have doi's.  Publishers that do not preserve their content may still be eligible for inclusion, but they may require additional resources to preserve the content on our system.


It is recommended that serials listed within the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) be added to the General Collection.  Serials that are not within DOAJ should meet the following additional requirements:


It is recommended that databases found within,,, US (, UK (, and European Union ( be considered for inclusion in the general collection.  Databases that are not within these resources should meet the following additional requirements:


It is recommended that image sets found within the Open Content Program, NGA Images, and U.S. History Images.  Images and image sets located within wikimedia should be within the public domain and could also be considered for inclusion in the open access collection.  Images that are not within these resources should meet the following additional requirements:

  • The image should not be found in a reverse image search as a copyrighted resource.

  • The image should not contain trademarked content.

  • The creator of the image should be clearly attributed.

Government Documents

Following Federal Depository Library Program principles, the library may make collected documents freely available to all library users, including the general public. Depository items received by the library remain the property of the U.S. Government, with the library responsibility to provide access to and maintain the collection according to FDLP guidelines. All titles received should be retained for at least five years prior to being withdrawn (exceptions are titles that have been superseded).


General Content Development Guidelines  KSU Library for selection

Author: Rebel Cummings-Sauls