Collection Development Policy for Open Access and Born-Digital Resources

University Libraries, Unt Policy And Procedure Memorandum.


The Libraries of UNT are committed to the principles of open access, as outlined in the IFLA Statement on Open Access to Scholarly Literature and Research Documentation. Resources provided by the University of North Texas Libraries include open access and born-digital products to support the educational and research-related goals of the university.


The Libraries of UNT are committed to the principles of open access, as outlined in the IFLA Statement on Open Access to Scholarly Literature and Research Documentation. Resources provided by the University of North Texas Libraries include open access and born-digital products to support the educational and research-related goals of the university.

In addition, the Libraries provide support for members of the UNT community who want to publish in open access formats. For more information about open access support for scholarly works produced at UNT, please visit Open Access @ UNT.

Goals And Definitions

The Libraries strive to meet the research needs of all users, including community users, by actively seeking out and supporting barrier-free access to quality information.

Born-digital information is knowledge that first appears in an electronic form and that is accessible in an online environment using a computer. Open access information is a subset of born-digital information, access to which is online, free of charge and free, in varying degrees, of most copyright and licensing restrictions. Open access resources typically permit users to download, copy, print, display, distribute, search, index, and link to the information; open access resources remain the intellectual property of their creators, who have attribution rights as well as control over the integrity of their work. In the current information landscape many, if not most, library resources are born-digital. The Libraries establish access to authoritative born-digital resources via a wide variety of acquisition methods, including purchase, harvest and subsequent hosting of online materials, and referral to open access content that is not held by the Libraries.

For the purposes of this policy open access and born-digital materials include:

  • Resources clearly designated as open access, provided via the Internet with unrestricted access to peer-reviewed scholarly research;
  • Resources clearly designated as open content, provided via the Internet with unrestricted access to information for which the creators have formally asserted a statement that the information is licensed under open content standards, such as a variety of Creative Commons licenses; and
  • Resources that are freely available via the Internet, that meet standards of quality and value as described in the Selection Guidelines portion of the general collection development policy, and that are otherwise known or assumed to be under copyright.

Selection Responsibility

Primary responsibility for selection of open access and born-digital materials rests with the Collection Development Department. Secondary responsibility rests with the subject liaison librarians.

Faculty are invited and encouraged to recommend for inclusion in the collection any open access or other born-digital resources in the fields of their particular expertise. Students and staff may recommend appropriate materials as well. Recommendations may be submitted by contacting the the Collection Development Department or by completing an online form.

Selection Guidelines

The Collection Development Policy of the University of North Texas Libraries provides an over-arching framework that establishes the primary goals of all collection development decisions. Selection of open access and born-digital resources shall conform to these guidelines. Web-based resources should meet the same criteria that apply to resources traditionally purchased in tangible formats (for example, the resource supports or enhances the study, research and instructional needs of the students and faculty; the resource is of a scholarly nature or is likely to advance scholarly research or university programs).

In addition to the Selection Guidelines portion of the general collection development policy for all materials (especially related to the lasting value of content, strength of present holdings, reputation or authoritativeness, and currency), the following evaluative criteria should be used in selecting open access and born-digital materials:

  • Quality – the information in the resource logically pertains to the resource’s apparent subject; the information is reliably accurate, demonstrably factual, and reasonably comprehensive or complete; indicators of quality can include peer reviews or librarian reviews of site and/or site content, the presence of an authoritative author or publisher, a professional look and feel, or evidence of continuing support of the resource such as archives; contact information is available for the author and publishing authority;
  • Authoritativeness – the credentials of the author and publisher are clearly identifiable, the legitimacy of the publishing domain of the source is apparent (e.g. .edu, .gov, .org or .net are preferred to other types of domains), and the publishing agency is recognized as reputable and likely to persist;
  • Objectivity – the information is provided in a circumspect manner that is open to verification and validation, with minimal advertising or other nuisances that distract the user from the primary information in the resource;
  • Currency – the publication date of the information is recent (within the parameters of the subject), clearly stated, and/or updated regularly as stated on the resource; and
  • Functionality – any citations or links are correct and functional; no (or minimal) additional software beyond a standard web browser is needed to view the resource; the resource does not require fees for access, and there is a preference that registration for access not be required; and if at all possible the resource offers options for viewing text only, for by-passing frames, or for changing the display for better viewing.


All materials within the scope of this policy shall be cataloged and findable by conducting a search of the UNT Libraries catalog for the title, subject, author or publisher. Entries for serial titles shall be added to the e-journals index, and entries for databases shall be listed in the databases index. In addition, the article-level content of serial items, when available, shall be included in article discovery service indexes.

Once identified by searching the UNT Libraries catalog, materials shall be accessible from the discovery record, via the Internet without fee and with minimal or no barriers.

Additional access points for open access and born-digital materials shall be provided via subject guides and class pages published by the various subject liaisons.

The University of North Texas Libraries adheres to all applicable copyright laws of the United States and the UNT Copyright Compliance Policy.

When the Collection Development Department certifies that a freely-accessible open access or born-digital online resource has value in supporting the curricular and research needs of the University and its communities, the Collection Development Department shall ensure the creation of a record that refers researchers to the resource from the Libraries’ discovery systems. Because such referral does not reproduce the resource, prepare derivatives of it, distribute it, perform it or display it, no licensing or permission to provide a discovery record is deemed necessary.

For collections of digital resources that are acquired by the UNT Digital Library, see Collaborative Efforts with the Digital Libraries Division, below.

Collection Maintenance

In the interest of ensuring that open access and born-digital materials are relevant to the support of the UNT curricula and research needs, the collection of open access and born-digital materials shall be regularly reviewed for accessibility and on-going appropriateness. The primary purpose of periodic review efforts is to ensure that URLs link to the expected resource. Secondary purposes of periodic review efforts include evaluation of resources for suitability and continued relevance to the curriculum of the university.

Because of the research status of the UNT Libraries, weeding, or withdrawal, of materials shall be performed on a very limited basis. Any weeding from the collection will be the responsibility of the Collection Development Department. Examples of types of materials to be considered for withdrawal include superseded works, resources that have become obsolete, resources that are no longer available under the aegis of fee-free open access, and resources that have vanished from the landscape without successors, identifiable archives or other means to reestablish their viability as research resources.

Collaborative Efforts With the Digital Libraries Division

The Digital Libraries Division provides a wide variety of digital content from multiple partners, contributors and online information sources. From mass digitization projects and large-scale harvests of web sites to targeted subject collections of digitized and born-digital materials, the Digital Libraries Division offers state-of-the-art infrastructure, management, storage, access, and preservation services for digital knowledge.

In support of the UNT Libraries’ strategic plan purpose of advancing the research value of its collections, the Collection Development Department may designate subject areas for intensive collection development by the creation of digital collections of open access and born-digital materials. The decision to locally host targeted subject area content that is created by agents other than the Libraries shall be negotiated between the Digital Libraries Division and the Collection Development Department, taking into consideration factors such as storage capacity, indexing capability, staffing and the importance of the collection to fulfill the research needs of the anticipated users or to complement subject areas for which a gap has been identified. Creation of digital collections for specific subject areas may involve the establishment of creative partnerships with content providers and collaborative arrangements in which the UNT Digital Library acts as a hosting, discovery and preservation agent for content that is collected.

When the UNT Libraries collect copies of electronic resources, under negotiated agreements with the authors and publishers of open access or born-digital content, the resources shall be added to the UNT Digital Library and shall conform to the UNT Digital Library’s specifications and other requirements. Access to these resources shall be through a search of the Libraries’ resource discovery systems and of the gateway to the Digital Library.

Sources Consulted

Bailey, Charles W., Jr. 2006. What is Open Access? Accessed December 2012 and May 2013.

Cornell University Library. Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages. Accessed December 2012. Derived from: Kapoun, Jim. “Teaching undergrads WEB evaluation: A guide for library instruction.” C&RL News (July/August 1998): 522-523.

Grahame, Vicki, and McAdam, Tim. 2004. Managing Electronic Resources. Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries.

Hood, Anna K. 2007. Open Access Resources. Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries.


  • Approved: 11/15/13
  • Revised: 03/05/20

License Information

This Policy: "Collection Development Policy for Open Access and Born-Digital Resources" by UNT Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.