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Open Access Resources at the UC Libraries

Policies and Procedures for Shared Cataloging, Linking, and Management

June 9, 2006


Open access¹ resources have no financial or legal barriers to access for members of our user community. The following factors must be in evidence:

  1. The publication must be available online at no charge to readers or institutions. No subscription can be required for online access.
  2. Readers must be permitted to use the material for any lawful purpose, including downloading, copying, making derivative works, distributing, printing, searching, or linking to the full texts of works, crawling for indexing, or passing as data to software.
  3. No licensor/licensee relationship shall exist between the publisher or provider of the online publication and the individual user or institution.
  4. The publication must not be a free trial, complimentary access with subscription, part of an open access pilot project, or an “opt-in” title.
  5. The publication must not be part of a mass digitization project (e.g., Google books, Open Content Alliance, etc.).

Note that some open access resources may provide open access to only portions of their content [e.g., just the backfiles (such as NIH Portfolio journals at the PubMed Central website, HighWire and Wiley-Blackwell Open Access Backfiles titles), just the frontfiles, or only some types of articles (some PubMed Central titles)]. In these cases, the 856 field will indicate what content is open access. For example, "Open access to research articles only" will appear in BioMed Central records.

Some open access resources may require registration (i.e., require the user to provide information before access is granted).


  • The Joint Steering Committee on Shared Resources (JSC) oversees UC policies for shared cataloging of open access materials.
  • Scholarly open access resources (e.g., peer-reviewed journals) are eligible for consideration.
  • UC bibliographers must nominate resources for consideration. Unsolicited requests will not be considered.
  • Journals must be indexed in a major disciplinary abstracting or indexing service, defined as any Tier 1 abstract or index or the equivalent free service such as PubMed Central. This list is currently available on the request form.
  • Non-journal open access resources (databases, monographic collections, web sites, map and image collections, etc.) are also eligible for consideration. A brief justification must be submitted for each individual collection according to the evaluation criteria below. Resources delivered through a CDL service (e.g. Luna Insight collections) may be subject to additional technical review by CDL staff after JSC approval.
  • Once approved, the Shared Catalog Program (SCP) at UC San Diego will catalog resources and include these records in the existing SCP data streams sent to campuses. A record will appear in Melvyl after a campus incorporates that record into their local catalog. Linking via UC-eLinks will be implemented, where possible. A resource liaison may be assigned for each resource or package.
  • SCP cataloging priorities are outlined more fully on the SCP website.

Evaluation Criteria

    Making resources available to the UC community entails considerable cost, whether the resources are licensed or open access. Open access resources should be evaluated according to the same quality use indicators that would be applied to licensed content. Examples of factors to consider include:

  • Does the resource satisfy a demonstrable need in ongoing research and/or teaching at UC?
  • Is it produced or supported by a recognizable and reputable organization? Is it likely to persist?
  • Is it stable and reliable (i.e. free of performance or other problems)?
  • Is the interface easy-to-use?
  • Does the resource require specialized technology (non-standard browser plug-in, special font support, use of a specialized application, etc)? If so, additional vetting may be required before the resource is approved.

Procedures for Collections of OA Journals (more than 10 titles)

Requests for cataloging individual items within a collection may also be submitted, using the more detailed project request guidelines on the Shared Cataloging Program website at Requests for New SCP Cataloging Projects. Such requests will be considered on a project basis subject to SCP workflow, available cataloging expertise, and other considerations.

Procedures for OA Journals (10 or fewer individual titles), Monographs or Other non-Journal Content

  Journals (10 or fewer individual titles) Journals (more than 10 titles), Monographs, Images, Maps, Databases, Web Sites, etc.
Nomination A UC bibliographer fills out the request form. The form gets routed to the Shared Cataloging Program (Becky Culbertson). UC bibliographers should fill out the new collection request form. JSC will evaluate all requests.

Verification of open access status UC bibliographers should only submit resources that meet the criteria above. For journals that are automatically approved, the JSC is responsible for verifying the open access status of that resource if that status is challenged.
Approvals The following journals are automatically approved and will be routed for cataloging without any approvals process:
  • Journals indexed in a major disciplinary abstracting and indexing database ; or...
  • Journals that have an existing SCP record (i.e., this is a new open-access URL with new access, equivalent access, or less content).
  • Journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).
The following require JSC approval:
  • Journals not indexed in a major disciplinary A&I database. Becky Culbertson will send Mihoko Hosoi batches of these titles periodically.
JSC will approve nominated resources as part of their regular operations. Resources delivered through a CDL service (e.g., Luna Insight databases) may be subject to additional technical review by CDL staff. When a nominated resource is approved, JSC will inform SCP and UC-eLinks staff so they can begin cataloging and linking, respectively.
  • To the extent possible, SCP catalogers will assign BibPurls (PIDs) and add them to the OCLC record.
  • Non-journals will be cataloged at the collection-level only unless requested otherwise. Requests for item-level cataloging will be considered on a project basis following SCP guidelines at .
  • Monographic collections will be cataloged at the title level when requested and will maintain at least one valid open access link for all campuses. (More...)
  • Cataloging hook in 793:
    • "Open access resource freely available; selected by the UC libraries"
    • When only portions of the resource are open access, the appropriate wording will be added to the 856 $z. Addition of such wording will be added reactively, i.e., when SCP is advised or discovers that portions of the resource are not open access.
  • To the extent possible, article-level linking via UC-eLinks will be created for all open access resources.
  • Open access resources will not be added to the existing CDL MIS database, but may be included in a future ERM system.
  • The CDL will attempt to troubleshoot access issues when reported.
  • Some larger groups of open access resources (e.g., BioMedCentral) may require a resource liaison.

¹ Definition compiled by Dave Fisher, UC San Diego. Sources include: Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing; Budapest Open Access Initiative; SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue 64, August 4, 2003; DOAJ web site; Creative Commons Attribution — Non-Commercial — shareAlike License 1.0.

Last updated: March 21, 2018
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