Skip to Main Content

E-Only Journal Policy

Electronic resources are increasing in importance to faculty and students.  In two surveys conducted over the past three years, UMass-Amherst library users have indicated that increased access to full-text publications is a highly desired service.   One of our primary goals is to provide UMass-Amherst users with access to information when and where they need it, regardless of where the user is located.

This policy is intended to provide guidance on subscribing to electronic-only journals and converting print subscriptions to electronic.  In general, the Libraries will not purchase print and electronic versions of the same title.  The following criteria have been identified to help bibliographers, subject selectors, and liaisons evaluate subscriptions for journal packages and individual titles.

Guidelines for determining acceptable e-only journals

  1. Content: The online journal must contain the fully scholarly content of the print version, including table of contents, letters, editorials, book reviews, supplements, special issues, etc.
  2. Timeliness:  The full content of each issue should be available online no later than the publication of the print.
  3. Format:  The electronic journal should provide access to digitally-generated print page images, for example, PDF files or to support printer-friendly formats.
  4. Image and Quality of Presentation and Display:  The quality of illustrative materials (photographs, tables, figures, etc.) must be included in a legible and desktop accessible format.  Journals printed in color should provide high-quality color images for the electronic version that can be printed locally.  Print quality should be good (e.g., greater than 72 d.p.i.).
  5. Vendor reliability: There must be a reasonable guarantee of stability of the electronic journal.   Speed of loading/accessing content must meet UMass-Amherst Libraries’ users’ expectations.  Server downtime should be minimal.  Publisher or e-journal licensor should provide prompt technical support (as needed) and maintain a reliable, stable interface with performance clauses in license to compensate UMass-Amherst in the event of extended downtime.
  6. Archiving and Ownership: The license must provide for permanent access to the content purchased under the subscription.  Publisher or e-journal licensor should hold appropriate rights for permanent online display of content.  Online access via a journal aggregator should not be considered a substitute for either print or online subscription.  Priority will be given to publishers who participate in the Portico or LOCKSS initiatives.
  7. Access Management:  The institutional site license must allow networked access via Internet Protocol (IP) recognition, or some improved successor authentication options, for all authorized UMass-Amherst users.  The license should allow e-journal access within library facilities for members of the public.   There should be no proprietary hardware and/or software restrictions.
  8. Pricing: Migration to electronic-only should be cost effective and take the following into consideration
    • Cost differential between online only vs. print + online
    • Cost of tiered licensing
    • Cost savings from package deals
    • Savings in binding and storage costs
  9. Scholarly Sharing: The license should allow for fair use and scholarly sharing of content in accordance with the principles of fair use.  It should allow for interlibrary loan, preferably using an electronic copy, in accordance with CONTU (National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyright Works) guidelines.
  10. Classroom Use: The license should allow linking of electronic journal content to the Library’s electronic reserve system or the University’s course management system.
  11. User Expectations and Use Statistics:
    • Consider the characteristics and usage of print title when deciding on e-only access, for example, some titles (People Weekly and Sports Illustrated) because of format and/or usage may lend them to being browsed in print
    • Publisher or e-journal licensor should provide timely, accurate and usable usage statistics, preferably COUNTER (Counting Online Usage of NeTworked Electronic Resources) compliant, for each e-journal under subscription.

Approved by Senior Management Group -  May 2, 2007