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Open Investment Evaluation Criteria

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Open access is a core value of McLaughlin Library. Our Open Investments Strategy Committee (OISC) is responsible for managing and strategically investing the open access budget. OISC evaluates investments based on the following criteria:

Governance & Sustainability 

We support:

  • organizations or business models that seek to shift scholarly communications away from commercial or “closed access” models of for-profit publishing and scholarly infrastructure   
  • models of investment that are economically sustainable while also ensuring the widest possible access to scholarly and curriculum materials
  • viable long-term actors that have the potential for creating lasting positive impact on the scholarly communications ecosystem

How is this assessed?

  • Is the organization a non-profit?
    • In the US: Look for mention of 501(c)(3) filing on the About Us page. 
    • In Canada: Look for mention of non-profit status on the About Us page.  
      • In Ontario: Search for the organization’s name on the Ontario Business Registry, and look for mention of non-profit status.
  • Is there adequate representation of a variety of stakeholders represented within the organization? 
    • Is there mention of an advisory board or steering committee?  
    • Is this group comprised of scholars, librarians, or other members of the research community?  
  • Is the business model viable and sustainable?  
    • Does the mission statement, about page, or annual report indicate past funding success and future funding sources? 
    • Is there evidence from the broader OA field indicating this organization’s credibility or reputation? Is there a successful track record? 

Indigenization, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (IEDI)  

We support:

  • organizations that espouse principles of IEDI through their values, their operations, and/or their outputs 
  • investments that mobilize open scholarship from equity-deserving scholars located in all parts of the world, including those from the Global South 
  • investments that mobilize U of G’s decolonization and reconciliation goals, as outlined in the University’s Indigenous initiatives strategy

How is this assessed?

  • Does the organization provide access to an IEDI or diversity statement on their website? 
  • Is the organization situated in the Global South?  
  • Was the content or infrastructure produced by scholars or workers in the Global South?  
  • Where Indigenous knowledges (IK) are being handled, is the resource/investment guided by the CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance, and/or the First Nations Information Governance Centre’s principles of ownership, control, access, and possession (OCAP Principles)? 


We support freedom from surveillance online, including the unnecessary collection and harvesting of our users’ data.

How is this assessed?

  • A link to the organization’s privacy statement 
  • An authentication model that supports the library’s existing proxy login infrastructure 
  • An authentication model that does not require users to create a personal account or divulge any personal information  

Accessibility (A11Y)

We support:

  • an open scholarship ecosystem that is inclusive and provides equal access to everyone, especially people with disabilities  
  • organizations that develop products with the consideration of disabled users in their designs

How is this assessed?

  • Does the organization have an a11y statement? 
  • Does the investment adhere to user accessibility standards (such as WCAG, AODA, and/or ADA)? 
  • Is there any documentation of audits or assessments that have been used to evaluate a digital product’s compliance with accessibility standards and guidelines?  

Technical Considerations

We support investments that:

  • meet the technical requirements needed to effectively maintain principles of open scholarship 
  • effectively integrate or complement the library’s existing technical infrastructure to ensure that upkeep of our systems is sustainable  
  • support open scholarship infrastructure through the use of persistent identifiers, open standards, and open-source software, as applicable

How is this assessed?

  • Where applicable, does this investment adhere to preservation standards such as LOCKSS or the FAIR Guiding Principles
  • Where applicable, is there evidence that this investment can be incorporated into Linked Open Data initiatives? (e.g., Metadata standards, or persistent identifiers)  
  • Does this investment need to integrate with the library’s existing technical infrastructure? If so, does it? (This includes open infrastructures, but also proprietary tools such as Omni, Alma, LibGuides, or Ares) 
  • Where applicable, what sort of staff time and expertise is required to setup and maintain this investment? 

Pricing & Licensing 

We support:

  • investments that offer transparent and equitable pricing models and, where costs may increase, they are predictable and justifiable    
  • investments that are affordable and economically sustainable within the library’s broader acquisitions budget
  • models of investment that are economically sustainable while also ensuring the widest possible access to scholarly and curriculum materials
  • organizations that have a stated commitments to open licensing

How is this assessed?

  • Are there any details on what the funds will be put towards (such as staffing, a developer roadmap, advocacy, or public awareness campaigns, etc.)?  
  • Do we have available funds to meet the costs of this investment?
  • Where applicable, does the product have a clearly stated open license? 
    • This might include mention of CC-BY or CC-BY-NC-ND. For more information on CC licensing, see How open is it

U of G Considerations

We support:

  • investments that help to mobilize the mission or strategic goals of key campus stakeholders, especially those that seek to create a more open and equitable information ecosystem for everyone.   
  • investments that benefit the U of G community  
  • a healthy balance of investments, including a combination of investment types (content, infrastructure, and advocacy); a variety of open scholarship types (open access research, open data, and open educational resources); and a mix of content that supports a variety of disciplines  

How is this assessed?

  • Has the investment been identified as crucial to meeting the strategic goals of a campus unit, either directly or indirectly?  
    • Was it requested by a key stakeholder or campus partner?  
    • Was it specifically referenced in a strategic document from a key stakeholder or campus partner? 
  • Does the proposed investment compliment or enhance U of G’s existing OA investments?
    • Does it fill a need or gap within our OA infrastructure or collections content?   
    • Does it need to integrate with our existing infrastructure (OA or otherwise)? If so, does it?  
    • Are there peer/competitor products that offer similar coverage that we should also consider? 
  • Does the proposed investment benefit the U of G community? 
    • Does it provide improved access to content or functionality that supports U of G’s unique curriculum or research needs?  
    • Does it help to mobilize the scholarly, educational, or creative outputs of the U of G community? 

Note: the evaluation criteria above do not apply to transformative agreements. Transformative agreements are agreements made with publishers that allow us to retain our subscription access to their content, while also subsidizing (or paying outright) for all U of G authors to publish open access within their publications. The OISC provides analysis, evaluation, and input on transformative agreements using other venues, and the funding for these investments falls outside of OISC’s scope. 

The library is committed to ensuring that members of our user community with disabilities have equal access to our services and resources and that their dignity and independence is always respected. If you encounter a barrier and/or need an alternate format, please fill out our Library Print and Multimedia Alternate-Format Request Form. Contact us if you’d like to provide feedback: