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Vendor Policy

Introduction

The WVU Libraries support the following principles in providing access to all materials, whether purchased, licensed, or open access.

All contracts must conform to all applicable West Virginia state laws.

Vendors must clearly communicate with us regarding product contents, options for purchase, and pricing. Vendors must provide accurate, timely billing without unexpected increases in price. Vendors must meet professional standards of collegial and informative communication.

Our policy prioritizes openness and pricing. WVU Libraries advocate for openness and expect vendors to meet us in these major areas:

  1. Authorized Users
  2. Privacy
  3. Usability & Accessibility
  4. Author Rights
  5. Green Open Access Policy
  6. Fair Use/Scholarly Sharing
  7. Institutional Repository
  8. Interlibrary Loan
  9. Transparency
  10. Usage Data
  11. Pricing

The WVU Libraries are not alone in maintaining these expectations. Our policy is modelled after policies developed by other universities including but not limited to Iowa State University, the University of North Texas, and the University of Washington. The WVU Libraries are grateful to these institutions for permission to incorporate ideas and language from their published policies.

1. Authorized Users

We are committed to licensing resources for the benefit of all students and researchers at West Virginia University campuses, including individuals visiting the University to use our collections onsite.

“Authorized users” include all current students, faculty, and staff of West Virginia University. As a public institution with a broad mandate to serve the State of West Virginia, WVU Libraries’ “authorized users” also include other library patrons accessing the WVU Libraries’ collection onsite (a.k.a. “walk-in users”).

2. Privacy

Vendor privacy policies must be available upfront and understandable to users. The library and users must be notified of changes to these policies. Vendors should ensure the privacy of our community members by using HTTPS for all content delivered through the web. Vendors should abide by the guidelines set forth in the American Library Association's Library Privacy Guidelines for Vendors 1 , including securing and encrypting data, securely destroying data that is no longer needed, and giving users options as to how much information is collected.

3. Usability & Accessibility

We are committed to providing equitable service and access to information for all our library users. Licensors shall ensure their resources are accessible and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by providing closed captions for all video content. Licensors should also ensure that their resources support accommodative mechanisms including but not limited to screen readers, large-print formats, alternative input and navigation tools, and other technologies as outlined in the Web Accessibility Initiative Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2 . As a part of these measures, we request that licensors complete and maintain ongoing compliance with the WCAG Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) 3 . 4

4. Author Rights

WVU authors should be able to use their own scholarly work when and how they see fit, including self-archiving or depositing their work in an institutional repository. Publishers should permit authors to share their own scholarly work openly for the public good, without delay or publisher embargo. Therefore, no author should be compelled or required to relinquish copyright. Publishers will directly deposit scholarly articles in institutional repositories immediately upon publication or will provide tools/mechanisms that facilitate immediate deposit. 5

5. Green Open Access Policy

As we have laid out elsewhere in this document, the WVU Libraries have a strong commitment to openness for scholarly works. Wherever possible, WVU Libraries prefer that vendors permit WVU authors to retain the copyright for author-submitted manuscripts (pre-prints) and author accepted manuscripts (post-prints) (see Author Rights). The intent is to allow WVU authors to use these works for non-commercial, scholarly purposes including, but not limited to, dissemination on personal websites, company or institutional repositories (see Institutional Repository), any repository mandated by an agency or funder who supported the research upon which the work was based, subject-specific repositories, social collaboration networks, the fulfillment of personal-use requests by other researchers and students, for teaching and training, and/or as part of an author's grant applications or theses/doctorate submissions (see Fair Use/Scholarly Sharing). These expectations are commonplace among universities around the world and may be referred to as Green Open Access, self-archiving, posting rights, or rights retention.

6. Fair Use/Scholarly Sharing

We recognize and respect the well-established principles of Fair Use. In accordance with these principles, vendor licenses and agreements must not explicitly bar the fair use of materials in educational pursuits. Licenses should make clear provisions for fair use in paper and electronic reserves for coursework; other such uses may include but are not limited to copying and distributing reasonable amounts of materials in activities including workshops, reading groups, and other relevant endeavors. Off-campus access must also be available to authorized users.

7. Institutional Repository

Because we are committed to the dissemination of knowledge and the advancement of scholarly research, licenses should allow us or the vendor to deposit at no cost the final version of works from all faculty, staff, and students into the WVU Research Repository 6 upon publication, or permit our faculty, staff, and students to do so themselves. (See Author Rights).

8. Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

In accordance with the Interlibrary Loan Provisions of Sections 107 and 108 7 of the U.S. Copyright Law, license agreements 8 must allow for interlibrary loan and similar services.

9. Transparency

The WVU Libraries subscribe to a forthright and transparent approach with our community of users and partners. Confidentiality clauses in license agreements stifle dialog and communication to an unacceptable degree. We expect that we should be permitted to publicly share, if we so choose, the pricing, expenditures, and all details related to our contracts for specific or all journals, publishers, and platforms as needed. We will demonstrate this commitment to transparency by rejecting non-disclosure language in our agreements and sharing our agreements publicly.

10. Usage Data

Because data is needed to inform decisions at various times and for various purposes, usage data should be available on demand. Usage data must be provided for all electronic resources and at no additional cost. Likewise, information is needed about individual resources, not bundles of resources. Usage data should be granular and easily matched to purchasing information by use of standard identifiers, such as ISSN. Usage data should conform to current, accepted industry standards, such as COUNTER (Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources) 9 , and be SUSHI (Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative) 10 compliant.

11. Pricing

The WVU Libraries, as part of the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA), have endorsed the “MIT Framework for Publisher Contracts,” 11 which states in part: “Institutions will pay a fair and sustainable price to publishers for value-added services, based on transparent and cost-based pricing models” (see Transparency above).

Vendors must engage in honest, flexible negotiation about pricing, open access, use rights, and content. Pricing models must be completely transparent and reflected accurately in the contract or license. Vendor price increases should not exceed the consumer price index (CPI), or if they do, the vendors must provide explicit justification as to why the increase is higher.

The WVU Libraries will prioritize financially sustainable agreements that contribute to an academic publishing environment that is viable for a range of institutions, platforms, and publishers. We support agreements that cultivate equitable information environments within and across academic institutions even as community needs and means evolve.


1. Intellectual Freedom Committee, “Library Privacy Guidelines for Vendors,” Text, American Library Association, January 26, 2020, http://www.ala.org/advocacy/privacy/guidelines/vendors.
2. World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), “Making the Web Accessible: Strategies, Standards, and Supporting Resources to Help You Make the Web More Accessible to People with Disabilities,” Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), accessed April 2, 2020, https://www.w3.org/WAI/.
3.U.S. General Services Administration, “Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) | Section508.Gov,” Government-wide IT Accessibility Program, April 2018, https://www.section508.gov/sell/vpat.
4. Collection Analysis and Strategy, “Licensing Principles and Expectations for Vendors,” University of Washington University Libraries, April 11, 2019, https://www.lib.washington.edu/cas/licensing-principles-and-expectations-for-vendors.
5. MIT Libraries, “MIT Framework for Publisher Contracts,” Copyright and Publishing (blog), February 19, 2020, https://libraries.mit.edu/scholarly/publishing/framework/.
6. West Virginia University, “The Research Repository @ WVU,” accessed April 2, 2020, https://researchrepository.wvu.edu/.
7. U.S. Copyright Office, “Chapter 1 - Circular 92,” Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17), accessed April 2, 2020, https://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107.
8. Collection Analysis and Strategy, “Licensing Principles and Expectations for Vendors.”
9. “Project COUNTER - Consistent, Credible, Comparable,” Project Counter, accessed April 2, 2020, https://www.projectcounter.org/.
10. NISO, “Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) Protocol (ANSI/NISO Z39.93-2014),” Standards Committees, accessed April 2, 2020, https://www.niso.org/standards-committees/sushi.
11. MIT Libraries, “MIT Framework for Publisher Contracts.”

Approved by Karen Diaz, dean, May 20, 2020.

Approved by the WVU Library Faculty Assembly, July 14, 2020.