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    Certification criteria for SciELO sites

    Criteria, policies and procedures for site classification and certification in the SciELO Network

    Version October 2010

    1. Introduction

    The purpose of this document is to describe policies, criteria and procedures to evaluate the websites which publish the national and thematic collections of the SciELO Network to classify their development status according to the following categories: certified collections in regular operation, collections in development, and pilot sites.

    The Scientific Electronic Library Online SciELO is a model to manage and operate electronic publications into a cooperative network of collections of increasing quality scientific periodicals with open access focused on developing and emerging countries. The specific purpose of SciELO is to increase the visibility, accessibility, quality, use, and impact of published periodicals in a sustainable manner.

    SciELO is a Program of the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP) implemented through programs and projects for thedevelopment, operation and maintenance of methodologies and technologies of nline journal publication and collections of scientific journals in openaccess. They are tested and applied in the SciELO Brazil Collection management and operation, also cooperating and inter-operating with other collections of SciELO network.The research and support projects to the SciELO Program are promoted and financed by FAPESP, by Conselho Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia (CNPq), in cooperation with Centro Latino-Americano e do Caribe de Informação em Ciências da Saúde (BIREME/OPS/OMS) and and the institutional implementation of Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP) by the Fundação de Apoio à Pesquisa UNIFESP. All the management operation and financing of the SciELO collections are responsibility of national institutions to support scientific research, human resources training and scientific communication.

    The SciELO model of online publication consistsof three components: the SciELO methodology, the SciELO site and the SciELO Network.

    The application of SciELO Model allows the collectionsmanagement and operation using the SciELO Network ina compatible way. It also comprises common workflows of online publication based on database systems of bibliographic references, full text, record of usage logs and citations, storage and preservation of electronic files, publishing and interoperability on the Internet.

    The SciELO Methodology can be applied to any scientific journal or scientific journal collection. However, creating a collection recognized as part of the SciELO Network, besides the use of SciELO Methodology, requires compliance with quality control criteria and policies specified hereunder. Thus, journals or collections of journals using the SciELO Methodology, without being part of SciELO Network Portal, are not indexed into the Global and therefore are not recognized as SciELO collection. However, they have to indicate the use of the SciELO Methodology.

    For further information about adoption of the SciELO Model of online publication, see
    'Guide for the installation of SciELO sites' and the 'Training Workshop on SciELO Methodology'.

    The SciELO Methodology is the first component of the SciELO Model and includes a set of policies, standars, guidelines, procedures, and tools regarding electronic publishing as well as evaluation and admission of journals for indexing and permanence in the collections. It also comprises technical activities aiming preparation, tagging, storage, publishing, conservation, links with different information sources, use and impact control of the scientific journals published on the SciELO Collection sites.

    The application of the methodology is based initially on the inclusion of a journal in a collection and the treatment of the texts of each new issue by means of its five modules, as seen in the figure below:

    The second component of the SciELO Model is the website of the SciELO Collection (or simply SciELO site) that operates the electronic journals collection. The website uses a multilingual interface with functions and access services, indexing, browsing, and control of access and citations. The model allows journal and article search within the context of a collection of periodicals in National scope of a country or by subject as well as interoperation with the SciELO Network by web services that follow common protocols.

    The third operational component of the SciELO Model is the SciELO Network which is comprised by the set of SciELO collections that follow the same methodology of online publication applied to their journals and the same management and operation of websites.

    The SciELO Model of publishing is maintained, updated, and diffused under the coordination of the SciELO Brasil Collection, which is also responsible for a periodic evaluation of the sites in the SciELO Collections according to the SciELO methodology, particularly the guide of policies, criteria and procedures of journal sevaluation for their inclusion and permanence in the SciELO collections and this guide for evaluation and certification of SciELO collections.

    2. Sites in the SciELO Collection

    All the SciELO Collection is operated through SciELO sites and, according to the fulfillment of the criteria, policies and procedures of development and operation. They can be classified as: certified, in development, or pilot.

    a. Certified Collections

    The Certified Collections sites are indexed in the SciELO Network Global Portal ( in the SciELO Network section in column 1 below Collections category. The journals titles are listed in Regional SciELO collections and the published articles are indexed in the regional portal search and in the indexing services that interoperate with SciELO.

    A SciELO collection is certified when it meets the following conditions, checked on the site:

    Coordinating Institution

    The management, operation and funding of the national SciELO Collection and its website are under the responsibility of a national reference institution on scientific communication and investigation. The Coordinating Institution is responsible for articulating and coordinating the operation of the national network of support and technical cooperation institutions, publishers of the journals in the national SciELO Collection in order to ensure that the online publication of individual journals and of the collection as a whole is according to the SciELO Model.

    In each country there is only one SciELO Collection under a sole Coordinating Institution. However, the production and hosting of a national collection may be shared by two or more institutions that operate jointly or that operate subsets of the national collection by subject or institutional areas in a separate manner. Operation of sub regional collections joining two or more countries is also possible, always under the same Coordinating Institution.

    Theme collections may also have regional or global coverage, preferably with the support by international organs or networks.

    The identifying of the Coordinating Institution should be clear in the Collection SciELO site.

    In all cases, the Coordinating Institution is responsible for operating the National Collection according to the SciELO Model.

    Advisory Commitee

    The development of any SciELO collection must be assisted by a scientific Advisory Committee responsible for the collection development, performance evaluation and, primarily, the indexing of the periodicals in the collection. In other words, for applying policies, criteria, and procedures for quality control of journals evaluation for inclusion and permanence in the collection. The Coordinating Institution acts as Executive Secretary of the Consulting Committee.

    The Advisory Committee is preferably comprised of representatives of the national institutions that support the development of research, human resources qualification, and scientific communication. It is also consisted of representatives elected by the SciELO journals publishers of the major areas of knowledge. Committee members serve for two years and may be reelected without limitation. Committee members hold their offices for two years and may be reelected without limitation. It is important that changes occur in different years so the first group must hold their offices for 3, 2 and 1 year.

    The initial collection, inclusion of new titles and exclusion of journals from a SciELO collection must be formally approved by the Advisory Committee and deployed by the Coordinating Institution. In other words, no title is included in or excluded from SciELO collections without the Advisory Committee approval. However, the Advisory Committee is responsible for promoting the compliance with the SciELO Methodology and this SciELO sites operation guide, whether to become a certified collection or to avoid losing such certificate. Especially, journals delayed for more than 6 months should be excluded from the collection.

    The minutes with the conclusions, recommendations and list of participants of the Advisory Committee meetings should be published on the collection website.

    The SciELO Advisory Committee should meet periodically, at least, three times a year.

    Guide of Policies and Assessment Criteria of Journal for Inclusion and Maintenance in the SciELO Collection

    SciELO collections are developed and operated according to a pre-established set of policies, criteria and common procedures for purposes of ensuring and promoting the increasing quality of journals individually, of the collection as a whole and its interoperability in the SciELO Network.

    Development and operation of national collections should comply with criteria set in this guide that may be adapted to national conditions referring to the composition of the Advisory Committee, adoption of automatic indexing criteria and adjustment of the number of articles required from periodicals according to their thematic area. The updated guide must be formally approved by the Advisory Committee and must be published in the collection site.

    Scope and composition of the collection

    SciELO collections operating on a national level have multidisciplinary scope. However, in some countries, implementation of the SciELO collection starts in a thematic area and then expands progressively incorporating other areas of knowledge. In some cases, this expansion occurs with the inclusion of new institutions that begin to share the management with the Coordinating Institution or assume that role.

    In the regional and global scopes, the SciELO Network also operates thematic collections comprised mainly of periodicals previously published in national collections. Regional or Global thematic collections are also evaluated and classified according to this guide.

    The scope and composition of the collections have to be updated in their respective sites. In case of journals excluded from the SciELO Collection for non-compliance with the SciELO Methodology criteria, the issues prior to the exclusion remain in the collection as 'non-current'.

    Journal collections in the SciELO Collection are recognized as approved for indexing starting on the year, volume, and number evaluated by the Advisory Committee. However, as the purpose of the SciELO Program is also to preserve scientific journals, the retrospective publishing of the journal issues in the SciELO collections is possible, even without their prior evaluation from the Advisory Committee.

    The scope and composition of SciELO collections, as well as the changes made, should comply with the terms in this guide and be approved by the respective Advisory Committee, and also be recorded in the corresponding minutes and published on the Collection site.

    Open access and 'Creative Commons' access license

    The SciELO collection publishes journals in open access on the Web/Internet using the site of each collection.

    SciELO collections do not accept embargoes and should adopt, according to the legislation of each country, the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0Unported (cc-by-nc) license forthe entire SciELO collection site, and editors may choose to publish their periodicals under an Attribution 3.0 Unported (cc-by) license.

    Access licenses should be clearly determined in the Collection site and on every page, in both the statics and dynamically generated.

    Interoperability with the SciELO Network

    SciELO collections must be part of the SciELO Network by means of their sites that should operate with the following characteristics:

    (a) The technological platform of operation must be updated with the last available version;

    (b) Ensure the 24x7 operation with at least 95% of time online;

    (c) Page loading time lower than one second;

    (d) Web services to integrate with the SciELO Network Global Portal must be set and operating regularly;

    (e) Journal metadata exporting procedures should be installed and operate regularly to allow indexing and retrieval in the SciELO Network Global Portal;

    (f) Metadata publication services as OAI and Google Scholar should be operating regularly;

    (g) Availability of technical staff with knowledge of the technologies used to operate the SciELO site.

    b. Collection Site in Development

    The Collection sites in development are indexed in the SciELO Network Global Portal ( in the SciELO Network section in column 1 under the category In Development. However, journals In Development collections are not included in the SciELO list of journals and their articles are not indexed in the search system.

    In Development Collections are periodically evaluated aiming future certification as Certified Collections sites. Operation monitoring is done with a joint work between SciELO’s Operational Coordination and the team responsible for operational development of the National or Thematic SciELO site.

    Every collection enters the SciELO Network as In Development Collection and must comply with the following conditions:

    Coordinating Institutionestablished;

    Advisory Committeebeing formed or established and regularly operating;

    Guide of Policies and Assessment Criteria of Journals for Inclusion and Maintenance in the SciELO Collection in preliminary version or approved by the Advisory Committee published in the collection site;

    Scope and composition of the collection published in the collection site;

    Open access and 'Creative Commons'access license commitment with open access operation and deployment of the Creative Commons license;

    Interoperability with SciELO Network deployed in part or as a whole.

    c. Pilot Collection Site

    Pilot Collection sites are not indexed in the SciELO Network Global Portal ( This is the previous status of a collection before its acceptance to enter the SciELO Network as 'In Development'.

    Pilot Collection Sites are classified as such when they meet the following conditions:

    Coordinating Institution established;

    Advisory Committee committed to be formed, establishment realized or established and regularly operating;

    Guide of Policies and Assessment Criteria of Journals for Inclusion and Permanence in the SciELO Collection in preliminary version or approved by the Consulting Committee published in the collection site;

    Scope and composition of the collection published in the collection site;

    Open access and 'Creative Commons' access license commitment with open access operation and deployment of the Creative Commons license;

    Interoperability with SciELO Network should begin with adoption of the updated version of the SciELO site operation platform

    As soon as Pilot Collections conditions are met, the collection is included in the SciELO Network as In Development Collections.

    3. Periodic evaluation of SciELO Collections sites

    SciELO Collections sites are periodically evaluated using as reference the SciELO Network Operation Model, that is, the SciELO Methodology, especially the guide of policies, criteria and procedures for the development of SciELO collections and operation of the SciELO site according to this guide, including interoperability with the SciELO Network.

    Site-based evaluation of SciELO Collections is an integral part of the SciELO Program related to its purpose of contributing for continuous improvement of its published scientific journals, development and strengthening of infrastructures and national capacity for scientific publications.

    Periodic evaluations are essential to ensure that the SciELO Network operates in a decentralized manner, but following the same methodology and technology.

    3.1 SciELO National Advisory Committee

    The implementation of the SciELO Methodologyin the SciELO site demands the existence of a National Advisory Committee. Based on the applicability of journal selectioncriteria, the committee will have the following attributions:

    a) Inclusion of new scientific journal titles in the SciELO collection;

    a) Exclusion of scientific journal titles from the SciELO collection;

    c) Adaptation of the evaluation criteria for admission and permanence of periodicals in the SciELO collection regarding: 1) criteria for automatic admission of journals in the collection; 2) frequency and number of articles published per year;

    d) Definition of performance indicators of journals in the SciELO collection to be published regularly;

    e) Definition and improvement of Committee operations in order to effectively fulfill the previously mentioned goals; and

    f) Discussion and proposal of policies, programs, procedures, and activities towards the strengthening of the collection.

    The Advisory Committee must be comprised up to four representatives of Scienceand Technology support national institutions and the community directly related to national scientific communication, with up to four publishers of journals in the national or thematic SciELO sites, elected by all publishers of the collection. Institutions and publishers must have permanent representation. The national institution responsible for coordinating and evaluating the SciELO site is responsible for the Presidency of the SciELO National Advisory Committee.

    For multidisciplinary sites is recommended the representation of the thematic areas as follows: Agrarian Sciences, Biological Sciences, Exact Sciences, and Human Sciences, indicating the respective substitute.

    Policies for creation and maintenance of electronic scientific journal collections in SciELO sites will be defined by the respective national committees and will be published on the sites.

    3.2 Scope of the national collection of scientific journals

    To establish electronic scientific journal national sites, the scope of the collection must be defined based on the specifications of the covered thematic area.

    Additionally, collections in the SciELO Sites must be comprised by scientific journals that publish mainly articles resulting from original scientific investigation and other significant original contributions for the specific area of the journal. The review and approval process of manuscripts must be performed by peers.

    The collection of each individual title in the SciELO site will start upon approval by the National Advisory Committee, and we recommend inclusion of retrospective numbers until 1997, or since the first number for journals created later than 1997. Texts may be in English, Portuguese, Spanish, and French or in a combination of them.

    3.3 Site operational quality

    Operational quality of SciELO sites is checked by observing the following points:

    a. compliance with the selection and evaluation criteria of the journals;
    b. regularly update of the site, according to the punctuality of the journals of the collection;
    c. correct interface operation, with link integrity and recovery;
    d. the site should be available uninterruptedly;
    e. the site should offer acceptable access speed; and
    f. there must be at least 4 available titles, with the last two years of publication.

    For further information, please see specific items in 'Site Evaluation Guide of the SciELO Network'.

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