SciELO Books Criteria – Criteria, policies and procedures for the operation of collections of electronic books

Preliminary version – February 2014

1. Introduction

This document describes the criteria, policies and procedures for the evaluation and selection of publishers, collections and books to participate in the SciELO Books project.

The objective of the SciELO Books project is to contribute to the dissemination of academic information and knowledge published in academic and technical books in addition to strengthening and developing national capacities and infrastructures in electronic editing, publishing and commercialization of electronic books online in the countries that participate in the SciELO Network. The SciELO project has FAPESP (Fundação de Ámparo a Pesquisa de São Paulo) as its lead institution and a network of national institutions related to academic research and communication. The SciELO project counts on the technical support of BIREME- Latin-American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information, a PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) Specialized Center.

The SciELO Books project has, as its initial phase, a two year pilot project that is headed by the publishers of the following institutions – FIOCRUZ (Fundação Oswaldo Cruz), UFBA (Universidade Federal da Bahia), UNESP (Universidade Estadual Paulista) – and BIREME which coordinates the implementation of the pilot project.

The development and operation of SciELO Books follows the same strategy as the SciELO journals program, based on the online publishing of collections of books that interoperate with the SciELO Network.The publishers that are part of the SciELO Books Network will have the primary responsibility for the book collections. Autonomous collections published by other academic institutions may be included after the completion of the pilot project.

The SciELO Books book collections are academic in nature and should therefore adhere to criteria, indicators and evaluation processes that certify their academic nature. The principal objective of this document is to outline the criteria and evaluation processes for publisher editorial policies in regard to adhering to the principles of quality control in the selection of books and in the revision process. The application of the criteria determines if a book is to be certified as academic in nature or not.

The first version of this document was discussed and approved by the SciELO Books project Steering Committee at its meeting on February 23, 2010. The Steering Committee, as its name indicates, is responsible for monitoring the progress of the SciELO Books project in relation to the development and evolution of a business model and of appropriate methodologies and technologies. As a result, starting with this update to the first version of the document elaborated by the Steering Committee, the maintenance and updating of it is the responsibility solely of the Advisory Committee working by consensus and following the recommendations of its members, the Steering Committee, the publishers and institutions responsible for the SciELO Books collections.

As the number of SciELO Books collections grows with the participation of new publishers and collections from Brazil and from other countries in the SciELO Network, it is expected that the SciELO Books Criteria and its progressive generalization will be enhanced with a view to continue evolving common criteria for the whole network.

2. SciELO Advisory Committee

The application of SciELO Books Criteria to the selection of publishers, books and book collections will be performed by the Advisory Committee whose members are selected by the publishers that participate in the SciELO Books project which is managed in cooperation with BIREME.

The Advisory Committee has the following tasks that are based on the criteria of this document:

a) Update the SciELO Books Criteria with the objective of refining and improving the evaluation process for including new, permanent publisher members, book collections and books in the SciELO Network;
b) Define and continuously refine the functioning of the Advisory Committee in order to efficiently fulfill its objectives;
c) Review applications for inclusion and withdrawal of publishers;
d) Review and recommend applications for admission and certification of book collections;
e) Review and recommend applications for admission and certification of individual books;
f) Accredit and disqualify publishers and/or collections, evaluating whether or not the publisher can submit its collections for analysis;
g) Review the admission and recommendation of book series.

The Advisory Committee will be formed by researchers and intellectuals nominated by the publishers who participate in the SciELO Books Project. In general, the committee members come from the publisher editorial committees themselves or are nominated by them.

The Advisory Committee should meet at least 2 times per year to review the processes of admission and retention of publishers and collections in the Network. Only in special cases will the Advisory Committee review individual books. In general, it is understood that the evaluation of individual books has already been performed by the editorial committees of the publishers or of the independent collections.

3. Criteria and process of evaluation for inclusion of book collections into SciELO Books

3.1. The scope of SciELO Collections

The scope of the SciELO Books project is to organize, index, publish and disseminate collections of electronic books of an academic nature via the SciELO Books portal. The collections are classified in two broad categories:

a) SciELO publisher collections and/or series: composed of academic titles selected by the participating publishers. The collections and/or series are recommended by the respective editorial committees.
b) Thematic collections and/or series: composed of academic titles selected by the participating publishers or independent collections and/or series selected by institutions or by groups of specialists (thematic groups). The thematic collections are recommended by a publisher’s editorial committee.

All SciELO Books collections are required to have a corresponding Editorial Committee responsible for the editorial policies and selection of the books in the collection. The collections operated by SciELO Books are therefore certified in advance by the publisher editorial committees. The collections approved by the Advisory Committee are updated with new books by the publishers themselves or by the responsible institution.

The composition of the Editorial Committees for collections and for independent collections must be public knowledge and the members must be researchers, intellectuals and specialists recognized nationally or internationally. The members of the Editorial Committees who reside in Brazil must have their updated CV’s in the Lattes system. The publishers must advise SciELO Books of any changes in the composition of their Editorial Committees by means of a formal letter to SciELO Books from a duly authorized person representing the publisher or the institution responsible for the collection or series.

The publisher is required to have the duly authorized person explicitly identified and posted on the publisher’s portal or editorial body.

The publisher’s norms and criteria for the selection of books, evaluation instructions and methodologies, responsibilities, professional qualifications of the editorial committee, evaluation form and criteria must also be available so that the Advisory Committee can evaluate and reach an informed decision for the inclusion of the collections and/or the publisher in SciELO Books.

Only in extraordinary cases will the Advisory Committee approve collections of publishers that are not part of the SciELO Books.

The inclusion of publishers in SciELO Books is subject to the approval of at least ten (10) titles and the inclusion of five (5) additional approved titles for every 12 months.

3.2. Criteria, policies and procedures for the selection of publishers

The selection of publishers for participation in SciELO Books is a critical function of the project that assures that the academic nature and quality of the collections and the books in particular remain central to the project.

The admission of new publishers to the SciELO Books Network will be reviewed by the Advisory Committee based on the following procedures:

a) The publisher’s duly authorized representative sends a letter to SciELO Books formally requesting admission to the SciELO Books Network, expressing agreement with the principles and business model of the Network, and a commitment to the academic nature of the collections and books of SciELO Books. The letter must also describe the characteristics of the publisher and of its editorial policies that support the request for admission;
b) The Advisory Committee evaluates the publisher based on the curriculum vitae of the publisher’s staff available on the Lattes platform (http://lattes.cnpq.br/) in the case of the Brazilian citizens or residents that work for the publisher. Foreigners without a curriculum vitae on Lattes will be evaluated on the curriculum vitae submitted by the publisher or made available on the Web.
c) The quality of books published by the publisher is evaluated, based on a review by qualified reviewers of a sample from the publisher’s catalog of 5 to 10 books published in the last 2 years.

Upon completing the review of the application for admission to the SciELO Books Network, the Advisory Committee will issue one of the following rulings:

a) Approved for immediate admission without restriction;
b) Approved for inclusion once the publisher commits to implementing the recommendations of the Advisory Committee by a specified date;
c) Approved for admission after the publisher implements the recommendations of the Advisory Committee and commits to implementing other recommendations by a date set by the Committee;
d) Not approved with reasons given for the decision.

The publishers will have the right to ask for clarifications of the decisions made by the Advisory Committee, as well as appeal the decisions and request to be re-evaluated.

There are no restrictions for resubmissions of an application for admission on the part of publishers.

3.3. Criteria, policies and procedures for the selection of collections and/or series.

The evaluation of new collections for inclusion into SciELO Books will be based on the following procedures and criteria:

3.3.1. The duly authorized representative of the publisher or of the institution responsible for the collection sends a letter to SciELO Books formally requesting admission to the SciELO Books Network, expressing agreement with the principles and business model, and a commitment to the academic nature of the collections and books of SciELO Books. The letter must also describe the editorial policy of the publisher or of the responsible institution that support the application for inclusion of the collection or series;

3.3.2. The publisher’s Editorial Committee is evaluated by the Advisory Committee based on the curriculum vitae available on the Lattes platform (http://lattes.cnpq.br/) in the case of Brazilian citizens or residents that work for the publisher. Foreigners without a curriculum vitae on Lattes will be evaluated on the curriculum vitae submitted by the publisher or made available on the Web.

Upon completing the review of the application for admission of the collection or series to the SciELO Books Network, the Advisory Committee will issue one of the following rulings:

a) Approved for immediate inclusion without restriction;
b) Approved for inclusion once the publisher or responsible institution commits to implementing the recommendations of the Advisory Committee by a specified date;
c) Approved for inclusion after the publisher or responsible institution implements the recommendations of the Advisory Committee and commits to implementing other recommendations by a date set by the Committee;
d) Not approved with reasons given for the decision.

The publishers or the responsible institutions for the collections and/or series will have the right to ask for clarifications of the decisions made by the Advisory Committee, as well as appeal the decisions and request to be re-evaluated. There are no restrictions for resubmissions of an application for inclusion of a collection or series on the part of publishers or the responsible institutions.

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