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UW Libraries’ Principles in Licensing Scholarly Resources

Grounded in the University of Washington Libraries 2018-2023 Strategic Plan goal to, “develop scalable, strategic and sustainable models of collection development, preservation and stewardship,” and guided by our Collection Development Guiding Principles, the following set of Licensing Principles are an articulation of our values in the service of the teaching, research, and scholarship at the University of Washington and our shared responsibility to support discovery and the creation of knowledge around the world. We strive towards openness and transparency in our communication with our stakeholders and vendors. We defend long established norms of collaboration and sharing among libraries and scholars. We seek to maintain our productive communication with our vendors and publisher partners through our open sharing of these values and principles.

The core principles of Sustainability, Access and Equity, and Support for Scholarship and Teaching, are supported by the UW Faculty Senate through the unanimous vote in support of these principles in a Class C Resolution.


The UW Libraries negotiates for terms that build and support sustainability and the open sharing of knowledge created at the University of Washington. We prioritize agreements that move past the historical pricing models that uphold artificial rationing of knowledge and we work with publishers to move towards models based on sharing. We are shifting spending away from purchasing content from proprietary, closed, for-profit scholarly information providers and increasing investments to create and support community-owned infrastructure and shared digital resources.

Sustainable Pricing

We expect transparent pricing structures and pricing models that ensure greater sustainability.

As sound stewards of University resources we expect agreements that recognize and align with our budget realities. Further, we favor agreements that move past historical pricing models and provide transparency in their pricing structure.

No Non-disclosure/Confidentiality Agreement

We believe it is critical to be transparent about our license agreements with our user community and academic partners.

Nondisclosure agreements preclude the ability to achieve fairness and openness in the electronic resources acquisition process. Because confidentiality clauses prevent libraries from communicating with others pricing and the terms and conditions of use, vendors should not restrict us from sharing information with our stakeholders and colleagues.*

Usage Data

Standards compliant usage data is essential to support assessment and decision making.

Usage data should be made available on-demand. Usage data should be COUNTER compliant and adhere to the most recent COUNTER Code of Practice. Usage data should be made available on-demand via a web-based portal and accessible via SUSHI.

Access and Equity

The UW Libraries negotiates terms to preserve and further equitable access to knowledge for all faculty, researchers, and students at the University of Washington. We seek agreements that elevate voices from historically minoritized, ignored, and silenced groups. We actively negotiate for agreements that ensure equitable access for persons with disabilities and protect the privacy of researchers and their ability to conduct their research without sharing personal information. As an institution committed to advancing the public good, we continue to work toward the creation of an open scholarly ecosystem where barriers that restrict access to research and to publishing are eliminated.

Authorized Users

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

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

Privacy and Data Security

We adhere to the long-held value of protecting the privacy of all our library users.

We affirm the ALA Library Bill of Rights Article VII that states, “all people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use.”

Licensors will provide access models that allow for anonymous access for authorized users, and not require the creation of user profiles or the transfer of personal information. Licensors will ensure the privacy and data security of all users, including adhering to the requirements of the UW Data Processing Agreement.


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 supporting assistive software or devices such as large print interfaces, text-to-speech output, voice-activated input, refreshable braille displays, and alternate keyboard or pointer interfaces, in a manner consistent with the Web Accessibility Initiative Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Licensors should provide a current, accurate, completed WCAG Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) to demonstrate compliance with accessibility standards.

Support of Scholarship and Teaching

The UW Libraries supports the breadth and depth of scholarship and teaching at all levels at the University of Washington. We do this by being part of a network of shared collections in research libraries worldwide that allows our researchers to reach into the collections anywhere in this network to access what they need to complete their research. The UW Libraries negotiates agreements that support sharing across this network of collections. We prioritize agreements that allow us to curate our collections in alignment with research and teaching priorities.

Fair Use/Scholarly Sharing

We recognize and respect the well-established principle of Fair Use.

Fair Use principles permit library users to make certain uses of copyrighted materials for non-commercial, educational, instructional, and research purposes. Licenses must not expressly prohibit fair use of information by authorized users.  Agreements should allow for the printing, downloading, and copying activities that are inherent in scholarly work. The license should specifically permit instructional use in the form of electronic reserves and course packs, as well as scholarly sharing of reasonable amounts of content with colleagues and research collaborators at other institutions.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Provisions for interlibrary loan or other equivalent services should be included in all relevant license agreements.

In accordance with the Interlibrary Loan Provision of section 108 of the US Copyright Law, the UW Libraries should be able to use electronic resources for the purpose of supplying interlibrary loan requests from other libraries. Interlibrary loan shall not be limited by the geographic location of the requesting library.

Authors Rights

UW Authors should be able to use their own scholarly work and share it openly for the public good, without delay or publisher embargo.

Many author’s agreements require authors to transfer their copyright in order to be published. We believe that Licensors should work with authors to enable them to retain their copyright and use their own work when and how they see fit, including self-archiving.


*The University of Washington is subject to the Washington Public Records Act, as codified at RCW 42.56.

Adopted April 2019; updated September 2022.