Guide to Best Practices Section 4

A Guide to Best Practices for Editors of Library and Information Science Journals

July 2009
Revised September 2010

Section 4: Standards and Standards Organizations of Interest to Editors

Journals should conform to existing standards and implement new standards as quickly as is practicable.

Commentary: Conformity to relevant standards is important for any journal wishing to offer the optimum publishing service for authors and readers. The library community traditionally has been active and collaborative in standards development. Given that most standards applying to scholarly journals generally have been developed with the active participation of LIS professionals and are even a regular subject for journal articles, it is particularly important for LIS journals to conform to the most current standards.

No comprehensive listing of standards applying to journals is attempted here; however, some of the most broadly valuable recent standards and organizations creating or supporting standards are indicated here

Organizations Engaged in Ongoing Standards Development

NISO, the National Information Standards Organization

NISO produces and maintains a wide range of standards, many of which apply to LIS journals. They develop information industry standards through the joint engagement of content publishers, libraries, and software developers. Please consult the organization’s Web site for a full listing of current, superseded, and in-process standards. Current standards are available at A few of the recent standards and best practices that are of particular relevance to LIS journal publishing practices include:

EDItEUR, The International Group for Electronic Commerce in the Book and Serials Sectors

EDItEUR is the international group coordinating development of the standards infrastructure for electronic commerce in the book and serials industries.

ONIX for Serials is a family of XML formats for communicating information about serial products and subscription information, using the design principles and many of the elements defined in ONIX for Books.

National Federation of Advanced Information Services (NFAIS)

Best Practices for Publishing Journal Articles includes recommendations regarding article level publishing (increasingly common with electronic journals as articles are released prior to issue publication).

UK Serials Group

Spanning the wide range of interests and activities between serials producers and readers, members of the UK Serials Group comprise more than 500 organizations, many of them based outside the UK, that engage a broad cross-section of people concerned with the publication, distribution and use of serials.

The TRANSFER Code of Practice responds to the expressed needs of the scholarly journal community for consistent guidelines to help publishers ensure that journal content remains easily accessible by librarians and readers when there is a transfer between parties, and to ensure that the transfer process occurs with minimum disruption.

Key Standards-Related Initiatives Arising in Recent Years

Project Counter

The COUNTER Codes of Practice comprise sets of agreed-upon international standards and protocols governing the recording and exchange of online usage data.

Crossref and DOI

CrossRef is an independent membership association, founded and directed by publishers. It is the official DOI® link registration agency for scholarly and professional publications and operates a cross-publisher citation linking system that allows a researcher to click on a reference citation on one publisher’s platform and link directly to the cited content on another publisher’s platform, subject to the target publisher’s access control practices.

Resources Related to Standards

Open Archives Initiative

With roots in the open access and institutional repository movements, the Open Archives Initiative develops and promotes interoperability standards that aim to facilitate the efficient dissemination of content. It has developed protocols for metadata harvesting and object reuse and exchange.

ALCTS: Association for Library Collections & Technical Services

A division of the American Library Association, ALCTS engages a wide range of members working with journals. The association maintains a list of serial standards and related initiatives at:

ALPSP: Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers

An international trade association for not-for-profit publishers and those who work with them, ALPSP maintains information on standards at:

NASIG: North American Serials Interest Group

NASIG is an independent organization that promotes communication, information, and continuing education about serials and the broader issues of scholarly communication. NASIG Guides occasionally address key serials standards and related initiatives. See

Additional Resources

The LIS Editors’ Web site provides updated lists of resources for editors, authors, and editorial boards. See

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