Data Collection Development Policy

Approved and Adopted by CDC February 12, 2019

Table of contents


This policy governs the collection development and acquisition of data at JMU Libraries. Researchers submitting an application to the Data Purchase Program should follow these guidelines. All acquisitions initiated by the Libraries will adhere to these guidelines.


  • There should be broad curricular and research interest in the data to be acquired. In order to maximize impact, we strive to build a data collection useful to the largest number of people, and preference will be given to data requests that meet that requirement.
  • Access should not be restricted by school or department if purchased by JMU Libraries.
  • “Single user” datasets will not be purchased (e.g., iTunes model). That is, if only a single user (or project team) can use the dataset based on restrictive license terms or technical requirements, we cannot purchase the data.


  • Joint purchases between JMU Libraries, researchers, and/or departments, are encouraged.
  • Typically JMU Libraries will only review requests of up to $5,000 for a research data acquisition of value to a range of research or curricular interests, and up to $1,000 for data resources that address a niche curricular need. These amounts are flexible, and we encourage researchers to consider the value of the data to the widest number of affiliates.
  • At the same time, we strive to be flexible; an expensive dataset or database that has high value – broad impact across research and instruction – will be considered. Supplemental funding on the part of the researcher or colleges are especially welcome in these cases.


  • Numeric, spatial, and textual data will all be considered.
  • To be included in our collections, data can be purchased, licensed, or open.
    • Purchased data are data that the Libraries own outright (although there may be terms of use in a contract).
    • Licensed data are data that the Libraries essentially rents for a period of time, which may be predetermined or on-going.
    • Open data are data that are openly available to the public.
  • Data should be relevant to research and curricular needs of JMU.
  • Any time period, geography, or language will be considered.


  • Data are current, and do not require frequent or costly updates.
  • Data are structured so that the relation between elements is explicit.
  • Data are from a credible and reliable source.
  • The vendor is a reliable business partner.

Format and Access

  • Supported access methods:
    • Mounted on Libraries server with IP-access (e.g., STR’s HOST reports)
    • Online licensed databases with IP-access (e.g., WRDS)
    • Online data repositories with institutional memberships (e.g., ICPSR)
    • Freely available online resources
  • Preference is given to data that can be stored online and remotely accessed.
  • Preference is given to software-independent (“standard”) formats. If not software independent, the interface must offer ease of use.
  • We will not purchase or license data with dedicated terminal access, either online or mounted on a Libraries server.


  • Data must be accompanied by adequate documentation and metadata.

Decision Making Authority

  • Purchase decisions will include the Data Services Coordinator, the relevant Liaison Librarian(s), and Collection Development Committee within the Libraries and will adhere to all University and Commonwealth of Virginia Procurement requirements.

Adapted from the Data Collection Development Policy at the University of Virginia.

Source(s) of Authority: Collection Development Committee, Director of Scholarly Resources & Discovery

back to top