Credibility (Essential criteria)
Mission of site
- Purpose of the website stated.
- Intended audience defined.
- If the site provides a mission statement, the content of the site matches statement.
Disclosure of ownership/source
- Individual or organization name, physical address, and electronic address provided on every page.
- Qualifications/credentials of organization or individual site owner, including type of organization (e.g., government, non-profit, commercial, etc.).
- Organization or individual's affiliations and alliances and disclosure of any relationship that might influence the content of the site.
- Editorial Board, Advisory Board, or Board of Directors members listed with credentials.
Transparency of sponsorship
- Disclosure of all sources of funding for organization/website (grants, sponsors, advertisers, fees, personal).
- Disclosure of any relevant personal or financial associations that might be considered a potential conflict of interest.
- If advertising is a source of funding, this should be clearly stated and a brief description of the owner's advertising policy should be included.
- Content intended to promote or sell a product or service should be clearly distinguished from the educational and scientific content.
Accountability to Users
- Multiple methods of contacting the owner of the site (e-mail address, electronic form, mail, phone, fax) must be available from the home page and be easily accessible from other pages of the site.
- Owner or representative should respond to feedback in a timely and appropriate manner.
- A site offering interactive exchanges (e.g., chat room, medical advice) should provide information about the moderator or clinician's expertise and affiliations and source of compensation, as well as a disclaimer that all posted information may not be accurate.
- Sites should not collect, use, or share personal data without the a user's specific affirmative consent.
- Users should be informed of any use of data they provide.
- Sites must describe how the organization treats private or semi-private information such as e-mail addresses and content. A privacy statement or confidentiality policy page must be displayed.
- Sites should take reasonable steps to protect personal data from unauthorized access.
- Efforts should be made to partner with or link only to other websites that comply with the same high standards as the home site, including policies on privacy and advertising.
- Indicate whether links to other sites are informational only or if such links imply endorsement.
- Indicate when users are leaving the home site (e.g., a disclaimer sentence, descriptive sentence about the linked source, or transitional screen).