Credibility - mandatory

Websites that contain content presenting a conflict of interest that could have a negative impact on WHO integrity, independence, credibility or reputation are not eligible for membership.

1. Mission of website

1.1           Purpose of website or institution behind website is stated

1.2           Intended audience(s) is defined

1.3           If mission statement is provided, mission and content match

2. Disclosure of ownership/source

2.1           Organization name or logo appears on every page

2.2           Contact information (email or postal address) is easily accessible from all pages but need not be posted on every page. Multiple methods of contacting website owner (generic email address, electronic form, postal address) are provided but need not be posted on every page

2.3           Users can easily access homepage or contact page from any page. For modern sites, clicking on the logo takes users to homepage

2.4           Qualifications of organization or individual website owner are obvious, including type of organization

2.5           Website discloses individuals’ affiliations and alliances and relationships that might influence content of website

2.6           Website lists names and affiliations of each member of the editorial board, advisory board, and board of directors. If organization does not have a board, this criterion will be considered addressed if information regarding site content policy or editorial policy is included

3. Transparency of sponsorship

3.1           Website uses one or more of the methods listed below to describe the manner in which the organization or website addresses sponsorship or funding:

 - Disclosure of all sources of funding for the organization, website or people involved in development or review of website content; describe role of funding source

- Disclosure of relevant individual or financial associations that might be considered a potential conflict of interest

- If advertising is a source of funding, this is clearly stated and a brief description of the website advertising policy is included

3.2           If website includes third-party content or advertising, website indicates whether it has control over this material; website includes a disclaimer stating that displaying this extra content does not imply endorsement

3.3           If advertising space is sold, website specifies how it uses funds from these marketing activities

3.4           Website may sell materials if they align with the website mission; content intended to promote or sell products or services is clearly distinguished from educational and scientific content

4. Accountability to users

4.1           Users can contact website owner to report technical issues such as broken links or to provide feedback

4.2           To evaluate website responsiveness, the assessor should send a test question; responsiveness is assessed after seven calendar days (or as per the website’s policy)

4.3           The language used to respond matches the literacy level of the website audience

4.4           Interactive exchanges between the website manager and the website audience include information about the moderators’ and clinicians’ expertise and affiliations; alternatively, the website displays the policy used to address users’ queries

4.5           If website includes a comments section, it discloses how comments are moderated

5. Data protection and privacy

5.1           Website displays privacy statement or confidentiality policy that describes how organization treats private or semi-private information if collected. Website does not collect, use or share personal data without user’s consent. Website informs users of use of cookies and any data they provide

5.2           If registration is required to access the website or a section of it, the privacy policy explains how personal account information will be protected, and under what circumstances it will be shared or not shared with third parties. Policy for sharing information is disclosed to registering users

5.3           Website has a valid SSL certificate and uses https encryption for web traffic as part of its digital resilience

6. Responsible partnering

6.1           VSN members are encouraged to partner with or link to other websites with the same high standards. Within the content, hypertext links to other resources are selected carefully, and their content is accurate, current and credible. Any broken links are fixed within six weeks.

6.2           Website indicates when users are leaving the home site by using an external link icon or a disclaimer statement, by opening a new window, or by some other means (e.g. colour change)