DRAFT: ACRL/SAA Joint Statement on Access to Original Research Materials

1. RESPONSIBILITY. It is the responsibility of a repository (1) to make available original research materials (2) in its possession on equal terms of access (3). Access to all research materials, regardless of format, should be provided in accordance with clearly defined and publicized institutional access policy, the “Code of Ethics for Archivists” (4), the “ACRL Code of Ethics for Special Collections Librarians” (5) and this Joint Statement. A repository should not deny any researcher access to materials, nor grant privileged or exclusive use of materials to any researcher, nor conceal the existence of any body of materials from any researcher, unless required to do so by law, institutional access policy, or donor or purchase stipulation.

2. PUBLICITY. A repository should inform researchers in a timely manner of the collections in its custody in accordance with institutional access policy and current professional practice. This may be accomplished through the assistance of staff members; entries in local, regional, or national catalogs; inventories, and other internal documents describing a repository’s holdings and created using nationally recognized standards; published guides; repository websites; and other means, including announcements in appropriate media. The existence of original research materials should be reported, even if they are not fully accessible because they are not processed or because of restrictions.

3. RESTRICTIONS. Repositories must be committed to preserving original research materials and to making them available for research as quickly as practicable following their acquisition. Nevertheless, a repository must fulfill legal and institutional obligations to protect confidentiality and physical security of its collections. Moreover, private donors may wish to impose reasonable restrictions upon their papers for a defined period of time to protect privacy or confidentiality.
a. Repositories must inform researchers of restrictions that apply to collections.
b. Repositories should discourage donors from imposing unreasonable restrictions and should encourage a specific time limitation on restrictions that are imposed.
c. Repositories should periodically reevaluate restricted material and work toward the removal of restrictions when they are no longer required.

4. POLICIES. To protect and insure the continued accessibility of its holdings, repositories should require all patrons to use all research materials in accordance with published institutional policies. Each repository should publish or otherwise make known to potential researchers its policies governing access and use. Such policies should be applied and enforced equally, and may include provisions such as:
a. To protect its collections, repositories may, in accordance with legal authority and institutional access policy, require acceptable identification of any individual wishing to use its materials, as well as a signature verifying the individual has agreed to abide by a statement defining the policies and regulations of the repository.
b. Repositories should also instruct researchers in proper handling of fragile materials.
c. Repositories may refuse access to an individual researcher who has violated the published policies and regulations of the repository.
d. Repositories may limit the use of fragile or unusually valuable materials, but should try to provide suitable reproductions to researchers in lieu of the originals.
e. Repositories may limit access to unprocessed materials, as long as the limitations are applied and enforced equally.
f. Repositories may, under special circumstances, lend or place on deposit with another repository part or all of a collection. (6).

5. FEES AND SERVICES. Repositories should provide access to its holdings at no direct cost to the researcher. In situations where this is not possible, reasons for charging fees should be made publicly available. A repository should facilitate access to collections by providing reasonably priced reproduction services that are administered in accordance with legal authority, including copyright law, institutional access policy, and repository regulations. These services may include electronic, paper, or photographic copies; microfilm; or other means of reproduction. A repository is not obligated to provide reproductions or research services beyond those required by institutional access policy. Repositories may impose reasonable limits on requests for reproductions, but such limits should be clearly stated in the institutional access policy and should also be equally applied. The institutional access policy should clearly state whether researchers are permitted to make their own copies of research materials and repository staff should insure that such copying activity is mediated by and conforms to institutional access policy.

6. CITATIONS. Each repository should publish or otherwise make available to researchers a suggested form of concise citation crediting the repository and identifying items within its holdings for later reference. Citations to copies of materials in other repositories should include the location of the originals.

7. COPYRIGHT. It is the researcher's obligation to satisfy copyright law when copying or using materials found in collections.(7) A repository should inform a researcher about the status of known copyrighted material, the researcher's obligations with regard to such material, and, wherever possible, the owner or owners of the copyrights.

1. Repository is defined as an archive, special collections library, research center, museum, historical society, or any other institution responsible for keeping original research materials.
2. Research materials are defined as archival or manuscript collections, individual manuscript, fonds, or record groups found in repositories in any format, printed materials, photographs, artwork, and historical artifacts.
3. Access is defined as permission to locate and consult materials within legally established restrictions of privacy, confidentiality, and security clearance (adapted from definition 2 in the Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology [Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2005]). 27 Feb 2006, < http://archivists.org/glossary/>.
4. “Code of Ethics for Archivists” Council Handbook, Appendix K (Society of American Archivists approved by the SAA Council 5 Feb 2005.) 23 Feb 2006, < http://www.archivists.org/governance/handbook/app_ethics.asp>.
5. “ACRL Code of Ethics for Special Collections Librarians” (Rare Books and Manuscripts Section, Association of College & Research Libraries, approved by ACRL Oct 2003). 23 Feb 2006, < http://www.rbms.nd.edu/standards/cod_of_ethics.shtml>.
6. “ACRL Code of Ethics for Special Collections Librarians” (Rare Books and Manuscripts Section, Association of College & Research Libraries, approved by ACRL Oct 2003). 23 Feb 2006, < http://www.rbms.nd.edu/standards/cod_of_ethics.shtml>.
7. Repositories may wish to provide researchers with the American Library Association's publication, Complete Copyright (Chicago, ALA, 2004), the Society of American Archivists’ publication, Copyright for Archivists and Users of Archives (2nd ed.) (FACET, 2004), or the web resource, WATCH (Writers, Artists and Their Copyright Holders) File (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin, 2004): < http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/news/press/2004/watch.html>.