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Statement on Accessing Institute Records

The records of the Institute will be made available to users in accordance with the MIT Corporation’s records access policy (adopted May 1980),  MIT Policies and Procedures, and the rules and regulations of the Department of Distinctive Collections. Temporary restrictions on access are listed here to promote transparency and equitable terms of access to Institute records. Before accessing the records of the Institute, users must complete the Access Agreement Form [PDF].

Institute records that were published by their creator(s) (e.g. press releases, speeches, public websites) are open for research immediately. Records donated by alumni, student or community organizations, or individuals or organizations unaffiliated with MIT may be restricted by the donors for a defined period of time if necessary to protect privacy, personal information, or other concerns.

The following types of Institute records have specific time-bound restrictions:

  • Institute records that have been transferred to the Department of Distinctive Collections are typically closed for a period of 20 years from the date of their creation. During the restriction period, the records will be available only to the office of origin. Others may request written permission for access from the office of origin. If the office no longer exists, written approval must be obtained from the appropriate Institute officer(s) now responsible for the function performed by the office of origin.
  • Records of the MIT Corporation, including the records of the Visiting Committees and the minutes of the Executive Committee, are closed for a period of 50 years from the date of their creation.
  • Records that contain information protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) are closed for a period of 75 years from the date of their creation. These records may include grade sheets, student work, letters of recommendation, internship program records, disciplinary files, and other correspondence, notes, or reports that comment on the performance of specific students. Directory information as defined by FERPA may be released unless the student or their family has requested that directory information about them be suppressed.
  • Official personnel files or records related to faculty or staff personnel matters are closed for a period of 75 years from the date of their creation. These records may include information about searches and appointments, tenure and promotion cases, evaluations, salary figures, disciplinary files, and other correspondence, notes, or reports that comment on the performance of specific faculty or staff members.
  • Medical experiment records are closed for a period of 75 years from the date of their creation. These records may include patient records, consent forms, and human research applications or approvals. Some records may have a longer restriction period if covered by other Institute policies, e.g. the Committee on the Use of Humans as Experimental Subjects (COUHES) record keeping policy.