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Copyright: Tests and Measures

Resources about copyright and fair use.

Responsible Use of Tests

Nearly all tests and measurements are copyrighted, including those which you can find freely available.

Important for writers of dissertations and theses  You are responsible for ensuring that you have permission to use a test for your research. You will need to contact the author or journal publisher, identify yourself, and indicate how you plan to use the test. While some tests may be used with permission at no charge, many psychological and educational tests must be purchased directly from the publisher   For more information about copyright, see the Copyright Guide.

Milner Library does not purchase tests and measurements. The only ones available through the library will be those obtainable in some of the sources listed elsewhere on this guide.


Tests generally fall into two categories: Published and Unpublished.

Published (Commercial) Tests
Published tests are those tests available for purchase from a publisher.


  • Usually report the issues of validity and reliability and how they were established.
  • Usually have population norms and standardized scores
  • Publishers maintain the copies of tests, test manuals, and scoring keys.
  • Since publishers control the copyright to tests they distribute, permissions should be made clear with the purchase.


  • May be expensive--in some cases very expensive
  • May take some time to get from the publisher
  • May require that the administrator must be a licensed professional or meet certain criteria.

Unpublished Tests
Unpublished tests, paradoxically, refer to tests that are not available for sale via publishers. That is, unpublished in this context refers to tests which were probably published, just not for sale. Unpublished tests and measures are published in journal articles, books, dissertations - in a variety of places. 


  • Usually are free or inexpensive


  • May be difficult to locate
  • May be issues with validity and reliability
  • May be issues with scoring
  • Need to obtain permission from the author and/or journal

Education and Psychology Librarian

Sarah Dick
Hovey Hall, 309A
Graduate School
(309) 438-2860