Core Documents

Commentaries to the Guidelines for Practice

Commentary 19 - Scientific Investigation

Scientific investigation may be carried out by a variety of conservation professionals, including scientists, conservators, and technicians. It uses data that may be derived directly from cultural property, from materials to be used for the conservation of cultural property, from materials replicating aspects of cultural property, or from the environments which surround them. It may also use data from related fields.

  1. Rationale
    • In order to insure the validity of the information derived from scientific investigation it is essential that long standing standards and protocols developed by the scientific community be employed. Failure to do this can lead to invalid, incomplete or useless results.
  2. Minimum Accepted Practice
    • As denoted in Guideline 19:
      • All members of the research team, and their roles, must be accurately credited.
  3. Recommended Practice
    • The conservation professional should publish the results of scientific investigation in peer-reviewed literature.
    • Raw data generated during scientific investigation should be suitably archived and preserved. When scientific investigation is carried out on a cultural property, information regarding the location of the data should become part of the permanent record of the cultural property.
    • When scientific investigation is carried out on a cultural property, a written agreement should be made between the owner/custodian and the conservation professional carrying out the scientific investigation regarding the availability of the data to other researchers. (SeeGuideline 7 Confidentiality.)
    • All data not of a confidential nature should be made available to other credible researchers.


Approved by the AIC Board October 1998.