In 2017, the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), together with an international network of archive experts and with the financial support from the Open Society Institute - Budapest Foundation, developed a methodology to evaluate the openness of state archives. The evaluation was done on 20 state archives in 10 post-Soviet countries.
The evaluation methodology, covers key legal and practical aspects of archival openness. The methodology consists of 5 components:
- Archival legislation – the extent to which archival legislation ensures openness of state archives.
- Other legislation related to archives – the extent to which related legislation ensures openness of state archives.
- Archival services – the extent to which archival services are available and in order.
- Archive website – the extent to which the archive website is useful for researchers.
- Reading hall – the extent to which reading hall regulations and practice are in order.
The evaluation revealed the following key findings:
- All 10 countries, including Georgia, require legislative reforms to ensure greater openness of archives.
- No well-performing archive has separate rules for domestic and foreign citizens.
- Well-performing archives provide written legal substantiations for refusing to grant access to documents, while underperforming archives only provide verbal explanations.
- Most archives of (former) law enforcement agencies do not have a website and reading hall. Ukraine and Georgia stand as exceptions.
- Only 2 of the 20 archives allow researchers to take photos using their own cameras in the reading halls.
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