Charging for enquiries

From Our Toolkit

It is commonplace now for organisations to charge for services such as responding to research enquiries. If you either are already receiving sufficient enquiries to warrant this or if you think you would if you were to promote the service (as long as you have capacity to respond)


Always check what others are doing in your area before setting up your scheme. Good practice to speak to others and see how well they think their service is running, what their top tips would be and if they will share it an anticipated income they receive from the service.

Look at what other similar organisations are offering and what is being offered in your local areas. Libraries and county record offices are often good reference points for research fees.

Many organisations offer a set amount of research time for free and then start charging per 30 minutes of research thereafter.

For archives:

The National Archives have produced guidance on Freedom of Information, publication schemes and paid research services.

Examples of charging scales for research enquiries for reference:

For museums:

For archives:

Research strategy

Depending on the size and capacity of your organisation, it may be appropriate for your research charges for form part of a larger research strategy document. Museums Galleries Scotland provide advice on the Importance of Research on where it fits in with your organisational priorities.

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