Update on Our Member Institutions' Research Policies

Our member institutions continue to adapt to the pandemic in order to facilitate safe research activity where it is possible. Please see below for their particular research policies:

American Philosophical Society

  • The APS Reading Room is currently closed to researchers.
  • Researchers may submit requests for digital scans, but should expect considerable delays in receiving materials. Please contact reference@amphilsoc.org with questions.



  • There are no current plans for reopening the reading room to researchers.
  • Caltech offers digitization by request. Researchers can request specific folders from finding aids, and we’re happy to assess whether their contents support the researchers’ projects and to provide approximate page counts. We then charge 45¢ per page to non-Caltech researchers, with a turnaround time of a couple weeks depending on the size of the request.


Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Archive

  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Library and Archives will approve in-person research visits on a case-by-case basis. Appointments are required. Archives staff are currently on-site on a limited schedule. Prerequisites for research visits include but are not limited to no recent contact with COVID and no recent travel via public transportation outside of the NY area (i.e. planes, trains, etc). Masks must be worn full-time while inside the building and on the Laboratory grounds.
  • Virtual research visits are permitted, dependent on staff availability. Consultation requests must be made via email to archives@cshl.edu<mailto:archives@cshl.edu>. Requests should be as detailed as possible (include name of collections interested in, box numbers and folder numbers interested in viewing). Any scanning requests must be equal to or less than 30 pages. Exceptions may be made as needed depending on staff availability. Archivists are responding to all reference requests and pointing to digital online resources freely available to researchers including:
    • Sydney Brenner Collection
    • James D. Watson Collection
    • Carol Greider Collection
    • Barbara McClintock Collection
    • Spring Harbor Symposia Photographs
    • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Annual Reports
    • Eugenics Records Office Collection
  • Contact archives@cshl.edu for more information.


College of Physicians of Philadelphia

  • The Historical Medical Library is currently closed to researchers. CPP hopes to open the reading room in April.
  • Library staff have limited access to the building but we are doing as much remote reference as possible, although with lengthier questions and/or large volumes of reference scans (or phone photos), requests can sometimes take several weeks to fulfill.
  • When we reopen our reading room, research appointments will be extremely limited due to social distancing measures and severe staff shortages.  We will continue to be appointment only, with enhanced cleaning protocols, etc.  Researchers can find our policies (last updated October 2020) here: https://collegeofphysicians.org/library/policies.


Drexel University

  • Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University – Archives
    • Open to ANS staff researchers with clearance to be in building
    • Digital research copies may be available by request; allow 2-4 weeks for responses
    • May be able to consider individual requests to visit archives--contact the Brooke Dolan Archivist (https://ansp.org/research/library/archives/)
  • Drexel University Archives
    • University Archives staff are currently working on campus for a limited number of hours per week and will fulfill researcher requests for digitized materials whenever possible. Researchers whose inquiries are time-sensitive and cannot be completed with digitized material should contact archives@drexel.edu to discuss their options.
    • Please note that access to the reading room is currently restricted to currently enrolled students and employed Drexel faculty and staff with a current Drexel ID and at the discretion of the University Archives staff.
    • Archives staff are available to answer questions and provide remote research consultations, consultations about donating or transferring records to the Archives, rights and reproductions support, and advice about implementing the University’s Records Management policy.


Harvard (Countway Library)

  • At the Countway, our reading room is not presently open.  It is unlikely we'll be open to (non-Harvard) fellows before July 1st. 
  • Digitization of materials is possible, to a certain extent. Contact Jessica Murphy, Public Services Librarian, for more information: Jessica_Murphy@hms.harvard.edu


Johns Hopkins University

  • Hopkins Special Collections units are closed to non-JHU affiliates at this time. Access for faculty and students from other educational institutions will be designated for later dates in the phased Johns Hopkins re-opening plan.


New York Academy of Medicine

  • The library remains closed to in person researchers, and we do not yet know when we will be allowing anyone to come to the library in person.
  • Arlene Shaner works at the library in person several days a week (usually three or four days) and is available for consultation via email or phone. Assistance with research can include examining archival collections held by the Academy to determine whether they contain relevant material, and scanning of archival and printed materials within reason (keeping in mind staffing limitations).


Newberry Library

  • Currently the Newberry’s reading rooms are closed to the public and fellows, but we have staff fielding reference and digitization requests as they come in.
  • On March 2, we are planning to reopening our reading rooms to staff, fellows, and public readers. We will be operating on an appointment basis, with morning and afternoon slots for appointments. At each appointment readers can request up to five collection items – up to the box level – to consult.
  • We anticipate being able to welcome short-term fellows to the building in April.


Rockefeller Archive Center

  • The Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) has been closed since March 2020, with staff working from home. Our current plans are for it to re-open first to staff in July 2021, and then later in the summer or fall to researchers. 
  • Our reference staff is permitted very restricted access to the RAC building (at most, once a week) and we are able to respond to requests for digital duplication of folders of archival material from other collections not listed above.  RAC charges $0.50 per page, plus a $10.00 for every 500 pages.  In other words, when researchers reach 501, 1001, etc. pages, they will trigger additional service fees.  It should be noted that due to the very heavy demand for offsite requests of digital copies of archival material, RAC currently has a 3-4 month backlog for these requests.  (They are fulfilled on a first-come, first-serve basis.)
  • During this closure, our reference staff continues to be engaged with researchers both locally and around the world, responding to reference requests and pointing out digital resources available to them online.
  • Examples of digitized online resources include:
    Rockefeller Foundation officers' diaries
    Rockefeller Foundation fellowship recorder cards
    Ford Foundation catalogued reports
    The records of the Bureau of Social Hygiene
    The records of the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial
    A growing list of archival film, newsreels, and other AV clips on RAC's YouTube page


Science History Institute

  • The Othmer Library Special Collections are open to researchers, by appointment, on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Appointments must be made and confirmed 24 hours in advance. For information on remote services, please contact reference@sciencehistory.org


Smithsonian Institution

  • The Smithsonian Institution museums, libraries, and archival reading rooms are closed to the public indefinitely. Moreover, only skeletal staff are onsite for security and collections care monitoring, so we are currently unable to offer remote research services. 


United States Naval Observatory

  • The US Naval Observatory Library will approve in-person research visits on a case-by-case basis. Appointments are required. Library staff are currently on-site full time. Prerequisites for research visits include but are not limited to no recent contact with COVID and no recent travel via public transportation outside of the DC/MD/VA area (i.e. planes, trains, etc). Masks must be worn full-time while on federal property.
  • Virtual research visits are permitted, dependent on staff availability. Appointments are required. Consultations may be made by phone or over email. Library staff are making a concerted effort to freely fulfill scan requests, but each request must be equal to or less than 20 pages. Exceptions may be made as needed depending on staff availability.


University of Oklahoma

  • The History of Science Collections of the University of Oklahoma is currently closed to visiting researchers. We anticipate opening for fall of 2021.


University of Pennsylvania