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Measurement Instruments for Research, Education, and Clinical Practice

Copyright and Permissions

There are a wide variety of ways that instrument producers make their measurement tools available for use and/or adaptation.  Permissions and whether or not there are fees to use an instrument are discussed in records in PsycTESTS (there are also search limits for these features) and Mental Measurements and Tests in Print. 

Terminology varies across databases and sites, for example, the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education uses four Access categories which are not mutually exclusive.  Their categories listed below may not be used in the same way as on other sites--for example, although only one is called Copyrighted, it is likely that all of the instruments with the exception of those provided by the federal government have rightsholders.  Open access instruments may have an associated license, such as a Creative Commons license.  

  1. Open access (available on their website)

  2. Subscription (can be viewed in journal article) [NOTE: instrument is likely also copyrighted; permission approach may be clear in the article or you may have to contact the publisher]

  3. Copyrighted (needs permission of author) 

  4. License required 

If you need to seek permission or an exemption to use the instrument, visit the Exemptions Section of the OHSU Library's Copyright Guide.


The search approaches in the sections of the guide above include how to search the Measurement Instrument Databases and Literature Databases by language.  However, there will be times that no instrument is accessible in the languages read by the population you wish to have participate. 

Here at OHSU, talk with Language Services for help finding qualified translation assistance.  The OHSU policy (internal) Written Translation of Documents for Individuals with Limited English Proficiency document provides contact information for Language Services and other guidance. 

Developing and Deploying Instruments

Considering developing your own instrument? The OHSU Library has helpful background reading such as:

Streiner, D. L. (2015). Health Measurement Scales: A Practical Guide to Their Development and Use (5th ed.). 

Two options at OHSU for securely deploying an instrument online:

1. REDCap - Oregon Clinical & Translational Research Institute. They also have a helpful survey class you can take! 

2. OHSU Secure Qualtrics