Contribute material

How do I contribute material?

If you have any material that you think ought to be in the archive, please download and fill this form, (PDF version available here) and email it to  (Contacts: Phyllis Macfarlane and Phyllis Vangelder).

This page describes the kind of material we’re seeking to add to the archive, and also answers some FAQs about confidentiality.


What are we actually looking for?

Tim Harford named Market Research as one of the 50 things that made the modern economy; the role of the Archive is to preserve all the materials which demonstrate the important role played by research since WW2.

Broadly we are looking for any reports, articles, papers and other documents (on paper or digital) that you have on market and social research.

In general, we would like anything that academics, students, historians and researchers of all kinds will find interesting in the future.

Think of all the changes in our society, culture, and the way we live that have occurred in the last 70+ years – market research was involved in guiding many of them.

The development of food and retail, improved services everywhere, the impact of technology on our lives. Market and Social research is the record of it all.


  • The project findings and impact of research from across the broad range of client industries, plus social studies which provide a picture of the way we have lived as a nation. We welcome qualitative or quantitative or other methods which tell us what people were thinking, doing and believing.
  • The changes and developments which have occurred within the market and social research industry. Papers on technical issues, data collection, the impact of new technology.  Documenting the experiments which worked and those that didn’t will help shape the future.
  • The evolution of standards and codes of conduct which have guided our practitioners and protected the industry from ethical and operational criticisms.
  • The Modern collections in the Archive recognise the needs of future historians. In particular, material relating to research conducted concerning the 2020 Covid pandemic, Diversity, Inclusivity and Equality and Brexit will be valuable. To find out more about our Modern collections, please see our news item here.


What about confidentiality?

The issues of client confidentiality are twofold:

  • who owns the Intellectual Property (IP) of the document in question?
  • the issue of client confidentiality.

Ownership of the IP

This should in most cases be the Agency that did the work and produced the document. However, in some instances Agencies will have signed contracts with particular Clients which specified that the Client retained all IP.

If you own the IP then you have the right to sign the document over to the Archive. If you believe that the Client owns the IP, then you need the client’s permission.

However, in many cases the Client may no longer exist, so permission cannot be sought or given. If this is the case but you feel that the document is an important part of MR history, and should be preserved,  then you can give the document to the Archive and we will take responsibility for getting permission from the client, or a representative of the client, or, if this does not prove possible, then we will not make the document public until a specified time from the date of authorship has passed. (We suggest 30 years – but you may wish to specify a longer period.)

Client confidentiality

Even if you own the IP of the document, you may feel that it is sensitive in some way, or that you are bound to respect client confidentiality for ever. In this case you should seek the client’s permission – or pass it to the Archive with the caveat that we will obtain permission – or embargo the document until a specified amount of time has passed.

In all cases we feel it is better to preserve all the documents we can, even if they are not made public for many years, rather than lose them forever.  So please contact us

If you have any concerns about whether you should donate some, or all, of the material you would like us to preserve, please contact Phyllis Macfarlane or Phyllis Vangelder.