Published tests(also referred to as “commercially available” or “proprietary”) are well-known standardized tests that have been rigorously evaluated, are under copyright, and must be purchased through a test publisher. Purchase is restricted to advanced degree holders and/or qualified professionals for use in research, teaching, and clinical practice.
Unpublished tests (also referred to as “experimental”) have been used by other researchers but are not yet commercially available. These are typically available free of charge and can be found in books like test compilation volumes, in journal articles, and in dissertations. They may also be available from the author.
Ethical Use of Tests & Measures
Tests/ measures are the intellectual property of authors or publishers. Unauthorized modification of a published or unpublished test for a research project is a violation of the publisher’s or author’s copyright, and is thus both unethical and illegal.
It is usually o.k. to make a copy for personal use, to show a class, or to include in a paper which will be read and used in a classroom environment.
It is not o.k. to use an instrument in research, particularly if the research will be published or distributed outside a single classroom or course, unless permission has been given. Users have ethical responsibilities to: (a) contact the test author and request permission to use their test; (b) secure their permission in writing if the material is copyrighted.
Source: Helen Hough, Health Sciences Librarian, Central Library, University of Texas at Arlington