Permission Request Guidelines

This page provides detailed information on how to request and use IEA’s study materials.

IEA believes in the importance of Open Science as a way to support scientific research. IEA is eager to share study instruments and other study-related documents as long as these are available for public access and their use aligns with IEA values. Moreover, study instruments and other study-related materials are IEA’s intellectual property and copyright protected. It is for these reasons that access to and the use of materials always requires granted approval, which can only be obtained through the official IEA Permission Request Form. This includes materials that are publicly available on IEA or ISC websites.

Translated study materials are jointly owned by IEA and the National Study Center (NSC) from the country where the study was administered in the respective language. IEA will take the needed steps to acquire permission from the relevant NSC on a requester’s behalf.


When completing the IEA Permission Request Form, it is important to include clear information about the materials that are being requested and the planned usage of them. This will help IEA make an informed decision about the potential approval of the request.

Please ensure that your submitted form contains information on the following:

  • Type of requested materials
  • Language(s) of the materials
  • Purpose of the research or educational project (such as content analysis, data collection, or training purposes)
  • Intended use of the results (if applicable)
  • Requester’s affiliation
Available Materials

IEA’s studies facilitate research on a range of subjects across different populations. From these studies, which are listed in the table below, the following types of IEA study materials can be available upon request:

(1) Assessment items

After the end of each study cycle a select number of assessment items (approximately one-quarter) are made available for secondary research. These items are called restricted-use items, and the selection of restricted-use items varies from one study to the other. The remaining items are maintained as secured (not available for public use) to be used for upcoming IEA study cycles and additional linking studies.

A permission request can be made for the use of some or all of a cycle’s restricted-use items. A list with examples of restricted-use items is published together with the international results, and the remaining restricted-use items are also accessible upon request.

(2) Context or background questionnaires

IEA studies collect data about the contexts of learning and teaching by means of questionnaires completed by students and/or their parents, teachers, or school principals. The type of background questionnaires available depends on each study.

(3) Other publication materials

The use of copyrighted tables, figures, or excerpts included within IEA publications also require receiving formal permission through the Permission Request Form.


Assessment Items


Target Population



Students in fourth grade and/or eighth grade

Mathematics and science

TIMSS Advanced

Students in twelfth grade

Mathematics and physics


Students in fourth grade



Students in eighth grade

Civic and citizenship


Students in eighth grade

Computer and information literacy and/or computational thinking


Teachers and principals

Preparedness on distance learning


Students in eighth grade

Civic education



Information and Communications Technology (ICT) knowledge


Primary and lower-secondary education teachers

Teaching mathematics

Older IEA Studies

Students in fourth grade and/or eighth grade

Science achievement, classroom environment, mathematics, civic education, literature, reading comprehension, or knowledge of foreign languages

*Please note that assessment items may be available on paper or online format (depending on the language, study, and study cycle). Online instruments cannot be used for data collection purposes.

Criteria for Approval

The permission request procedure aids in monitoring how IEA materials are used outside of the regular study cycle, and it helps in preventing any possible misuse of them, protecting the integrity and reputation of IEA and its studies.

The principles for granting a permission request are based on the following criteria:

  • Sufficient information is provided in all required sections of the form.
  • The requested materials are neither secured for upcoming study cycles, confidential, nor unavailable to IEA. 
  • The intended scope of the request is reasonable and acceptable under IEA standards.
  • The requester won’t publish more than five restricted-use items to be used as examples.
  • The requester can confirm that no comparisons to the international study results will be made and that no conclusions will be drawn about the study as a whole.
  • Other involved parties agree to the request (if applicable), such as NSCs when non-English languages are requested.
  • The intended project does not conflict with IEA studies.
Guidelines for NSCs

NSCs may use IEA study materials within the study cycle without asking for formal permission. This also includes activities for national reporting of study results.

If NSCs intend to use IEA study materials outside of the study cycle, they are required to ask for permission. Activities that require IEA’s approval include collecting data with IEA study instruments, reproducing (publishing) study instruments (print and online), and preparing educational materials for schools and staff.

NSCs may publish the national version of the context questionnaires on their website. However, a note should be added stating that these materials can only be used by external parties after obtaining permission from IEA.

Using national materials requires joint permission from IEA and the respective NSCs. For this purpose, NSCs will be asked to provide their perspective about the request and can decide to deny use of the requested materials if the request is deemed inappropriate. If NSCs receive requests for national instruments directly, they are asked to reach out to IEA to initiate the permission request procedure.

Data and RUFs

Accessing IEA data does not require requesting permission. If you wish to examine IEA’s data or receive more details about retrieving restricted use files, a different procedure is followed. Please visit the data repository on our website for further information about this.

Disclaimer and Contact

By requesting IEA study materials, you agree to the terms and conditions associated with their use. Please read the disclaimer for full details on this.

If you have questions regarding any step(s) of the permission request process, please reach out to IEA at