American Archivist Generative AI Statement


In Spring of 2023, American Archivist editors learned that authors had used artificial intelligence (AI) platforms such as ChatGPT in submissions to the Reviews Portal. This sparked a conversation within the Editorial Board about the ethical use of AI in American Archivist content. As ChatGPT and other AI programs are becoming ubiquitous, the American Archivist Editorial Board is endorsing the following Norms and Recommendations for AI use within our publications. 

The Editorial Board recognizes that the technological landscape is rapidly evolving with regard to AI in scholarship and journal publication. We recognize that AI has great potential to contribute to archivists’ professional work, including creating summary documents for finding aids and facilitating data analysis for large projects. The American Archivist Editorial Board recognizes the opportunity to engage AI for scholarship and professional growth.

For the integrity of the journal, our goal is to define standards for the journal and the reviews portal, and to encourage authors to be transparent about their use of generative AI platforms, including ChatGPT, in content they submit. While the Editorial Board will not reject a piece solely based on the use of AI, we want to be clear about how AI is used in any context in American Archivist. We value an ethical approach to publishing and transparency for our professional membership and our readership.

We recognize that there is a distinction between using AI for assistance with spelling and grammar, and using AI to generate content. Multiple disciplines are voicing concerns about generative AI, and as a journal representing one arm of the allied information professions, this is what concerns us most. First, generative AI may pose substantial issues for copyright and intellectual property: generative AI uses other publications and writings that appear online, and these may not be appropriately attributed for copyright purposes. AI generated content may also reproduce biases from existing online content, and spread misinformation. In addition, our own editorial experience has shown that AI generated citations may produce references to articles that simply do not exist.[1]

In an effort to discourage the spread of misinformation, in an effort to maintain integrity of the journal, and to value our responsibility to authors, Society of American Archivist (SAA) members, and readers, the American Archivist Editorial Board is setting forth these Norms and Recommendations for the use of AI in our publications.

Norms and Recommendations:

These Norms and Recommendations represent an ethical agreement between authors submitting content to the journal and portal, and the Editorial Board. They are intended to encourage transparency in the use of AI in the research and publication process. They are not strictly enforced, nor do they purport to be a legally binding agreement between SAA, American Archivist, or the authors submitting content. The Editorial Board will review these norms and recommendations on an annual basis.

• No article will be summarily rejected because of the use of AI.

• Articles containing purely generated AI content are prohibited. 

• Authors must disclose the use of AI when a manuscript (review or article) is submitted. This includes, but is not limited to, AI generated content and data analysis. For maximum transparency, this disclosure should appear at the beginning of the article—in an author’s note, the abstract, or a statement prior to the article’s introduction.

• All content—regardless of the use of AI—will go through normal review channels (double blind peer review and/or editorial review, as appropriate).

• Editorial decisions are made based on peer/editorial review, quality of writing, and content. 

• Editors reserve the right to request AI transcripts from authors as well as additional information about its specific use, including where and how AI was used in the piece.

• Editors reserve the right to provide AI transcripts to peer reviewers as context for the piece.

Adopted February 15, 2024

Next scheduled review: February 2025

[1] Why does ChatGPT generate fake references? - TECHE ( 

Read other submissions guidelines here