Personal data shall not be stored longer than necessary, taking into account the purpose of the processing. This declaration does not prevent an authority from archiving and storing public documents or allowing the University archive material to be later taken over by an archiving authority. This is considered by the GDPR as a legal ground for creating information of public interest. Management of authorities' official documents is covered by a regulatory framework consisting of laws, ordinances and directives[1]. In the Archives Ordinance the right of the Swedish National Archives to regulate public authority management of archives is decreed. The regulations are issued for material and methods of creation of documents, structuring of the archives, auditing of the archives, protection of archives and deletion and other disposal of documents among other things. Swedish National Archives regulations are published in two different series, partly in Swedish National Archives general statutes (RA-FS), and partly in the Swedish National Archives authority specific statutes (RA-MS). 

According to the Archives Act public authority archives shall be stored, kept in order and maintained such that they ensure:

Public right of transparency - The principle of public access to official records defined by the Swedish Freedom of the Press Act (TF) holds a central place in the Swedish legal ordinance. This means that the public, often private individuals and representatives of the media, have the right of transparency regarding the work of public authorities and access to their public documentation. The public documentation which describes activities over time shall therefore be stored.

Administration of justice - it is important to keep documents which show what the authority or an individual officer has done or not done, e.g. what the authority has agreed on through a contract with another party.

Research needs- Documentation adjudged to be of value for future research shall be stored. This judgement is often made in conjunction with the organisation.

In addition to the storage requirements of the Archives Act there is obviously a need to store information in order to supply the needs of an organisation to be able to carry out its activities by means of completed and archived jobs and projects.

Concept of a document and types of documents

The concept of a document is defined in Chapter 2 of the Swedish Freedom of the Press Act (TF) 3:

"Document is understood to mean any written or pictorial matter or recording which may be read, listened to, or otherwise comprehended only using technical aids.” A document is independent of its medium.

There are different types of document:

Working document - is a draft or outline concerning a decision or letter by the authority plus memoranda. The document is not public if it has not been sent or received for archiving. By ‘memorandum’ is meant an aide-mémoire or other notation made for the presentation or preparation of a case or matter. A working document which provides facts related to the task shall always be kept.

Public document - A document is public, if it is stored, received by or drawn up by a public authority.

Confidential document - public documents or information in a public document may be protected by confidentiality pursuant to the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act taking into account:

  • national security or Sweden’s relations with a foreign state or an international organisation
  • the central financial policy, the monetary policy, or the national foreign exchange policy;
  • the inspection, control or other supervisory activities of a public authority
  • the interest of preventing or prosecuting crime
  • the public economic interest
  • the protection of the personal or economic circumstances of private persons
  • the preservation of animal or plant species.

Official documents - The basic rule is that documents which are public are also official.

Archiving - research specific

Research activity is basic research, applied research and development work conducted by universities and higher education institutes and at special research institutes and in activity-oriented research at other state authorities by instruction or special assignment.

Pursuant to National Archives statues and general advice on deletion of documents from state authority(RA-FS 1999:1) and Stockholm University application decision SU FV 2.6.2-3131-14 research work should be stored as:

  • containing fundamental information on the aims methods and results of the project
  • reflecting the context of the project relating to e.g. financial conditions and external contacts, and showing any changes in focus during the progress of the work.
  • being assessed as having continued value for the research area or other research areas which have been deemed to be of major historic value for science, culture or individuals, or which are deemed to be of major public interest.

Examples of what documents this might cover are:

  • Datasets including code keys
  • Meta data (e.g. the type of information included in a Data Management Plan).
  • Project applications
  • Funding decisions
  • Ethical review documentation
  • Questionnaire and interview forms
  • Reports, publications and doctoral theses

In addition to the above-mentioned examples, those documents which help provide good understanding of what took place during a project and how the material should be interpreted should be saved.

If you have any questions regarding which documents should be archived and how, please contact the University IT archivist.

[1] Freedom of the Press Act (1949:105), Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act (2009:400), the Archives Act (1990:782), the Archives Ordinance (1991:446) and statutes from the National Archive.