Meaning & purpose

The AccessRights element is used to describe access rights and access constraints, including who may access and when access may occur (including any embargo). Restrictions may be based on security, privacy or other policies.

AccessRights is contained within the Rights element wrapper.

Access Rights attributes

Access Rights Type

An Access Rights Type is optional. If used, preferably specify a type from the Access Rights Type vocabulary:




Data is publicly accessible online


Data is publicly accessible subject to certain conditions. For example: 

  • a fee applies

  • the data is only accessible at a specific physical location


 Data access is limited. For example:

  • during an embargo period

  • to a particular group of users

  • where formal permission is granted


Rights URI attribute

Optionally, include a Rights URI attribute to access rights and constraints information relating to the registry object.

Use in Research Data Australia

Access rights information is displayed prominently in Research Data Australia to support researchers in reuse of research collections:

Best practice

Access rights information is recommended to provide clarity on the conditions under which the data or service may be accessed (if any). 

This element may be populated from other metadata sources including:

Nested collections and aggregations

Nested (parent/child) collections and records that describe aggregations of data or metadata (such as repositories and registries) require careful consideration when encoding rights information - especially access rights information. For nested collections, the parent record and all child records should be encoded with access rights information.

The following approach is recommended to ensure that those records encoded with open attributes are retrieved when a search in Research Data Australia is limited to, or faceted by, the "open" attribute:

XML encoding example

<accessRights type="Restricted" rightsUri=""> Access may be granted following approval of a written application.</accessRights>

Change history

DateChange history

21 Nov 2011

First web publication. Element introduced as part of RIF-CS v1.3.0 with effect from 7 Dec 2011

19 Nov 2014

Added information about the suggested vocabulary terms for accessRights introduced as part of RIF-CS v1.6.0 in December 2014

27 Nov 2015

Updated all information.  Added guidance for nested collections

14 Dec 2016

Created separate page for Access Rights from Rights content. Page reviewed and updated.

04 Sep 2020Amended the description for Access Rights Type "restricted" from: "following an embargo period" to "during an embargo period" to more accurately reflect the intent of "restricted". Added guidance on specifying an end date for the embargo period.