Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Conditions of Loan & Exchange

National Herbarium of New South Wales (NSW)

  1. Purpose of loans and Exchange
  2. Negotiation and responsibility for loans
  3. Use of material for commercial purposes
  4. Liability and suitability for purpose
  5. Retention of material
  6. Period of Loan
  7. Security of Loan
  8. Removal of material, extracts
  9. Destructive sampling for DNA extraction
  10. Return of loan and packaging
  11. CITES and taxa of conservation significance
  12. Photography
  13. Annotations
  14. Intellectual Property
  15. Unpublished and manuscript names
  16. Citing Specimens
  17. Acknowledgement

1. Purpose of loans and Exchange

a.Specimens are generally available on loan for scientific research in the public interest through activities and procedures that will not endanger the safety and integrity of the specimens as archival objects. The safety and security of the specimens is of prime importance.

b.Loans are made for non-destructive examination of external morphology, gross anatomy, field notes and other annotations, for taxonomic, biogeographic and historic research purposes. Loans for molecular or phytochemical sampling, or for anatomical, palynological, ecological, geographic, ethnobotanical or historical studies, or for display or educative purposes, will be considered if alternative materials are unavailable, and if the proposed use will not involve undue impact on specimens. A separate Destructive Sampling Agreement must be arranged before specimens can be sampled.

c.If any of the loan conditions cannot be met due to local policy or operational requirements, please contact the Curator of the Herbarium to discuss the nature of the difficulty and explore possible alternative arrangements.

d. The electronic herbarium collection data of a loan are available on request to botanical.is@rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au. Please cite the NSW loan number with the request.

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2. Negotiation and responsibility for loans

a.Loans are negotiated and made on behalf of botanical institutions and their directors or delegated officer, not by individual researchers. Loans will not be made to individuals and will only be made to destinations where safe and secure transport and storage arrangements exist.

b.Formal requests for loans or samples from voucher specimens, should be made in writing or email to the Manager Collections, National Herbarium of NSW, Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, by the head or delegated officer of a recognised botanical institution on behalf of the researcher. The head or delegated officer of the borrowing institution will take responsibility for the security, documentation and safe return of all specimens, and for adherence to the conditions of the loan. Loans will not be dispatched until these conditions (make a link to the Loan policy) are agreed to. A separate Loan agreement form will be provided upon formal request of the material.

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3. Use of material for commercial purposes

a.Use of loan specimens for commercial purposes requires separate and specific permission. 'Commercial purposes' does not include the sale of research-derived publications that are in the public domain.  It does include the sale or transfer or transmission (other than for public-domain research) of unpublished information (e.g. lists or databases of specimen or taxon attributes) or images, to third parties.

b.If the project has commercial aspects, we would like to know:

i.the scope of project

ii.the parties involved

iii.the sources of funding

iv.any provisions for intellectual property

v.any provisions for commercial-in-confidence material

c.We will require separate negotiation and written agreement with all parties before loan or exchange material may be used for commercial purposes. A separate Materials Transfer Agreement is required where commercial development of derivatives of herbarium specimens, and other biological material, is anticipated.

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4. Liability and suitability for purpose

a.Specimens and data supplied on Loan or Exchange, or in response to requests for samples, are provided in good faith for research purposes. No warranties or assurances of reliability, suitability or fitness for a particular purpose of specimens or data are offered. Assessment of suitability of such material and data for intended use are the responsibility of the receiving institutions or researchers.

b.No responsibility or liability is accepted for the identity, locality or other data associated with these specimens. 

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5. Retention of material

a.Loan requests may be declined, in whole or in part, if the Curator considers the request excessive, disruptive or incompatible with existing or proposed herbarium programs, or feels that specimens might be subject to misuse, damage or deterioration.

b.Normally, entire holdings of taxa are not lent and borrowers are encouraged to provided a list of specimens they have seen already so that these can be excluded from the loan. In particular situations, a special case can be made for borrowing duplicate material.

c.Normally, representative sheets of a taxon will be withheld from a loan and retained for reference purposes; if necessary these can be borrowed when the primary loan is returned.

d.Type specimens, material preserved in liquid, separate fruits and woodblocks, dissection cards, and other supplementary material will not be sent on loan unless specifically requested or when no other material is available.

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6. Period of Loan

a.The normal loan period is 12 months, but an extension may be granted upon written request. 

b.Loans should be returned in their entirety as soon as possible after the completion of study.

c.Partial returns of loans are acceptable and should be negotiated with the Curator of the Herbarium.

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7. Security of Loan

a.Loan specimens must not be removed from the receiving institution except by written permission of the lending institution. The head of any institution to which a loan is transferred must accept responsibility in the terms of these conditions.

b.Loans must be stored under secure protective conditions. Sheets or packets should not be bent, folded, or handled in any way likely to cause detriment to the specimens. Except during actual examination, specimens should remain in their original folders or packets. The original folders and packets must be returned with specimens.

c.In the event of damage to a specimen, a signed slip must be attached providing details of the damage.

d.The lending institution should be consulted if the loan is likely to subject to any special fumigation or treatment with persistent chemicals, treated by microwaves or irradiation. If the specimens are treated, a slip detailing the date, nature, dose and duration of treatment should be affixed to each specimen.

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8. Destructive sampling for DNA extraction

The preservation of herbarium specimens for scientific examination is one of our primary objectives. We recognise the potential usefulness of these specimens for research that requires samples to be removed and either modified or destroyed. The extraction of molecular data from NSW material must be according to the following policy.

Contact the Manager Collections for advice on applying to destructively sample NSW specimens.

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9. Return of loan and packaging

a.For its return, a loan should be sent by traceable mail, and carefully packaged to prevent damage in transit.

b.Specimens should be securely packed and prominently labelled; using the original packing materials is preferred.

c.Original specimen folders and specimen packets are to be returned with the specimens.

d. International Borrowers: there are certain Australian Customs conditions that must be met when returning loan material to Australia. Contact the Manager Collections for up-to-date instructions prior to returning any loan material.

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10. CITES and taxa of conservation significance

a.Overseas loans of specimens of taxa listed in CITES appendices (Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) are made only to approved CITES-registered institutions and within provisions of the Convention and relevant Australian legislation.

b.Overseas loans of specimens of any Australian native species are made only to approved CITES-registered institutions or to institutions registered with Environment Australia for facilitated exchange of scientific specimens.

c.Researchers should try to ascertain the conservation status of taxa under study.  Many taxa occurring in Australia are listed and protected under various National, State or Territory legislation.

d.For 'sensitive' taxa such as those likely to be subject to heavy amateur or commercial collection, conservation authorities may prefer that precise localities not be cited and consideration should be given to generalising a locality, e.g:  '...N of Albany...', rather than '22.3 km N of Albany on Hassell Hwy', while retaining enough other data in the citation to allow unambiguous identification of the specimen.

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11. Photography

a.Photography of specimens is allowed and encouraged.

b.If specimens are photographed, it is requested that a slip giving location and identification details of the negative, transparency or digital image should be attached to each sheet concerned.

c.Where possible the herbarium label and other annotations showing the origin of the specimen (originating herbarium) should be clearly visible

d.Copies of photographs (including digital images) are appreciated, particularly for Types or intended Types.

e.If specimen images are to be placed on the Internet, clear indication of the origin of the specimen should be shown; the URL of the image would be appreciated.

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13. Annotations

a.All annotation slips should be on archival quality paper.

b.Determinavit or Confirmavit and other annotation slips should be attached to every sheet used for revisionary or Flora studies, with a signature, date and any relevant comments, using typescript or indelible ink (not ballpoint pen).

c.Determinavit or Confirmavit slips for cryptogams should be annotated and placed loose and completely inside every packet or box concerned.

d.For in-liquid labels, please use a soft-grade pencil.

e.Specimens that cannot be positively named, or those found to belong to taxa not under consideration, should be annotated to the extent possible.

f.Where material on a sheet is found to represent two or more collections or taxa, each element should be indicated with a separate Determinavit slip. Do not cut up sheets or try to separate the material.

g.Reliable clarification or enhancement of the data associated with a specimen is appreciated, especially locality, latitude, longitude, date, collector, collector’s number, or type status. However, no alterations, erasures, strikethrough, removal or obscuring of pre-existing data may be made. Annotations should be made and attached on new slips.

h.Under no circumstances should any non-archival contact-adhesive labels or tape be attached to herbarium sheets, cryptogam packets or boxes.

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14. Intellectual Property

a.Exchanges or gifts of specimens are sent to the receiving institution on the understanding that there are certain rights to benefits arising from exchange or gift material provided for under the Convention on Biological Diversity and other international agreements. The sending institution acknowledges similar residual rights to benefits to originating countries or institutions over material received as exchange or gift from other institutions.

b.A separate Materials Transfer Agreement is required where commercial development of derivatives of herbarium specimens is anticipated.

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15. Unpublished and manuscript names

a.Manuscript names, provisional names or name-formulae on specimens may be provisional, or may represent work in progress or in press.  It is strongly advised that the researcher who coined these names be contacted before such names are widely used.

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16. Citing Specimens

a.The registration number of NSW collections should be prefixed with the Herbarium acronym NSW, followed by the number suffix.

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17. Acknowledgement

a.The lending institution must be acknowledged appropriately in any publications or other materials that present results derived from use of the loan specimens.

b. A copy of any publications resulting from study of loan or exchange material would be appreciated.

Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney