Annex 3: Disclaimers on Research Outputs
- International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office
- Published Date:
- March 2013
Research products, including the WEOs GFSRs, REOs, generally reflect the views of their authors and do not carry the endorsement of the institution or its member country governments. Most research products are “approved,” meaning that their content is reviewed and agreed—at the Management level for the WEO and GFSR and at the departmental level for REOs and SIPs. On the other hand, WPs and PDPs/SPNs are “authorized for distribution,” a lower bar that does not imply validation of the content. In addition, SIPs are only published with the consent of member country authorities and may reflect deletions or modifications of highly market-sensitive material. All research published externally that cites a particular country is sent to the relevant Executive Director for comments.
The IMF maintains a blanket disclaimer on its website, which applies as a default to all documents, indicating that “except where expressly stated, the findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in the Materials on this Site represent views of the authors thereof and are not necessarily those of the IMF, its Executive Board, or its member countries.” In addition, a specific disclaimer is generally included within each research publication, varying somewhat depending on the originating unit and the review process to which it was subjected. The WEO and the GFSR include a summary of Board discussions.
The following are representative texts and descriptions of the text of disclaimers for each research product line, many of which have evolved somewhat over time.
- WEO and GFSR. “The report benefited from comments and suggestions from staff in other IMF departments, as well as from Executive Directors following their discussion of the report on [specific dates]. However, the analysis and policy considerations are those of the contributing staff and should not be attributed to the Executive Directors, their national authorities, or the IMF.”
- REOs. About half of the REOs included a statement in the document itself making clear that the report reflected the views of the authors and not those of the IMF, although the exact content of the statement varied. Of those that did not include any disclaimer in the document itself, several stated that the information reflected the IMF’s views, and two stated only that the document reflected comments from other departments and some Executive Directors. Only a third of those REOs without a disclaimer within the document had a link on the webpage from which they could be downloaded directing the user to the blanket disclaimer for all IMF documents posted online.
- WPs. “This WP should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed in this WP are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. WPs describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate.”
- SIPs. “This Selected Issues report on [member country] was prepared by a staff team of the IMF as background documentation for the periodic consultation with this member country. As such, the views expressed in this document are those of the staff team and do not necessarily reflect the views of the government of the [member country] or the Executive Board of the IMF.” In addition, SIPs are made public only with the approval of member country authorities, and in publication may reflect deletions or modifications, as requested by the authorities, of highly market-sensitive material.32
- OPs. Inclusion of a disclaimer in these documents was found to be inconsistent over the evaluation period. Recent OPs contain the following statement: “the opinions expressed in the paper are those of the IMF staff and do not necessarily reflect the views of national authorities or IMF Executive Directors.”
- PDPs. “This PDP should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed in this PDP are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. PDPs describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate.”
- SPNs. “The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and should not be attributed to the IMF, its Executive Board, or its management.” (The first SPN, issued in 2008, did not include a disclaimer.)
Such highly market-sensitive material includes “mainly the outlook for exchange rates, interest rates, the financial sector, and assessments of sovereign liquidity and solvency.” In addition, authorities may request deletion or modification of “material not in the public domain, on a policy the country authorities intend to implement, where premature disclosure of the operational details of the policy would, in itself, seriously undermine the ability of the member to implement those policy intentions.” Decision No. 13564-(05/85), as amended most recently by Decision No. 14497-(09/126), December 17, 2009.