Can I upload a published article I've retrieved from the library into my AI Chatbot?

Harvard Library provides access to articles and other copyright-restricted material for your personal research and scholarly use (our licenses don't allow for sharing or distribution/dissemination). You should check the Terms of Use  of any AI chatbot you use. 

This is because many AI chatbots retain your prompts and uploaded materials for their own use. Many content providers have argued that under these circumstances uploading articles obtained from those providers could be a violation of their license agreements with Harvard University, and that Harvard users may be prohibited from providing to AI companies any materials downloaded or copied from their sites.

Further, the Provost’s office has issued a statement on precautions when using AI chatbots

Our recommendations:

  • use an AI that does not retain prompts (sometimes called a “closed environment”), such as the Harvard sandbox.
  • limit material you upload to Open Access publications (“Open Access” is a filter option in HOLLIS)
  • write Ask a Librarian requesting guidance in regard to copyright and licensing concerns for your specific project.


You may also be interested in our FAQ: What is the Harvard AI Sandbox and who has access to it?

Service Alert:
  • Ask a Librarian, including chat and email, will be suspended from 5:00 pm on Thursday, December 22, through Monday, January 2, for the holiday break. Any questions received during this period will be answered beginning Tuesday, January 2, 2024.
  • If If you're experiencing an ongoing technical issue when you attempt to access library materials with your HarvardKey during these times, please report it to Library Technology Services.



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