Publishing guidance

Our publishing guidance is designed to help those working on official government publications. In particular, we hope this information will benefit those who are new to publishing.

We aim to promote a better understanding of standard publishing industry processes and practices that affect a document’s availability, accessibility, status and provenance at publication and after.

The role of The National Archives

The Keeper of Public Records is responsible under a Letters Patent from His Majesty The King for managing copyright on behalf of the Crown.

The Letters Patent also confer upon the Keeper the title of King’s Printer. The King’s Printer is responsible for setting the standards and overseeing the publication of certain government documents. These publications are:

  • legislation
  • statutory notices
  • parliamentary papers, including Command and House of Commons Papers

The National Archives has produced specific guidance on the production of parliamentary papers (for example annual reports and accounts, ‘green’ and ‘white papers’ or independent reviews).

Publishing means making information available to the public.

Information including standards for web and print publishing, ISBNs and bibliographic data.

You must establish the copyright ownership for each publication from a very early stage.

Government organisations may need to produce certain publications in languages other than English. In addition their publications must be accessible to disabled people.