Annual Report Instructions

Scientists issued a permit by the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) to conduct scientific research pertaining to natural resources or social sciences are required, as a condition of the permit, to provide an Investigator's Annual Report (IAR). The call for IARs for Calendar year 2012 begins December 9, 2011 and ends March 31, 2012.

What is the Investigator's Annual Report?
Scientists issued a permit by the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) to conduct scientific research pertaining to natural resources or social sciences are required, as a condition of the permit, to provide an Investigator's Annual Report (IAR). The IAR enables investigators to document the objectives and annual findings of the study and bibliographic references either resulting from the study or significantly related to the study. Bibliographic references may include published reports, unpublished reports, journal articles, dissertations and theses, books, conference proceedings, maps, or other sources of information potentially of value to future scientific efforts.

The information obtained by the IAR process is essential for the National Park Service to consistently maintain a history of research accomplishments. In the "Objectives" and "Findings and Status" fields, please submit a written text in the form of an abstract or summary. Please do not submit an Internet address. For questions about funding, please report the total of the dollars assigned to this project. The total should include either the actual or an estimated amount of salary and benefits cost allocated to the project. Information you submit in your IAR may be included in government publications, accessed by the public, or integrated into park interpretation programs. Your report will be available to the scientific community and general public. The report you submit should be suitable for publication as is. You must avoid including spatially specific documentation that could potentially jeopardize the security of sensitive resources (endangered plants, archeological sites, fossils, caves, etc.). If you have additional information you want to share with the National Park Service, please submit it separately to the park or parks in which you conducted your work.

Park research coordinators are responsible for "checking-in" new reports received in the IAR database. This process enables staff to make sure the report pertains to the correct park and determine if a record contains information that could potentially compromise the security of resources considered sensitive. The general public will be able search the NPS IAR database on the Internet via The public will not be able to see submitted IAR records that have not yet been checked-in by park staff or have been flagged as containing potentially sensitive information.

When is the IAR requested?
NPS sends you the request that you submit your IAR around the beginning of each new calendar year. You will be asked to complete and submit your accomplishment report by March 31st. Your prompt reply will help the National Park Service more effectively document scientific accomplishments and plan future activities. The park should provide you with a copy of these instructions.

If you obtained permission to conduct a study at more than one park, you should provide each park a separate annual report documenting your specific accomplishments in the individual park to which you are submitting your report. If you did not have the opportunity to perform the permitted study activities during the past calendar year, you should provide an annual report indicating that no activity took place.

How do you submit an IAR using the Internet?
Investigators with access to the Internet are encouraged to respond to NPS requests for annual accomplishment reports by using interactive software designed to facilitate the completion and submission of this information via the Internet. The software is designed to support web-browser versions Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 and above or Netscape 7 and above. Your web-browser should be configured to enable "Cookies" and "Java Script."

The Internet address you should use to complete the IAR process is:

When you reach the opening page, click on the option labeled "IARs." You will then be asked to login with a username and password. Please contact your park research coordinator to obtain your username and password.

After you successfully log in to the IAR site, follow the instructions on screen to efficiently prepare and submit new reports and associated bibliographic references. Previously submitted accomplishment reports or permit information can be quickly used to fill-in many details required on new records. Please note carefully: you will not be able to edit a new report or bibliographic reference after submitting it to the NPS database (the system will remind you about this constraint prior to submission). The report must be completed in English and should provide readers with a basic understanding of your objectives (less than 4000 characters) and accomplishments (less than 4000 characters).

How do you submit an IAR without using a system on the Internet?
You may ask the park research coordinator to send you the IAR form, either as a hard copy or MS-Word document. You may then complete the form and return it to the Park. If you use an electronic version of the form, please save the version you plan to transmit to the park research office as a Microsoft Word format file. Your information will then be entered into the appropriate database. If you use a hard copy of the form, you will help facilitate the accurate documentation of your report by printing neatly on the form or within attached blocks of text. If you are unable to obtain materials from the park, please contact Bill Commins by email ( or FAX (202) 371-2131.

Whom should you contact for technical support:
For technical support involving the NPS Research Permit and Reporting System or IAR process, contact:

  • Bill Commins, email:; phone: 202-513-7166 (Eastern Time)

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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