Measures aimed at preserving cultural heritage, training schemes, information exchange, and developing sites for tourism purposes have become more significant and legally binding as a result of internationally valid legislation relating to modern archaeological research (e.g. The European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage, signed at Valletta, 16 January 1992, published in the German Federal Law Gazette of 15 October 2002). The DAI is bound by these international standards and at the same time adopts standards of its own through its resolutions and guidelines.

For example, the DAI is a signatory to the Memorandum on Quality Assurance for Archaeological Excavations, signed at the "Terra Scythica" conference in Novosibirsk in 2011. The basic principles observed by the DAI in its work are set out in a Joint Statement of Principle on the Protection of Archaeological Sites, Monuments and Museums, which the DAI signed in 2007.

Comparable legal and ethical guidelines govern publication in periodicals of the German Archaeological Institute. They deal among other things with the question of publishing archaeological artefacts that do not originate from legal excavations. The Direktorium of the DAI has issued guidelines on this question for all the Institute's publications; the guidelines were adopted unanimously first at the Direktorium conference on 7 May 2012 and then, in unaltered form, at the Zentraldirektion session on 11 May 2012. These guidelines dictate that editors of all publications of the German Archaeological Institute may publish no artefacts whose legal provenance cannot be established beyond doubt, whether they are from private or public collections (effective date 14 November 1970). Exceptions may be made, after prior consultation with the editors, if publication pursues the aim of publicizing the issue of the loss of archaeological context. Artefacts of unknown provenance that have been published previously in exhibition material, catalogues or elsewhere may be included in DAI publications only if the issue of unknown provenance is highlighted and treated as a problem.

The DAI additionally signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities in 2013. 

As to the DFG-sponsored project IANUS (research data centre for the archaeological sciences and ancient studies), the DAI has revised its IT guidelines and replaced them with recommendations on the sustainable utilization of data in the archaeological sciences and ancient studies (old: http://www.dainst.org/de/project/it-leitfaden; new: http://www.ianus-fdz.de/it-empfehlungen). An excavation handbook designed for German archaeologists together with guidelines concerning special requirements for the DAI's archaeological work in foreign countries is to be expanded in cooperation with the Association of Historical Monuments Authorities of the Federal States (http://www.landesarchaeologen.de/verband/kommissionen/grabungstechnik/grabungstechnikerhandbuch/).