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FAQ on FoI Requests and Environmental Information Regulations for Research Data
FAQ on FoI Requests and Environmental Information Regulations for Research Data
FAQ on FoI Requests and Environmental Information Regulations for Research Data
FAQ on FoI Requests and Environmental Information Regulations for Research Data
FAQ on FoI Requests and Environmental Information Regulations for Research Data
FAQ on FoI Requests and Environmental Information Regulations for Research Data
FAQ on FoI Requests and Environmental Information Regulations for Research Data
FAQ on FoI Requests and Environmental Information Regulations for Research Data
FAQ on FoI Requests and Environmental Information Regulations for Research Data
FAQ on FoI Requests and Environmental Information Regulations for Research Data
FAQ on FoI Requests and Environmental Information Regulations for Research Data
FAQ on FoI Requests and Environmental Information Regulations for Research Data
FAQ on FoI Requests and Environmental Information Regulations for Research Data
FAQ on FoI Requests and Environmental Information Regulations for Research Data
FAQ on FoI Requests and Environmental Information Regulations for Research Data
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FAQ on FoI Requests and Environmental Information Regulations for Research Data

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Presented by Chris Rusbridge at the JISC Future of Research Conference, 19th October 2010

Presented by Chris Rusbridge at the JISC Future of Research Conference, 19th October 2010

Published in: Education
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  • The graph displayed shows the frequencies for the number of requests for research data over a period of 3+ years. Out of 21 HEIs who responded, 11 reported zero requests, and 4 reported 1 request. One reported 2 requests, one reported 5 requests, 2 reported 6 requests, one reported 8 and one 9 requests.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Frequently-asked questions on Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Regulations Requests for Research Data Consultation Draft
    • 2. Contents <ul><li>Background </li></ul><ul><li>How many requests for research data? </li></ul><ul><li>FoI exemptions relevant to research data </li></ul><ul><li>EIR exceptions relevant to research data </li></ul><ul><li>The FAQ consultation drafts </li></ul><ul><li>Main information sources </li></ul><ul><li>Take-home message… </li></ul>
    • 3. Background <ul><li>“ Climategate” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>UEA/CRU FoI case resolved against UEA by Information Commissioner </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>QUB Tree Ring data FoI/EIR case resolved against QUB </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Times Higher article by Hannah Fearn </li></ul></ul><ul><li>FoI guidance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Much dates from around the time of introduction of FoI </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Much is oriented to Records Managers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>None for researchers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>JISC commissioned a FAQ on FoI for research data! </li></ul>
    • 4. Comment… <ul><li>The UEA case was not for research data, but for information about and communications by the researchers </li></ul><ul><li>The QUB case was eventually resolved under Environmental Information Regulations, not Freedom of Information, and largely hinged around procedural issues. It is NOT a precedent! </li></ul>
    • 5. The legislation… <ul><li>Freedom of Information Act 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/36/introduction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Applies in UK except Scotland </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2002/13/introduction </li></ul><ul><li>The Environmental Information Regulations 2004. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/3391/contents/made </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Applies in UK except Scotland </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2004/520/contents/made </li></ul><ul><li>All came into force 1 January 2005 </li></ul>
    • 6. Summary <ul><li>Public right to know information held by public authorities </li></ul><ul><li>Provide response within 20 working days </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Refusal if exemption or exception (EIR) applies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>May (or may not) have to confirm existence of the information </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Otherwise provide the requested information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The details of exemptions are critical! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Always involve your FoI Practioner! </li></ul></ul>
    • 7. How many requests for research data? <ul><li>Recorded requests are very rare </li></ul><ul><li>Asked UKHE members of RLUK plus Bath University </li></ul><ul><ul><li>24 HEIs; 3 did not respond or give enough information! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>21 responses </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Over 3+ years (2007 to mid 2010), 40 recorded requests for research data </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Less than 2 per HEI over 3+ years </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Comparatively, such HEIs currently receive o(100)+ FoI/EIR requests per year! </li></ul>
    • 8. Request distribution
    • 9. Useful FoI exemptions for research data? <ul><li>Available elsewhere </li></ul><ul><li>Information requested is intended for publication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Scotland: in 12 weeks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rest of the UK, no limit </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Research (Scotland) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Information gathered in the course of research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research will lead to a report </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prejudice to public affairs??? </li></ul><ul><li>Health & Safety </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental Information </li></ul><ul><li>Personal data </li></ul><ul><li>Provided in confidence </li></ul><ul><li>Commercial interest </li></ul>
    • 10. Intended for future publication… <ul><li>Most likely exemption outside Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>Limited: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Intention to publish must exist when the request is made </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Timescale of publication irrelevant (except 12 weeks in Scotland) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intention must be to publish the information requested, not an article based on the information… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>So if you have a policy to publish your research data later, eg at the end of your research, then this exemption may apply! </li></ul>
    • 11. Useful EIR Exceptions for research data? <ul><li>Personal data </li></ul><ul><li>Incomplete data </li></ul><ul><li>Internal communications </li></ul><ul><li>Intellectual property </li></ul><ul><li>Confidentiality </li></ul><ul><li>Interests of the environment </li></ul>
    • 12. But there’s a public interest test… <ul><li>General presumption in favour of disclosure, unless the public interest is served better by non-disclosure </li></ul>
    • 13. Sources of information <ul><li>JISC Legal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.jisclegal.ac.uk/LegalAreas/FreedomofInformation.aspx </li></ul></ul><ul><li>JISC InfoNet </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/foi </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Information Commissioners </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ICO </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.ico.gov.uk/ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SIC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Ministry of Justice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/freedom-of-information.htm </li></ul></ul>
    • 14. The FAQ draft <ul><li>FAQ consultation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Print version draft (shortened), see handout </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web version (longer): </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>http://foiresearchdata.jiscpress.org/ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Comments please! </li></ul>
    • 15. Take home messages <ul><li>If you get a request, always consult your FoI Practioner ASAP </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Management: listen to your FoI Practioners! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Outwith Scotland, a policy always to publish your data may help to protect them until the time is right! </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>

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