Freedom of Information and HE researchers - first in a series of regional workshops

Added by Stephane Goldstein on 23 March 2011 17:50

Tuesday, 22 March 2011 10:00 - 16:00

Location: University of Manchester

This was the first in a series of three regional workshops aimed at exploring the implications of Freedom of Information legislation for Higher Education researchers in the UK. The event was organised by RIN with the support of JISC, JISC Legal, the Information Commissioner’s Office, The National Archives, the UK Data Archive and the Information & Records Management Society, along with Manchester University Library. Further details about the rationale and scope of these workshops can be found here.

The programme and the presentations made on the day are attached below. The meeting provided an opportunity for in-depth discussions about a range of relevant concerns, including:

  • the relationship between FoI and data protection, particularly in the light of protection of confidentiality and of information that is deemed sensitive (for further information on this theme, see the web pages of the Data Protection and the Open Society project at the University of Oxford);
  • the impact that FoI might have on the way researchers behave towards their information, and might even act as a disencentive to research;
  • owning, controlling and holding information or data, and how this relates to FoI;
  • a research exemption under the FoI Act, as is the case in Scotland;
  • reciprocal obligations and responsibilities of HEIs and researchers with regards to FoI;
  • reconciling demands for quality assurance of information with FoI regimes that seek to make all information available, irrespective of quality.

A report has been drawn up to summarise the discussions from the three events. This will provide an evidence base that will help to identify what might be appropriate to inform and support HE researchers in their approach to FoI, for instance training material, guidance, case studies… We will set out proposed courses of action in due course on the website.

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