ERIC Number: ED217429
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Jul
Reference Count: 0
Freedom of Science Information under Federal Law.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a limited tool for science reporters seeking information about federally funded university research. The act applies only to information that is considered a "record" in possession of an "agency," both as defined by the act. Most university research and most universities do not meet the requirements of these definitions. In "Washington v. Hew," however, the courts ruled that FOIA did apply to grant applications and progress reports submitted to the federal government. Less encouraging for science reporters is the Supreme Court's ruling in "Forsham v. Harris," in which the court decided that raw data and other materials describing the inner workings of research projects are disclosable only if a federal agency actually has possession of them. A survey of the nine exemptions built into the FOIA reveals mixed possibilities, but basically a scientist can keep sensitive material from falling under the provisions of the FOIA by merely keeping it out of documents submitted to the federal government. But with the access to grant applications and progress reports provided by the FOIA and the even greater access to public universities available through the open records laws of most states, the science reporter does have good opportunities for articles on science research. (JL)
Descriptors: Academic Freedom, Confidential Records, Confidentiality, Court Litigation, Disclosure, Federal Legislation, Freedom of Speech, Government Publications, Grants, Higher Education, Information Dissemination, Information Seeking, Information Sources, Journalism, News Reporting, Program Proposals, Public Agencies, Research Reports, Scientific Research
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Freedom of Information Act; News Sources
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism (65th, Athens, OH, July 25-28, 1982).