FOI is key research tool

September 25, 2008

Jon F. Baldwin criticises the Freedom of Information Act ('Bad and mad: the FOI requests undermining our independence', 11 September). Arguing that is it nonsensical for universities to be subject to "questioning" through FOI about their operations, structure and dealings, and so on, is absurd. The university sector in the UK has had research in many disciplines, most notably social sciences, greatly enhanced by FOI.

If it is facts and figures you're after from a public-sector organisation, often there is no better tool for the researcher than a well-placed FOI request. The FOI legislation is principally in place to ensure transparency and accountability in public-sector spending.

Jamie Grace, Associate lecturer in law, University of Derby.

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