Research intelligence - Request hits a raw spot
Connotea Imports 2012-07-31
"When Michael Baillie began analysing the rings in Irish oak trees more than 30 years ago, the long reach of the Freedom of Information Act in Britain was years away. But three decades on, the FoI laws have been used by a science blogger, Douglas Keenan, to obtain data collected by the emeritus professor of palaeoecology at Queen's University Belfast over the course of a career investigating catastrophic environmental events. After a three-year battle to get the university to release the data, some of which are yet to be published by the academic himself, Dr Keenan won a ruling from the Information Commissioner in April that said that Queen's owned the data and must release it. The precedent has important implications for academics, raising issues similar to those highlighted in last week's report by Sir Muir Russell into the so-called Climategate affair at the University of East Anglia. Until now, researchers have published data at the time of their choosing, through the normal academic channels and in the context of the overall objectives of their work...."