Q&A: Public information about scientific research

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From a freelancer in Kokomo:

Q: I am doing some research about genetically engineered foods. I am interested in knowing if details about grants to public universities are considered public information. I would like to know what grants, for example, are going to the School of Agriculture at Purdue in what amount, from whom, and for what.

I have the same questions about grants going to Ivy Tech that has programs in agriculture as well. Do I have a right to this information? 

A: It never hurts to ask. The worst that can happen is you get a denial.

A problem you may run into is confidentiality under IC 5-14-3-4(a)(6) in the state’s Access to Public Records Act, which protects “information concerning research, including actual research documents, conducted under the auspices of a state educational institution, including information: concerning any negotiations made with respect to the research; and received from another party involved in the research.”

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.

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