FOIA and State Open Records Laws

Author(s): 
National Association for Biomedical Research

FOIAAll involved with the care and use of animals in biomedical research should be attentive to their state’s open records law. The federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and state open records laws have been used to acquire information about biomedical research and the personal information of researchers working with animals. While many states’ laws include exemptions intended to protect proprietary information, these exemptions have often proven insufficient to protect animal care and use program and research data, photographs and the personal information of faculty and staff.

The National Association of Biomedical Research (NABR) has provided a ranking of state open records laws: FOIA IN YOUR STATE. This publication summarizes and analyzes the open records laws of every state and the District of Columbia as they relate to biomedical research records. Using several key criteria, each state’s law is assigned a score of up to five stars to highlight those states with open records laws most protective of biomedical research records, as well as the states with the most room for improvement.