Posts By / Becca Edwards

Book writing: essential information for researchers

Coming soon is essential training on book writing. A must for researchers, especially those looking to write their first book.

Facilitated by Professor Stuart Allen, this session will provide advice on the following topics:

  • writing for book publications
  • submitting chapters
  • Intellectual property rights
  • copyright
  • attribution
  • co-authorship

Facilitated by: Professor Stuart Allan, The Media School

Aimed at: Academic Staff

Date: Wednesday 22nd January 2014

Time: 14.00-16.00

Location: PG22, Ground Floor, Poole House, Talbot Campus

To book your place on this workshop, please email

Changes to the Freedom of Information Act: A step in the right direction for research?

As you may already be aware, under the Freedom of Information Act, Universities are counted as public authorities and therefore need to respond to requests for information. In the age of transparent, open research this should not necessarily be problematic – however, it does raise considerable issues with regards to research in progress. The development of excellent research is dependent on rigorous analysis and peer review; so requests for data that has not been through this process can be problematic. For example, controversial topics such as research on climate change may be misappropriated by media sources, or members of the general public could respond to unverified findings on research relating to public health. It does not take a huge amount of imagination to understand how this could have dire consequences both the individual researcher and their HEI. Thus, Universities UK have highlighted this as an issue and have been campaigning for exemption to unpublished research findings. The opportunity to make changes has arisen through the process of post-legislative scrutiny.

Last week, Vivienne Stern, Head of Political Affairs at Universities UK has recently reported that in response to the Justice Committee:  “The Government has accepted the recommended new exemption for unpublished research”.  Notably, the report states that Government is “minded to explore options for providing that time taken to consider and redact information can be included in reaching the cost limit”. If you are interested in reading further, you can find the full report here

This serves as a timely reminder that research data can be subject to Freedom of Information requests. If you are approached for a Freedom of Information Act 2000 request, you should contact our Legal Services department and see the appropriate webpages here. Jisc also holds useful additional information about the Freedom of Information Act which you can find here.

What this debate also reminds us of is the importance of ensuring that we only go public with research findings when they have been through the rigorous standards assessment and review associated with academic research. Colleagues that have worked with me know that when we are discussing public engagement initiatives, I often ask them some detailed questions about the underpinning research. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the academic engaging with the public to ensure that their statements can be underpinned by appropriate research and is crucial to bear in mind, no matter how tantalising early findings may be! If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact me or Julia Hastings-Taylor, Research Development Officer (Research Conduct).