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Scholarly research and California Public Records Act requests

UCLA has published its Statement on the Principles of Scholarly Research and Public Records Requests and accompanying Faculty Resource Guide for California Public Records Requests.

Chancellor Block’s announcement sets the context for issuing this guidance:

“In recent years a number of universities including UCLA have received public records requests seeking disclosure of faculty members’ scholarly communications. The potential chilling effect of these requests has raised new questions about academic freedom and its intersection with public institutions’ legal obligations to conduct business transparently.”

I must give a nod to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, whose Chancellor and legal counsel published open letters in 2011 that gave an elegant concreteness to the issue I had not previously seen.