Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Pioneering freedom of information website for higher education sector

Experts from Liverpool John Moores University and MIMAS (University of Manchester) have been awarded £200,000 to develop a new online ‘one stop shop’ on the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and other pertinent governance legislation, such as the Data Protection Act.

The new Information Governance Gateway has been commissioned by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) following a survey of higher education institutions earlier this year.

Steve Bailey, JISC Electronic Records Manager says: "The Gateway represents the latest development in JISC's continued commitment to supporting the sector in this vital area. JISC was extremely impressed with the quality of the bid received from LJMU and MIMAS and is confident that the project team will deliver an extremely valuable resource of use to both practitioners and the public at large."

Evidence suggests that there is significant public interest in obtaining more information on higher education (HE) institutions. Furthermore, practitioners have also called for a centralised information bank related to the HE sector’s compliance with information governance legislation.

LJMU's Steve Wood, who is leading the project, explains: "The Freedom of Information Act came into force a year ago and the HE sector responded to it with a real spirit of openness, answering the majority of requests fully, on time and free of charge. The new Gateway is an example of higher education's pioneering work in this area and it will become an invaluable public resource thanks to the inclusion of sector-wide disclosure logs of releases made under the FOIA [Freedom of Information Act]."

He continues: "At the moment many practitioners are struggling to keep up-to-date with all the recommendations and guidance being issued by a wide range of different bodies. The new Gateway will help to solve this problem by analysing and providing links to all sources of relevant information generated by central Government, the Information Commissioner and other relevant agencies."

Over the next two years, Steve Wood and his colleague Chris Watts, who are both based in LJMU's School of Business Information, will be working in collaboration with Manchester Information and Associated Services (MIMAS), the national academic data centre based at the University of Manchester, to develop the new Gateway.

This partnership brings together key areas of expertise for the benefit of the whole sector: LJMU is a leading institution in information governance and developing web tools, such as 'blogs' and 'wikis' while MIMAS is expert in the provision of accessible online information.

Julia Chruszcz, Director of MIMAS, says: ""MIMAS are delighted to be involved in this exciting new, leading edge development and are keen to bring to the project our expertise in the delivery of national services. We are confident that the gateway will become an essential reference point for those interested in all aspects of information governance within Higher Education."

It is hoped that the new Gateway will become the essential resource for higher education practitioners dealing with data protection and freedom of information requests.

It will include up-to-the-minute information and analysis of key legislation, official guidance and best practice as well as relevant journals, magazines, books and blogs. Information will also be provided on other relevant areas, such as copyright and records management.

Steve Wood continues: "At the moment institutions are ‘re-inventing the wheel’ by individually reviewing legal compliance which actually applies to the whole sector. This is not only a waste of resources, but it also increases the potential for inconsistency due to differing legal advice."

The Gateway will enable practitioners to filter out relevant information, share best practice and enter into online debates via a password-controlled environment.

It will also offer members of the general public a centralised resource on how the English and Scottish higher education sectors deal with freedom of information requests.

The team are currently scoping out the project, with the aim of producing a pilot version of the website in September 2006. A fully functioning version is expected to be operational by January 2007 at

Steve Wood continues: "The public is becoming increasingly aware of their legal ‘right to know’ and that these rights are here to stay. The new Gateway will help ensure that the higher education sector manages FOI requests more effectively and efficiently, ensuring ongoing compliance."

Shonagh Wilkie | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Fraunhofer FIT joins Facebook's Telecom Infra Project
25.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions
21.10.2016 | Stanford University

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>