Here are a few notes on the FOIA-me project. http://piratepad.net/Q7zUeEbi0E
This is a rough overview of what triggers state FOIA coverage: http://www.sunshinereview.org/index.php/Private_agency,_public_dollars
Legal questions break down into ~3 categories: 1) FOIA: What is FOIAable? Which unis and works are covered? Can individuals respond directly to requests or must an assigned agent do it? Can individuals delegate agency, or must their institution determine it? How does agency delegation work - to contractors or otherwise - and what are its limits? What limits exist on the assessed costs? Does federal FOIA law ever apply to federally-funded work at unis (say, at public-funds-receiving private unis s.a. Harvard)?
2) Copyright: How can FOIA requests be shared - a) when authors do not have (c) [in CA? in TX?], b) when authors have copyright and want to freely license it, and c) when they have it and do not want to license it at all?
3) Legal practice: How do unis and their counsels deal with this in practice? How can we make this as easy as possible for them? What is involved in researching how they respond to a FOIA, and how could well-worded requests and providing them with background make their lives easier?
Three good states to start with: CA, TX, MA. (the first 2 due to their policies)
Ideally we would end up with
- a brief covering the legal facts above (broadly & in at least one state) ++ a list of state details that need to be analyzed, to produce a
state-specific version of the brief. [divide and conquer!]
- a sample "good university policy" that supports efficient FOIA responses, including allowing people to respond at the lowest level.
- a sample "good FOIA request" that makes it as easy as possible for
both the author and the author's institution to review, locate fitting material, and respond.
++ a list of uni details that need to be analyzed, to produce a
uni-specific summary of policy and a streamlined request
At which point interested implementers could repeat the analysis regionally and locally in more detail.
I'd love to hear what you think. I met Adam Berry yesterday and talked with him about it at more length today; he seems interested.