The Scottish Information Commissioner conducts occasional research to assess public awareness of freedom of information rights and to study attitudes to, and experience of, the operation of freedom of information law.










  • Voluntary Sector Research Final report from the University of Strathclyde's research into the uptake of FOI by the voluntary sector in Scotland.


  • Ipsos MORI Public Awareness Survey Data from a December 2011 survey of public awareness of, and attitudes towards, FOI.
  • Publication Scheme Survey Findings from an online survey of public authorities' experience of the Model Publication Scheme 2011.
  • Qualitative study of Commissioner's website Findings and recommendations from a number of focus groups held with members of the public and public authorities in November 2010. The study looked at perceptions of the Commissioner's website, and how it could be improved.


  • Voluntary Sector Research Research report undertaken by the University of Strathclyde, as part of a 3-year study exploring the use of, and attitudes to, Freedom of Information laws by the third sector in Scotland.


  • Survey finds public confused over information rights. The seventh wave of the Commissioner's annual public awareness research has found that, while general awareness of FOI remains high, the public's understanding of what the FOI right means in practice has decreased significantly.
  • Research into information requests to the health and education sectors. In 2008, the Commissioner carried out a survey of health, higher and further education sectors, to explore anecdotal evidence that requests in these sectors were lower than elsewhere. He then commissioned a qualitative survey of these sectors to investigate further why this might be the case.


  • Public favours extension of freedom of information rights  The Commissioner's sixth wave of public awareness research has found that over two thirds of the Scottish population favours extending Scotland's FOI laws to cover organisations other than public authorities, such as housing associations and privately run prisons.


  • Fifth wave of public awareness research published The Commissioner's 2007 study of public awareness of FOI rights has found that public awareness of FOI remains high, with 74% reporting that they are aware of the law. However, the report also suggests that awareness may be lower within certain groups, including young people, the elderly and those with disabilities.
  • Scotland rises to the challenge of FOI...but more can be done Research commissioned by the Scottish Information Commissioner and carried out by researchers from the University of St Andrews and the Caledonian Business School reveals that, while Scottish public authorities are complying with the letter of the legislation, concerns remain as to whether the spirit of FOI is being fully complied with.


  • Fourth survey of public awareness of freedom of information rights The Commissioner's 2006 public awareness study reports that public awareness of the freedom of information rights remains high and that there has been a sharp fall in those who believe that public authorities will find ways around the law. Most requests had resulted in release of some or all of the information and there was strong support for the view that as a result of FOISA more public authority information is available now than before. However people are less sure than in previous surveys that public authorities are becoming more open and accountable.


  • Third survey of public awareness of freedom of information rights The Commissioner's third public awareness study, 10 months into operation of the Act, reveals further significant increases in awareness of the role of the Scottish Information Commissioner and of the rights that the Act affords. More people are likely to request information from a Scottish public authority, more people who think that the Act will be useful to them, although fewer people strongly agree that authorities are becoming more open and accountable as a result of the Act.
  • Freedom of Information gets off to a flying start Research published today (23 May 2005) reveals that the Scottish Information Commissioner's campaign to raise public awareness of the new Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act has achieved significant results, with more than two thirds of Scots now aware of the new legislation.


  • Research reveals authorities need to do more for freedom of information Research published on 20th December 2004, reveals that, while the majority of public authorities in Scotland are confident of their ability to comply with freedom of information, there remain some important areas where work is required if authorities are to fully meet the obligations that the new legislation places on them.
  • Scottish research shows people need to know more about their right to know A national survey designed to test public awareness of and attitudes to freedom of information, released on 4 October 2004, shows that the majority of people are as yet unaware of the rights they will gain in January 2005. However, most do think that FOI will make public authorities more open and accountable.
  • Scottish authorities 'on track' to open their files Scottish public authorities are on track to meet their obligations under Scotland's new Freedom of Information legislation, according to research released on 22 March 2004 by the Scottish Information Commissioner and TSO (The Stationery Office).

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