How will a bureau handle a request for Federally-funded research data in the possession of a private entity?
In accordance with OMB Circular A-110, when published research findings are produced under a grant or other Federal assistance awarded to institutions of higher education, public and private hospitals, and other quasi-public and private nonprofit organizations, and the findings are used by a bureau in developing an agency action, e.g., a policy or regulation, research data related to such findings are considered agency records. This applies even if the bureau's data are in the possession of the recipient of the Federal financial assistance (recipient).
If you submit a FOIA request for such research data, the bureau will require the recipient to provide the information to it within a reasonable amount of time, so the bureau can consider the data for release to the public under the FOIA.
The bureau will notify you that it may charge you for any additional fees incurred as a result of obtaining the research data from the recipient. This fee is in addition to any fees the bureau may charge to process your request under the FOIA.
The bureau will forward a copy of the request to the recipient, who is responsible for searching for and reviewing the requested information in accordance with DOI's FOIA regulations (43 CFR part 2). The recipient will forward a copy of any responsive records that are located, along with his/her recommendations concerning the releasability of the data, and the total cost incurred in searching for, reviewing, and providing the data to the appropriate bureau FOIA contact.
The bureau will review and consider the recommendations of the recipient regarding the releasability of the requested data. However, it is the bureau, rather than the recipient, that is responsible for deciding whether the information will be released or withheld.