Freedom of Information Literature

Freedom of Information Literature

freedom of information 信息自由libertad de informaciónحرية المعلومات liberté de l’informationдоступ к информации

Freedom of Information Literature

Selective biography of academic literature, overviews and comparative analysis regarding freedom of information law and practice

The Freedom of Information Advocates Network is grateful to the Constitution Unit of the

Department of Political Science, University College London for compiling this biography of FOI resources.

FOI Research Centres

Centre for FOI, Univeristy of Dundee

Constition Unit, University College London

Rick Snell, University of Tasmania

Eduardo Bertoni, Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information (CELE) at Palermo University School of Law, Argentina

Richard Calland, Open Democracy Advice Centre, South Africa

Dan Metcalfe, Collaboration on Government Secrecy, USA

Overviews and comparative

Ackerman, John. and Irma. Sandoval-Ballesteros. 2006. ‘The global explosion of freedom of information laws’, Administrative Law Review 58(1): 85-130.

Banisar, David. 2006. Freedom of Information Around the World 2006. A Global Survey of Access to Government Records Laws. Available online at

Blanton, Tom. 2002.‘The World’s Right to Know’.

Cain, Bruce, Sergio Fabbrini and Patrick. Egan. 2003. ‘Towards more open democracies: the expansion of FOI laws’. In Democracy Transformed? – Expanding Political Opportunities in Advanced Industrial Democracies, eds. B.E. Cain, R.J. Dalton and S.E. Scarrow. Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press, 115– 139.

Constitution Unit . 2010. ‘Assessing the performance of FOI’. Forthcoming article for Government Information Quarterly (Open Government Special)

Constitution Unit. 2009. Understanding the Formulation and Development of Government Policy in the Context of FOI , report prepared for the Information Commissioner’s Office

Darch, C. and Underwood, P. 2010. Freedom of information in the developing world: demand, compliance and democratic behaviours. Oxford:Chandos

Hazell, Robert. 1987. Freedom of Information in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. London: Cabinet Office.

Hazell, Robert. 1989. ‘Freedom of Information in Australia, Canada and New Zealand’. Public Administration 67 (summer): 189–210.

Mendel, Toby. 2008. Freedom of Information: a comparative legal survey. Second edition. UNESCO. Available online at

Open Society Justice Initiative. 2006. Transparency and Silence. A study of access to information in 14 countries. Available online at:

Roberts, Alasdair. 2006. Blacked Out: government secrecy in the Information Age. New York: CambridgeUniversity Press.

Vleugels, Roger. 2009. ‘Overview of all 90 FOIA countries & territories’. Fringe Special (September 2009).

FOI Theory

Hood, Christopher and David Heald (eds.). 2006. Transparency: the Key to Better Governance? Proceedings of the BritishAcademy, Volume135. Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press.

James, Simon. 2006. ‘The potential benefits of Freedom of Information’. in Open government in a theoretical and practical context, eds. R.A. Chapman and M. Hunt. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 17-32.

Stiglitz, Joseph. 2003. ‘Transparency of Government (Part 1) – Breakthrough for Reforming the Shape of a Nation’. Economics review.Available online at

Piotrowksi, Suzanne J. 2009. ‘Is transparency sustainable?’Public Administration Review 69 (2): 359 – 361.

Piotrowski, Suzanne J. (Ed.). (May 2010 paperback and hardcover).

Governmental Transparency and Secrecy: Linking Literature and Contemporary Debate. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books. 201 pg.


Measuring FOI

Cuillier, David and Suzanne J. Piotrowski. 2009. "Internet Information-seeking and its relation to support for access to government records" Government Information Quarterly. Issue 26, page 441-449

Involve. 2009. ‘Open Government: beyond static measures’. Paris:OECD

Islam, Roueen. 2003. Do more transparent governments govern better?World Bank Working Paper no. 3077. Washington: World Bank. Available online

Neuman, Laura, and Richard Calland. 2007. ‘Making the Law Work: The Challenges of Implementation’ in The Right to Know: Transparency for an Open World, edited by Ann Florini, p.179–213. New York: ColumbiaUniversity Press.Available online

Roberts, Alasdair S. 2007. ‘Future Challenges for the Right to Information (RTI) Movement (Futuros Desafíos Para El Movimiento Por El Derecho De Acceso a La Información)’. 5th International Conference of Information Commissioners, November 26-29, 2007. Available at SSRN:

Roberts, Alasdair. 2006.‘Dashed expectations: governmental adaption to transparency rules’. In Transparency: the Key to Better Governance?, eds. C. Hood and D. Heald. Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press, 107–127.

Relly, J. E. and M. Sabharwal. 2009. ‘Perceptions of transparency of government policymaking: A cross–national study’. Government Information Quarterly 26: 148–157.


Access to Information Review Task Force [AIRTF].2002. Access to Information: Making it Work for Canadians. Report of the Access to Information Review Task Force. Available online

Canadian Information Commissioner. 1994. The Access to Information Act: 10 Years On (Ottowa: Ministry of Public Works and Government Services).

Canadian Information Commissioner .2004. ‘ Remarks to the Canadian Bar Association’ Available at:

Gillis, Robert. Peter. 1998. ‘Freedom of Information and Open Government in Canada’, in McDonald, Andrew and Greg Terrill (eds) Open Government (Basingstoke: Palgrave), pp. 143–168.

Government of Canada. 2006. Strengthening the Access to Information Act: A Discussion of Ideas Intrinsic to the Reform of the Access to Information Act. Available at

Racicot, M. 2005. The Access to Information Act: A Canadian Experience. Available


Australian Law Reform Commission. 1995. Open government: a review of the federal Freedom of Information Act 1982, ALRC 77. Canberra: Commonwealth Information Services.Available online

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Australia). 2009. Freedom of information (FOI) reform: companion guide. Canberra: Australian Government. Available online

McMillan, John. 2002. ‘Twenty Years of Open Government – What Have We Learnt?’,Inaugural Professorial Address to the AustralianNationalUniversity, 4 March.

Terrill, Greg. 1998. ‘The Rise and Decline of Freedom of Information in Australia’. In Open Government, eds. A. McDonald and G. Terrill. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 89–116.

Paterson, Moira. 2005. Freedom of Information and Privacy in Australia: Government and Information Access in the ModernState. Brisbane: LexisNexis Buttersworths.

Snell, Rick. 2001. ‘Freedom of Information: The experience of the Australian states - an epiphany?’ Federal Law Review Vol 29, 2001 , 343-358. Available online

Solomon, David (Chair). 2008. The Right to Know: Reviewing Queensland’s FOI Act. Available online


Coalition of Journalists for Open Government. An in-depth analysis of FOIA performance from 1998 to 2007. Available at:

Executive Office of the President. 2009. Open Government Directive. Available online

Fung, Archon, Mary Graham and David Weil. 2007. Full disclosure; the perils and promise of transparency. Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press.

Piotrowski, Suzanne J. 2007. Transparency in the path of administrative reform. New York: StateUniversity of New York Press.

Piotrowski, Suzanne J. and Erin L. Borry. (2009). Governmental Transparency and Websites: The Case of New Jersey Municipalities. In Christopher G. Reddick (Ed.), Strategies for Local E-Government Adoption and Implementation: Comparative Studies. (23 pages). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.


High Level Review Group on the Freedom of Information Act 1997. 2002. Report to the Government. Dublin: Department of the Taoiseach. Available online

Irish Information Commissioner. 2008. Freedom of Information: the First Decade .Dublin: Office of the Information Commissioner. Available online

McDonagh, Maeve. 2006. ‘FOI: The Irish Experience’, paper presented at University of Alberta Access and Privacy Conference, 8 June.


Pasquier, M., Villeneuve, J.-P. 2006. ‘Access to information in Switzerland. From secrecy to transparency.’ Open Government: a journal on Freedom of Information Vol 2 No. 2. Available online

Holsen, Sarah. and Martial Pasquier. 2009. ‘The Swiss Federal Law on Transparency: Much ado about nothing?’ Paper given to ‘The Future of Governance in Europe and the U.S.’, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., June 11-13.

More research is available in French at


Lagunes, Paul. 2009. ‘Irregular Transparency? An Experiment Involving Mexico’s Freedom of Information Law’. Available online:

Jonathan Fox, Carlos Garcı´a Jime´nez and Libby Haight. 2009. ‘Rural Democratisation in Mexico’s deep south: grassroots right-to-know campaigns in Guerrero’ The Journal of Peasant Studies Vol. 36, No. 2, April 2009, 271–298

Bookman, Z. and Guerro, J .2009. ‘One step forward two steps back’ Mexican Law Review. Volume I, Number 2January-June2009


Roberts, Alasdair .2010. A Great and Revolutionary Law? The First Four Years of India's Right to Information Act. Public Administration Review, (Forthcoming). Available online

RTI Assessment & Analysis Group (RaaG) and National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI). 2009. Safeguarding the right to Information: Report of the People’s RTI Assessment 2008 (Executive Summary) Available online


Spence, Kate. 2010.Volunteering Information?The use of Freedom of Information laws by the Third Sector in Scotland- Survey Findings. Available online


Horsley, J. 2007. ‘China Adopts First Nationwide Open Government Information Regulations’ Available online

Piotrowski, Suzanne J.;Zhang, Yahong;Lin, Weiwei;Yu, Wenxuan. 2009. ‘Key Issues for Implementation of Chinese Open Government Information Regulations’. Public Administration Review, Volume 69, p. 129-135

Snell, Rick and Weibing, Xiao. 2007. ‘Freedom of Information returns to China’. Available online

Weibing, Xiao. 2010. Freedom of information reform in China: an information flow analysis. University of Tasmania: PhD thesis.

New Zealand

Aitken, J. 1998.‘Open Government in New Zealand’, in McDonald, A. and Terrill, G. (eds) Open Government (Basingstoke: Palgrave), pp. 117–142.

Snell, Rick. 2000. ‘The Kiwi paradox- a comparison of Freedom of Information in Australia and New Zealand’ Federal Law Review, Issue 3, p. 575-617. Available online

White, Nicola. 2007. Free and Frank: Making the Official Information Act Work Better. Wellington: Institute of Policy Studies.

South Africa

Allen, Kate (ed.) .2009.The Paper Wars: Access to Information in South AfricaWitsUniversity Press

Darch, C. and Underwood, P. 2005. ‘Freedom of information legislation, state compliance and the discourse of knowledge: The South African experience’

International Library and Information Review Volume 37, issue 2, p 77-86

United Kingdom

Birkinshaw, P. 2010. Freedom of Information: the Law, the Practice and the Ideal, 4th edn (London: Butterworths).

Constitution Unit. 2008. Freedom of Information Act 2000: The Third Year. The experience of local authorities in England in 2007. London: The Constitution Unit. Available online

Hazell, R., Worthy, B and Glover, M. 2010. Does FOI work? The impact of the Freedom of Information Act on central government in the UK, Constitution Unit, (Palgrave Macmillan).

Two summaries of the work area available at the links below:

Research Report

Non-technical summary

Hazell, Robert. 1997. ‘Introducing Freedom of Information’. Available online

Ben Worthy and Robert Hazell. 2010. ‘The Sword: How MPs and peers have used Freedom of Information in theUK’. Paper for Politicial Studies Association 2010 Conference, April 2010. Available online

Eastern Europe

Grigorescu, Alexandru.2009. ‘The Effectiveness of Freedom of Information Legislation in East Europe’ . APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper. Available at:

FOI and the media

Access to Information Review Task Force [AIRTF]. 2002. How Journalists use the Federal Access to Information Act. Accessed at

Bildstein, T. 2004. Journalists Use of Freedom of Information in Australia. M.A. Thesis. Available online

HayesHayes, J. 2009. A Shock to the System: Journalism, Government and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Oxford: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Available online

Holsen, S. Glover, M. Macdonald, C. 2007. 'Journalists' use of the UK Freedom of Information Act', Open Government Journal, Vol.3, No.1 (2007), Available online

Lidberg, Johann. 2002. For Your Information – The Impact of Freedom of Information Legislation on Journalism Practice and Content in Western Australia and Sweden.M.A.Thesis.MurdochUniversity.

Roberts, Alasdair S. 2005. ‘Spin Control and Freedom of Information: Lessons for the United Kingdom from Canada’. Public Administration, Vol. 83, No. 1, pp. 1-25, Spring 2005. Available at SSRN: