The principle of public access

The principle of public access means that there is a fundamental right for all citizens to have access to public documents from authorities.

The principle of public access is established in the second chapter of the Press Freedom Act (1949: 105, TF). In the research context, the principle is a basic prerequisite for maintaining public confidence in research.

Research conducted at Karolinska Institute is covered by the principle of public access. As a rule, all research documents become public documents. A document is general if it is stored with an authority and has either been received or drawn up by the authority (TF Chapter 2, § 3, §§ 6-7). A document that has not been finalized can be regarded as a work material and is not yet a public document. A public document must be provided promptly upon request.

Although the principle of public access is the main rule, there are exceptions where the public is not entitled to access certain information. Exceptions are regulated in the Public and Privacy Act (2009: 400, OSL). Upon request for access to public documents a confidentiality test is performed. It is only in cases where research data would be covered by confidentiality in accordance with any rule in the Public and Secrecy Act (eg Health and Medical Privacy OSL Chapter 25, Section 1) that Karolinska Institutet can refuse to disclose it. The person who has requested access to the material is then not entitled to this.