The federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the state law equivalents promote government transparency by allowing citizens to request copies of administrative records. Any citizen can file a request with a government entity for copies of government documents, and the government must either produce the information or explain why it is exempt from production (for example, for national security purposes).
While these laws were originally written with an eye toward policy makers and bureaucrats, in recent years, these open records laws have been used increasingly to request information from publicly funded scientists. Scientists employed by federal agencies, state agencies, or state universities, as well as scientists at private institutions who have received federal grants, have all received open records requests for information about their work.
Environmental Law | Law
The Application of Open Records Laws to Publicly Funded Science,
Nat. Resources & Env't
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/sabin_climate_change/101