Court rules research records exempt from law

INDIANA — The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in December that records kept by a state university on animal research are exempt from the state’s public records act. Dr. Scott Robinson was denied information on an Indiana University animal research project.Robinson requested information on the researcher, the care and use of the animals involved and the nature and procedures of the research. University officials provided Robinson with none of the information.The Indiana Public Records Act states that the public is to have access to the affairs of government and the official acts of those who represent them. However, a provision of the act also states that “information concerning research” is exempt from public disclosure.In Robinson v. Indiana University, 659 N.E.2d 153 (Ind. Ct. App. 1995), Judge James S. Kirsch’s opinion affirmed a superior court decision that said Robinson was not entitled to the records.After reviewing the trial court’s findings, Judge Kirsch wrote that the information Robinson sought fell within the court’s definition of research.The university, along with Purdue University at Indianapolis and a School of Medicine subcommittee, is responsible for the review of research projects that involve the use of animals.This was Robinson’s second case against the university involving access to information. In a 1994 case, Robinson was denied access to meetings of the university’s Animal Care Committee under the state’s open meetings law.