Dataset for "Freedom of information (FOI) as a data collection tool for social scientists."

Dataset for "Freedom of information (FOI) as a data collection tool for social scientists."

The UK’s FOI Act came into force in 2005, allowing the public to make requests of publicly held data. We set out to understand the determinants of the quality responses to FOI requests. We also explain how requests can be made and provide suggestions to construct effective data-driven requests. We applied for data on hate crime from all police forces and on uptake of maternity leave from all universities. We find that observable characteristics of the local area, police force and universities neither determine whether the request was fulfilled, nor the speed of response, suggesting that the data from these FOI requests are representative of the institutions from which they were requested.

The dataset and code contains the analysis of "Freedom of information (FOI) as a data collection tool for social scientists" which evaluates a method of generating a unique dataset that has been underused - a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

Political science and international studies

Cite this dataset as:
Clifton-Sprigg, J., James, J., Vujic, S., 2020. Dataset for "Freedom of information (FOI) as a data collection tool for social scientists.". Bath: University of Bath Research Data Archive. Available from:


Access restrictions apply: Files are under embargo pending review of the associated manuscript.


Jonathan James
University of Bath

Suncica Vujic
University of Antwerp


Geographical coverage:



Data collection method:

Data was collected using i) Freedom of Information requests, ii) downloaded from government websites: police force characteristics and crime statistics - Home Office; local area demographic characteristics - 2011 Census; labour market characteristics - ONS.

Technical details and requirements:

The data and code files are in Stata format. Microsoft Excel was also used to prepare the data.

Documentation Files

Readme_file_for ... OI_PLOSONE.docx
application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document (12kB)
Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0



Publication details

Publication date: 27 January 2020
by: University of Bath

Version: 1


URL for this record:

Contact information

Please contact the Research Data Service in the first instance for all matters concerning this item.

Contact person: Jonathan James


Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences