Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, May 15, 2008

OA to UK UFO files -- for a limited time

Laura Blue, Britain Releases its X-Files, Time, May 14, 2008. (Thanks to Susan Morris.)
... This week Britain's Ministry of Defence (MoD) begins releasing all its files about UFOs in ministry parlance, "Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon" on a government website, free for download. ...

[W]hy release the files now? A spokeswoman says the ministry gets as many as 150 or 200 requests for the files each year, and under Britain's Freedom of Information Act is obliged to answer almost all of them. "We have other priorities," she says. "The most resourceful thing to do is just get [these files] into the public domain."

It's an immensely time-consuming process. Ministry staff are now going through each file to redact personal information like names and addresses in correspondence, and then scanning each page for online publishing. The whole procedure should take about three years, with files rolled out in batches, posted online on the U.K. National Archives website. Files are available for free download for the first month; afterward, users will have to pay. ...
See also: France posted its UFO files last year.