Confidential and public information

Under the Dutch Freedom of Information Act (WOB), documents about administrative matters can be requested from NWO. This Act protects the privacy of the individuals concerned, however, and prevents disproportionate prejudice or harm. Not all documents are therefore automatically available.

Protection of career and intellectual property

NWO wants to provide as much transparency as possible on its working methods as a national research council. Also, NWO believes it has a responsibility to protect the privacy of applicants, referees, and to prevent people or organisations experiencing damage because somebody has submitted a research proposal.

NWO wants to prevent information about the scientists concerned damaging their careers. The names and proposals of rejected applicants are therefore not published.

NWO also wants to protect applicants' research ideas from misuse. After all, these ideas are the applicants' intellectual property. NWO only publishes summaries of the research proposals granted funding.

Anonymous referees

Details and information about referees are considered confidential by NWO. Referees' reports are therefore anonymous, and applicants and the members of the selection committee do not know the identity of the referees. That makes it easier for the referees to give a frank assessment.

A third party cannot request a referees' report. This protects the privacy and intellectual property of the applicants and the referees. Referees must also treat the researchers' details entrusted to them with the utmost confidence.

Information in the public domain

Information about the proposals granted funding, and the membership of the selection committees, are made public. The working method of the selection committee is stated in the relevant call for proposals.

Dutch Freedom of Information Act (WOB)

If a person requests confidential information from NWO by appealing to the Dutch Freedom of Information Act, then NWO will give serious consideration to this request. NWO will give due consideration to the aforementioned issues, and will also ensure the protection of the researchers concerned. NWO always tries to find an acceptable solution for all parties involved.

Should NWO decide to decline such a request for information, the requesting party can lodge an objection. An objection must be submitted in writing to NWO's Executive Board. If the party concerned does not agree with the decision, they can appeal against this.