Submitting a request to disclose documents

Under the Dutch Public Access to Government Information Act (Wet openbaarheid van bestuur, Wob), anyone can request administrative bodies, including NWO, to disclose documents. The Wob outlines how a Freedom of Information request should be handled, as well as which information can and cannot be disclosed.

  • Which information can you have disclosed by means of a Wob request?

    NWO wants its approach as a national research council to be transparent and therefore aims to make as much information as possible publicly available. At the same time, it is important to protect the privacy of the researchers involved and ensure that parties are not unduly favoured or disadvantaged by the disclosure of information. That is why NWO does not automatically disclose all information but rather makes a decision based on a Wob request, taking into consideration the potential grounds for refusal outlined in the Wob. As a result, your request could be partially or entirely rejected. This will always be explained in the decision on your Wob request.

    Information that NWO does not disclose, as matter of principle, includes:

    • The names of rejected applicants, as well as any information that may reveal their identity
    • The names of referees, as well as any information that may reveal their identity
    • Competition-sensitive information in research proposals

    Information that is already in the public domain does not need to be made public again. In such cases, NWO will point out where these documents can be found.

  • How to submit a Wob request

    You can submit your Wob request online using the electronic form below. You will receive a confirmation of receipt after filling in the form.

    Or send your Wob request by post to:

    NWO

    Legal Affairs Department
    Postbox 93138
    2509 AC The Hague
    The Netherlands

    Submit your Wob request online

  • What are the requirements for a Wob request?

    Your Wob request must meet the following requirements:

    • Indicate as precisely as possible what you want information about.
    • The information you are interested in must be recorded somewhere, either on paper or digitally.
    • NWO must have access to the information in question.
    • The information concerns NWO’s policy or the planning or implementation of its policy.

    If it is not clear to NWO whether your WOB request meets these criteria, then NWO will ask you for clarification. The request will not be processed until NWO receives this clarification.

  • How does NWO handle your Wob request?

    After NWO receives a Wob request, it will decide whether the requested information can be made public based on the Wob assessment framework. Information that is made public by means of a Wob decision becomes accessible to everyone. 

    You will receive a response to your Wob request within 4 weeks at the latest. NWO may extend this period by another 4 weeks, for example if the request involved a substantial amount of information. If it takes longer, then you will receive a message before the first 4 weeks have passed. This message will also explain why it is taking longer.

    If your request concerns information about third parties, then NWO may ask these persons to provide their view on the request. The processing period will then be temporarily suspended pending their response.

    Sometimes a Wob request concerns so much information that the extra time is still insufficient to assess all the information. In such cases, NWO will make further arrangements with you about how to process the request.

    Generally, you will receive the decision on the Wob request and any publicly disclosed documents related to the decision digitally. On request, NWO can also send you the documents by post. NWO may charge the applicant for the actual costs incurred for making copies of documents and extracts or summaries of their contents.