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The University as a public authority

As a public authority, the University is governed by the principle of public access to official records which means that the general public and mass media have the right to an insight into the activities of the University.

Part of the public access principle, the accessibility of documents in the public domain, means in principle that both Swedish and foreign citizens have the right to read public documents which are kept by public authorities. In other words the rule of thumb is that all public documents are open to access. In order for a document to be classified, there must be sufficient grounds as laid out in the Official Secrets Act. It is above all certain decisions concerning individual persons which may be classified on this basis.

With regards to students, the following documents are regarded as being in the domain of the general public with open access:

  • information in the study documentation system LADOK
  • the results of examinations
  • written tests / examinations or approved grades
  • previous examination questions
  • reports, essays etc or approved grades

Public documents can be requested upon payment of a fee in accordance with the Public Fees and Charges Ordinance. This ordinance is also in force for written examination scripts. These scripts should be returned to the student after grading and registration in the LADOK study register. If the student asks for a review of the grade awarded, the examination script should be kept for a further two years.

With regards to degree dissertation project work (project work and essays for both general and vocational degrees) it is accepted practice within the Swedish higher education sector that the examination should take place through public defence and open seminars. This public openness is also a quality issue as it guarantees a sufficiently transparent academic scrutiny throughout the defence process. A university should not therefore allow a dissertation project to be based on confidential material as this would preclude the dissertation from undergoing the quality assessment which is at the cornerstone of higher education studies.

The Education Committee at the Halmstad University approved the following decision at its meeting on 19th March 2002:

"It is normally not possible to keep student essays from public access. If students during the course of their essay work receive access to information of a confidential nature which a company does not want to make public, the problem is normally solved by the student masking certain details in the essay and that a special (separate) report should be written for the sole purposes of  the company concerned. The University should also seek to clearly inform the company that the work of students will constitute a public document after the examination process has been completed."

Updated 2017-12-04