Access to information

Find out about RBG Kew's policy to release information

Plants at Kew Gardens

RBG Kew has a policy to release information openly by default, except in some circumstances.

These are:

  • release of the information is controlled by laws (eg Data Protection Act, Freedom of Information Act)
  • the information is owned by a third party that has not given permission for the information to be released under an open licence
  • the information is subject to an agreement placing access restrictions upon it
  • the information itself has demonstrable commercial value
  • where the release of information will increase conservation risks and security of assets above acceptable levels.

Before any release, active consideration will be given to these matters.

For the purposes of this issue, ‘information’ means structured and unstructured data, information and recorded knowledge on databases, documents or other media including electronic and physical storage, collections and research data, images, text documents and similar items.

By ‘open’, we follow the Open Data Institute’s description: ‘open data is data that anyone can access, use and share’. It is worth noting that open is not always the same as free and open does not commit us to digitise all our physical information. This open information policy allows for reasonable first use by RBG Kew before release.

Information that is published openly in good faith in line with this policy may subsequently prove to contravene the exceptional circumstances. We will therefore ensure that a ‘take down’ procedure is codified.

RBG Kew adopts the most recent Creative Commons – Attribution (CC-BY) license as the standard license for information publication, except where otherwise stated.