NTIS | Freedom of Information Act Program
Freedom of Information Act Program

Freedom of Information Act Program - FOIA

The Freedom of Information Act (5 USC 552) was enacted in 1966. FOIA provides that any person has a right to obtain access to federal agency records, except to the extent that such records (or portions of them) are protected from public disclosure by one of nine FOIA exemptions or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions. This right is enforceable in court.

The Federal FOIA does not provide access to records held by U.S. state or local government agencies or by businesses or individuals. States have their own statutes governing public access to state and local records, and they should be consulted for further information.

The FOIA provides individuals with a statutory right of access to certain federal agency records. The FOIA requires agencies to disclose requested records unless they are protected from public disclosure by the FOIA. Congress included in the FOIA nine exemptions and three law enforcement exclusions to protect important interests such as national security, personal privacy, privileged communications, and law enforcement.

Filing a FOIA Request

Before submitting FOIA requests, individuals should ensure that the information they seek is not already in the public domain.

Frequently Asked NTIS Questions

Can I get NTIS documents free under the Freedom of Information Act?

All federal science technical reports and documents in the NTIS collection are free of charge for discovery, searching, and downloading from the NTIS database. This repository is open to the public through the National Technical Reports Library (NTRL).

About the National Technical Information Service

We're part of "America's Data Agency," the U.S. Department of Commerce. We help federal agencies make better decisions about data, with data. We provide the support and structure that helps our partners securely store, analyze, sort, and aggregate data in new ways. We use our private-sector partners' knowledge to create new ways of using data to solve problems. Our Joint Venture program works side-by-side with universities, nonprofits and industry professionals — together, they can experiment with data science technologies before they're available in the marketplace.

Our History

No other group can replicate our history and experience managing data.Originally called the Publication Board, our organization was created after World War II. Our purpose was to serve as the U.S. government's repository for scientific research and information. As such, we still maintain the world's most comprehensive collection of U.S.-sponsored research. We house more than 3 million publications, and our data covers topics that range from aerodynamics to urban development. Our archive spans the Manhattan project to present. But now we have a new mission: to foster innovation and economic growth by providing information and data services to the public, the private industry, and other federal agencies.

Today, we're building new products and services with private-sector partners. We're making those products and services available to federal agencies before they come to market. We're creating a faster pipeline and — as a result — benefitting agencies, businesses, communities, and the public.

Our team

We believe diverse teams produce the best work, and so our projects are staffed with people inside and outside the government.

We have in-house data scientists, project managers, researchers, and engineers. Our Joint Venture Partners include private companies, nonprofits, and universities.

Who would be interested in products from NTIS

The NTIS customer-base is far reaching and includes scientists, engineers, the business community, librarians, and information specialists in government, academia, and the general public.

If the information you seek is not in the public domain, please follow the suggestions listed below to file a new request:

Filing Online

  • Identify the records requested (be as specific as possible, i.e., describe the subject matter of the records, and, if known, indicate the dates of the records, the places where they originated, and the names of the originating persons or offices);
  • State that the records are requested under the Freedom of Information Act; include daytime telephone numbers in case additional information is needed before answering requests.
  • However, requests can still be submitted in paper copy. For All request please include a mailing address, a daytime telephone number so we may contact you if necessary, and keep a copy of your request; you may need to refer to it for further correspondence with the agency.
  • Click here for more information on filing a written request for Commerce Records under the Freedom of Information Act

Filing by Mail

Mark the outside of the envelope, "Freedom of Information Request" and mail to the address listed below.

National Technical Information Service
5301 Shawnee Road
Alexandria, VA 22312

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding NTIS records are handled through the FOIA Officer. The FOIA contact is responsible for reviewing, coordinating, and responding to requests within 20 days under the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.


Wayne Strickland, email:wstrickland@ntis.gov

NTIS FOIA Reading Room

More Information on the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act

For more information on the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act, see the list of reference materials on the U.S. Department of Justice FOIA website.