Dear Queen Mary, University of London,

I am writing to request the fitness data for the PACE Trial (on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).

That is to say the
(i) mean
and
(ii) standard deviation

for each of the four arms of the trial
i.e. (a) CBT (b) GET (c) APT and (d) SMC-alone
at
(I) baseline
(II) 12 weeks
(III) 24 weeks
(IV) 52 weeks.

This data was presented in Figure 2 in the following paper that was published earlier this year:
Chalder T, Goldsmith KA, White PD, Sharpe M, Pickles A. Rehabilitative
therapies for chronic fatigue syndrome: a secondary mediation analysis of
the PACE trial. Lancet Psychiatry 2015; published online Jan 14.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(14)...

However, the figure is too small to extract the exact data.

Yours faithfully,

Graham McPhee

QM FOI Enquiries, Queen Mary, University of London

FOI 2015/F137

 

Dear Mr. McPhee

 

Thank you for your email.

 

We regard your request to be vexatious and so refuse it under s.14(1) of
the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

Please accept this as a refusal notice in line with s.17.

 

If you are dissatisfied with this response, you may ask QMUL to conduct a
review of this decision.  To do this, please contact the College in
writing (including by fax, letter or email), describe the original
request, explain your grounds for dissatisfaction, and include an address
for correspondence.  You have 40 working days from receipt of this
communication to submit a review request.  When the review process has
been completed, if you are still dissatisfied, you may ask the Information
Commissioner to intervene. Please see [1]www.ico.org.uk for details.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Paul Smallcombe

Records & Information Compliance Manager

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.ico.org.uk/

Dear Queen Mary, University of London,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Queen Mary, University of London's handling of my FOI request 'Fitness data for PACE trial'.

I was very surprised to find that my request has been turned down on the basis that it was "vexatious". I looked at the guidelines and found: "The key question to ask yourself is whether the request is likely to cause a disproportionate or unjustifiable level of distress, disruption or irritation. Bear in mind that it is the request that is considered vexatious, not the requester." The data in question has already been calculated and is a fundamental part of the analysis: it has been used as the basis of a low-resolution diagram in the study. If publishing such a diagram is acceptable, how can requesting publication of the actual numbers on which it is based be vexatious?

As a mathematician with ME, I take a keen interest in research into the illness, and, to me, data speaks much more convincingly than words. I am on record (http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d3780...) as recognising the importance of the PACE trial, but not accepting the validity of its analysis and conclusions. There is no logic in turning down my request according to the guidelines: I can only assume that my scepticism of the conclusions of the PACE trial, and my wish to analyse the data for myself has played a part here. Such a reason is explicitly denied in the guidelines: a refusal must relate to the information required, not the person making the request. In the scientific world it is considered important for data to be available and to be analysed by supporters and sceptics alike, in order to arrive at the truth. Sadly that does not seem to be the situation here. As such I believe the refusal more closely fits a description of "vexatious".

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/f...

Yours faithfully,

Graham McPhee

QM FOI Enquiries, Queen Mary, University of London

Dear Mr. McPhee

 

Queen Mary has completed its internal review. The reviewer has concluded
that the refusal should be upheld.

 

If you remain dissatisfied you can complain to the Information
Commissioner. Please see [1]www.ico.org.uk for details.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Paul Smallcombe

Queen Mary University of London

References

Visible links
1. http://www.ico.org.uk/

Doug Paulley left an annotation ()

I'd encourage you to appeal their handling of your request to the Information Commissioner's Office. Their refusal note doesn't explain or justify their use of the S14 exemption. Whilst I haven't looked at / don't know about the context, for example other FOI requests sent by you, I can't see anything in this request that I would consider meets any of the Dransfield criteria for S14, or anything that gives me any concern whatsoever. (Speaking in a personal capacity only.)

Alister Troup left an annotation ()

The data has finally been published after a ruling by the ICO.

Worth noting is that the data and QMUL re-examination of the results, that changed the headline figures from 60% to ~20%, were published on the last possible day before the deadline to appeal the ICO's ruling expired.

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