New FOI exemption for research information
Phil Oakman, the University Records Manager, has just drawn my attention to the new research exemption in the Freedom of Information Act which came into force on 1st October.
The Act states:
“Information obtained in the course of, or derived from, a programme of research is exempt information if:
(a) the programme is continuing with a view to the publication, by a public authority or any other person, of a report of the research (whether or not including a statement of that information), and
(b) disclosure of the information under this Act before the date of publication would, or would be likely to, prejudice—
(i) the programme,
(ii) the interests of any individual participating in the programme,
(iii) the interests of the authority which holds the information, or
(iv) the interests of the authority mentioned in paragraph (a) (if it is a different authority from that which holds the information).”
This is a qualified exemption which means that authorities will still need to consider the public interest test before reaching their final decision.
The exemption is covered in the Intellectual Property Act 2014 and the instrument bringing it into force is the Intellectual Property Act 2014 (Commencement no. 3 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2014 n. 2330.
If you’d like to know more about how FOI requests should be handled then the Freedom of Information Act web page offers specific guidance for staff at the university, including a series of useful downloads. Alternatively the Records Management Office are happy to help.