A new exemption which will stop pre-publication research from being disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act has come in to force.

The exemption, which is part of the Intellectual Property Act 2014, applies from today and covers information that is being gathered for research purposes.

As with all the exemptions it can be applied by any public authority however it may be used by universities. The campaigning group Universities UK, as well as individual universities, have been pushing for the exemption for some time.

FOI Man has previously written a guide as to what the potential reach of the new exemption may be, he says:

…there is nothing in the way the UK exemption is worded to clearly rule out its use by public authorities outside academia. However, it may be that future challenges could turn on this definition of “research programme”.

As pointed out by the Campaign for Freedom of Information the exemption is similar to one in the Scottish Freedom of Information Act, but even this isn’t straight forward:

The full text of the exemption says:

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I am a journalist and author. I am a journalist at the UK edition of WIRED magazine. In 2015, my first book Freedom of Information: A Practical Guide for UK Journalists, was published. My second book Reed Hastings: Building Netflix, was published in March 2020. I created FOI Directory in 2012 and have maintained it in my spare time ever since.