The Intellectual Property Act 2014 received Royal Assent in May this year, bringing in a new exemption to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 today - 1 October 2014 - in respect of pre-publication research.
Section 22 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA 2000) already provides an exemption from disclosure in respect of information which is held by a public authority "with a view to publication, by the authority or some other person, at some future date (whether determined or not)."
The new exemption - now section 22A of the FOIA 2000 - will cover information obtained in the course of, or derived from, a programme of research. However, there are requirements that the research programme must be continuing with a view to publishing a report of the research and that disclosure of the information before the date of publication of the report of the research would (or would be likely to) prejudice the programme, the interests of any individual participating in the programme, the interests of the authority which holds the information, or the interests of the body publishing a report of the research (if different).
This exemption is a "qualified exemption" and will require a consideration of the public interest test.
Information which is regarded an "environmental information" will need to be considered under the provisions of the Environmental Information Regulations.