The Intellectual Property Bill has now been published, and this includes the amendment to the FOI Act relating to scientific research that came out of the post-legislative review that was discussed at BH last year.
At first glance, the government seem to have adopted the Scottish approach to the issue - indeed the wording of the bill closely resembles that in the Scottish Act. This allows information to be withheld where it is held as part of an ongoing research programme with a view to future publication.
There is, however, one significant difference. In Scotland future publication means "within 12 weeks". In the new bill, there is no time limit defined. I think what this means is that universities will be able to defer release of data and code indefinitely, by saying that the information is still being used. One is reminded of the claim by Queens University Belfast that the tree ring data Doug Keenan wanted was (a) still in use decades after collection and (b) inaccessible because it was held on paper.
While climate data should still be disclosable under EIR, the bill look looks very much as though it represents a triumph of the scientific establishment over the public interest.