Publications and academic freedom

Freedom to publish and academic freedom is of crucial importance to all UK universities and academic staff, and is woven into the legal status of institutions.  Protecting your work before publishing is important: this may be via copyright, by publishing ‘first’, or through other protective filings such as a patent where the results of the work may be sensitive or have commercial application. Industry partnerships and commercialisation can advise further on this.

In some cases, what you are seeking to publish may result in an ‘export’ taking place"



In some cases, you should consider whether there are national security implications to the research and whether Section 22 of the Patents Act 2004 might be applicable. The Patent Office will assess whether there are any national security applications which may require an application under Section 22, although some details are not made public.

 Some examples of technology areas that may be subject to section 22 of the Patents Act 2004 include:

  •  Alloys possessing resistance to erosion, creep, fatigue or mechanical shock at elevated temperatures
  • Catalysts for hydrogen peroxide breakdown
  • Methods of production, storage, dissemination and detection of pathogenic microorganisms, their toxin products.

The following pages provide further information regarding section 22 of the Patents Act 2004:

You should always consider what you publish and how this may be utilised, in particular by any hostile state.  In some cases, what you are seeking to publish may result in an ‘export’ taking place, and careful consideration should be given to the Dual-use items aspects of the information of technology you might be releasing, and therefore may be subject to control under law.