As a publc entity, the university must comply with the Principle of Public Access to Information meaning the main rule is that the information is public. Therefore, the university cannot keep information confidential to any greater extent than that set out in Swedish legislation, primarily the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act (OSL). OSL contains regulations that specifically address Contract Research and Collaborative Research. It is worth noting that the legislation has deemed that when the expectation of the commissioning party/collaborative party (the private party) is that certain information be kept confidential, such expectation becomes relevant to the university’s assessment of whether or not the information is covered by confidentiality and can be withheld. A university’s decision regarding whether or not certain information is covered by confidentiality can be appealed to a Swedish court of law.
The Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act (OSL 31:12) defines defines confidentiality within Contract Research:
“Confidentiality applies for contracts that concern testing, determining of properties or abundance, evaluation, scientific, technical, financial or statistical investigation or other such contracts that the governmental agency performs on behalf of a private party, if it must be assumed that the contract has been commissioned on the assumption that the information is not disclosed. /.../ For information in official documents, confidentiality applies for a maximum of twenty years. However, in the case of universities and colleges, confidentiality applies for a maximum of ten years. In the case of the Swedish Patent and Registration Office, confidentially applies for a maximum of fifty years.”
The Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act (OSL 24:5) defines confidentiatlity within Collaborative Research in the following way:
“Confidentiality applies at universities and colleagues to information about a private party’s business or operating conditions, inventions or research findings that have been submitted or emerged during such research that, by agreement, is being undertaken in cooperation with a private party, if it must be assumed that the private party has participated in the collaborative research on condition that such information is not disclosed. /…/ For information in official documents, confidentiality applies for a maximum of twenty years.”