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Project Title:

Dual Use Research of Concern: Options for Future Management
PIN: PGA-STL-14-02        

Major Unit:

Policy and Global Affairs

Sub Unit: Committee on Science, Technology and Law

RSO: Mazza, Anne-Marie

Subject/Focus Area: Biology and Life Sciences; International Issues; National Security and Defense

Project Scope
The open publication of fundamental scientific research is consistent with general U.S. policy as elaborated in NSDD-189 (National Policy on the Transfer of Scientific, Technical, and Engineering Information) and followed by federal research agencies and scientific journals.  However, the 2012 controversy surrounding the publication of two scientific papers that demonstrated the capacity for mammalian transmissibility of a lethal H5N1 avian influenza strain highlighted research where access to research data raises significant biosafety and biosecurity concerns.  Several years later, it remains unclear as to whether there are practical mechanisms or approaches for managing such dual use research of concern (DURC) and, specifically, how to deal with situations where there is a pressing need, for public health reasons, to publish research findings while limiting, due to national security concerns, the dissemination of certain details that ordinarily would be published.  This is especially true in cases where an initial assessment of proposed research does not anticipate results that would warrant such consideration. 

An ad hoc committee under the auspices of the Committee on Science, Technology, and Law will convene a workshop jointly with the Board on Health Sciences Policy's Standing Committee on Health Threats and Workforce Resilience to explore options for communicating the results of dual use research of concern while protecting certain information.  The workshop will review existing mechanisms for control of information sharing such as retraction, FOIA, classification, and export controls, as well as First Amendment issues and the applicability of free speech to a scientist's right to publish research results. Commissioned papers presented at the workshop will offer options for dissemination of dual use research results that might be adopted.  Following the workshop, the committee will issue a report that assesses the various options presented in the commissioned papers and discussed during the workshop.

Project Duration: 12 months    

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Committee Membership
Committee Membership

 Meeting 1 - 07/11/2016
 Meeting 2 - 01/04/2017


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