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By GCN Staff

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Of plowshares and swords

Rampant bureaucracy is threatening the quality of U.S. research, some researchers and security experts have concluded.
The National Academies convened a panel of U.S. researchers and security professionals to find a middle ground between the two in matters of research for areas sensitive to national security.

They came to an agreement that universities must maintain an open culture, even if it means the results of some research could ultimately be used by terrorists.

And there are a host of other issues as well: Are current Visa laws limiting the researchers who wish to enter the country to do research? Do current contract and technology transfer restrictions reflect cold-war thinking?

"U.S. [defense] agencies often offer companies contracts that contain clauses preventing the dissemination of knowledge. That presents a problem when the companies subcontract to universities, which have an obligation to publish," the journal Nature summarized the views of the panel.

It recommends setting up a governmental science and security commission to ensure sensitive research still gets done, despite governmental concerns about how that research could be used.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy could oversee this new commission, the panel suggested.

Posted by Joab Jackson on Oct 26, 2007 at 9:39 AM


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