Research Censorship Called Problematic
The editor of the world-leading scientific journal Nature says current procedures to assess and censor medical research potentially of use to terrorists need to be improved. Dr. Philip Campbell made his remarks to BBC News following the publication of controversial research into the bird flu virus H5N1. Two research papers have raised the concern of anti-terrorist agencies. One was submitted to Nature; the other to another leading journal, Science. The Science paper has yet to appear. Both pieces of research show that the H5N1 virus can relatively easily mutate into a form that might spread rapidly among the human population.
Speaking for the first time on the issue, Dr Campbell said that the current process for establishing whether medical research should be censored was “very, very problematic”. “If we are to go down the censorship route, how do you decide which researchers should get the sensitive information? And how can you realistically ensure that once it is in a university environment that it won’t go further?”