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Reports and publications

Royal Society activities on reducing the risk of the misuse of scientific research

21 August 2008

This paper summarises activities undertaken by the Royal Society on reducing the risk of the misuse of scientific research. It begins by describing activities undertaken by the Society in the UK and at the international level, and then discusses some of the major themes and challenges that have emerged, such as the need for:

  • risk assessments;
  • openness and transparency;
  • education and awareness raising.

Finally, the paper highlights some possible next steps. Complementary efforts at all levels, from the individual to the international, will be required to address the issue and build a web of prevention against the potential misuse of research.

Update, January 2010: Assessing the Threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Role of Independent Scientists

Professor Geoffrey Smith FRS, Chair of the Royal Society’s advisory committee on the Scientific Aspects of International Security (SAIS), and Senior Policy Advisers Ben Koppelman and Dr Neil Davison, contributed an paper to a NATO Advanced Research Workshop on ‘The Role of Scientists in Assessing the Risks of Dual-Use Research in the Life Sciences’. It features in the January 2010 book collecting the papers from this workshop: Assessing the Threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Role of Independent Scientists.

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