Open sharing of biotechnology research – clear knowledge against safety

Open sharing of biotechnology research - transparency versus security

The researchers show how to balance the openness of biotech research with knowledge and safety. Available: Sangharsh Lohakare, Unsplash (CC0,

As biotechnology advances, the problem of misuse or misuse of biological research such as viral engineering is growing. At the same time, “open science” practices such as the sharing of research data and protocols are becoming more widespread. An article to be published on April 14 in the open issue of the journal PLOS Biology by James Smith and Jonas Sandbrink at the University of Oxford, UK, examines the unraveling of scientific methods and the problems of misuse and resolves the consequences of perceived problems.

The authors address a serious problem that has arisen with the advent of nuclear physics: how does the scientific community react when two values ​​- safety and knowledge – compete. They argue that in the context of viral engineering, open code, data, and factors increase the risk of the release of increased pathogens. Machine learning techniques can reduce the amount of time required in the laboratory and simplify pathogen technology.

In order to minimize the misuse of risk, it is necessary to find ways to ensure the appropriate liability of qualified risk investigators. Most importantly, in order to prevent the misuse of statistical tools, it is important to control access to software and data.

Early presses, which were often used during illness, were difficult to prevent the spread of problematic information at the public level. In response, the authors argue that care should be taken prior to the survival of the research. Finally, Smith and Sandbrink point out that early registration of research, an initiative initiated by the wider scientific community to improve the quality of research, can provide an opportunity to evaluate and reduce research problems.

“In the face of potential ways to create infectious pathogens, the scientific community needs to take action to reduce misuse,” Smith and Sandbrink said. “Risk reduction practices need to be integrated into practices developed to ensure open, high -quality, and reproducible scientific research. Community benefits.”

The authors consider some of these activities, and the research hopes to inspire innovation in this important but neglected area. They point out that science cannot be opened or closed: there are central states that need to be explored, and there may be difficult trade -offs for critical scientific assets. “In contrast to the strong history of open science that has emerged in recent years, increasing the social benefit of scientific activity is sometimes a form of prevention, rather than intensifying publicity, “they concluded.

A call to protect the community by sharing knowledge

More information:
Biosecurity in an age of open science, PLoS Biology (2022). DOI: 10.1371 / journal.pbio.3001600

Contributed by the Public Library of Science

Directions: Open sharing of biotechnology research-safety awareness (2022, April 14) Retrieved 14 April 2022 from

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