Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Forbidden Knowledge

Science magazine Policy Forum Article-- Kempner et al. 307 (5711): 854 (Subscription required.)

Interviews with 51 scientists showed that "nearly half the researchers felt constrained by explicit, formal controls, such as governmental regulations and guidelines codified by universities, professional societies, or journals." the scientists "generally agreed that formal controls offered important protections". Of course, they did not accept all such restrictions as appropriate or efficient means of achieving the desired protection. "Respondents felt most affected by what we characterize as 'informal constraints.' Researchers sometimes only know that they have encountered forbidden knowledge when their research breaches an unspoken rule and is identified as problematic by legislators, news agencies, activists, editors, or peers."

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