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Anti-terrorism science agenda examined

Experts cite funding benefits but worry that open access to research could be compromised.

Peg Brickley(pegbrickley@hotmail.com)

Terrorism threatens America's computer systems and public health, but the race to put defenses in place threatens to overrun traditions of open scientific research, leading science policy thinkers warn in a new report from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

"It all depends on how this homeland security thing plays out," Lewis M Branscomb — former director of the science, technology and public policy program at Harvard University's John F Kennedy School of Government, and one of the contributors to Science and Technology in a Vulnerable World — told The Scientist.

"We could for the first time have a combination of two effects, one being a significant research agenda funded for reasons of national security, which in history has meant generous funding," Branscomb said. "On the other side, the research activities would be almost entirely within the civilian sector, very different from the Cold War...

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