BMC Medical Ethics 19 (1):53 (2018)

Dual Use Research of Concern constitutes a major challenge for research practice and oversight on the local, national and international level. The situation in Germany is shaped by two partly competing suggestions of how to regulate security-related research: The German Ethics Council, as an independent political advisory body, recommended a series of measures, including national legislation on DURC. Competing with that, the German National Academy of Sciences and the German Research Foundation, as two major professional bodies, presented a strategy which draws on the self-control of science and, inter alia, suggests expanding the scope of research ethics committees to an evaluation of DURC. This situation is taken as an occasion to further discuss the scope and limits of professional self-control with respect to security-related research. The role of RECs as professional bodies of science is particularly analyzed, referring to the theoretical backgrounds of professionalism. Two key sociological features of professionalism – ethical orientation and professional self-control – are discussed with respect to the practice of biomedical science. Both attributes are then analyzed with respect to the assessment of DURC by RECs. In conclusion, it is stated that issues of biosecurity transcend the boundaries of the scientific community and that a more comprehensive strategy should be implemented encompassing both professional self-control and legal oversight.
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DOI 10.1186/s12910-018-0295-0
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Risk, Uncertainty and Profit.Frank Knight - 1921 - University of Chicago Press.

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