Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 447–457 | Cite as

The concept of governance in dual-use research

  • Alex DubovEmail author
Scientific Contribution


The rapid advance of life science within the context of increased international concern over the potential misuse of findings has resulted in the lack of agreement on the issues of responsibility, control and collaboration. This progress of knowledge outpaces the efforts of creating moral and legal guidelines for the detection and minimization of the risks in the research process. There is a need to identify and address normative aspects of dual-use research. This paper focuses on the issues of safety and global collaboration in life science research by highlighting the importance of openness, enabling policies and cooperative governance. These safeguards are believed to reduce the risks related to the misuse of science while enabling the important research to move forward. The paper addresses the need for a better definition of dual use concept and, based on the historical precedents, explores the moral concerns and governmental strategies of dual-use research. The three necessary moves in addressing the issue of security in life sciences are suggested: the move from constraining to enabling types of policies, the move from secrecy to openness, and the move from segregation to integration of the public voice.


Academic freedom Bioterrorism Dual-use research of concern Research oversight Research safety Risk–benefit assessment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Healthcare EthicsDuquesne UniversityPittsburghUSA

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