Research Article

Openness versus Secrecy in Scientific Research

David B. Resnik


Openness is one of the most important principles in scientific inquiry, but there are many good reasons for maintaining secrecy in research, ranging from the desire to protect priority, credit, and intellectual property, to the need to safeguard the privacy of research participants or minimize threats to national or international security. This article examines the clash between openness and secrecy in science in light of some recent developments in information technology, business, and politics, and makes some practical suggestions for resolving conflicts between openness and secrecy.

David B. Resnik, JD, PhD, Bioethicist, National Institute of Environmental Sciences, National Institutes of Health. Dr. Resnik's research focuses on ethical issues in science and medicine.