May 24, 2022

Updated CRS Report: “Publishing Scientific Papers with Potential Security Risks: Issues for Congress”

An updated version of the the following full text report from the Congressional Research Service was released earlier this week. It might be of interest to some of you.

Thanks to Steven Aftergood at the Federation of American Scientists for making it available.


Publishing Scientific Papers with Potential Security Risks: Issues for Congress
Mach 18, 2013
RS 42606


Frank Gottron
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy, Congressional Research Service

Dana A. Shea, Congressional Research Service
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy


CRS (via Federation of American Scientists)

From the Summary

The federal government generally supports the publication of federally funded research results because wide dissemination may drive innovation, job creation, technology development, and the advance of science. However, some research results could also be used for malicious purposes. Congress, the Administration, and other stakeholders are considering whether current policies concerning publishing such research results sufficiently balances the potential benefits with the potential harms. The current issues under debate cut across traditional policy areas, involving simultaneous consideration of security, science, health, export, and international policy. Because of the complexity of these issues, analysis according to one set of policy priorities may adversely affect other policy priorities. For example, maximizing security may lead to detriments in public health and scientific advancement, while maximizing scientific advancement may lead to security risks. Accounting for such trade-offs may allow policymakers to establish regulatory frameworks that more effectively maximize the benefits from such “dual-use,” i.e., potentially beneficial and also potentially harmful, research while mitigating its potential risks.


This report describes the underlying controversy, the potential benefits and harms of publishing these manuscripts, the actions taken by domestic and international stakeholders, and options that may improve the way research is handled to minimize security concerns. 

Direct to Full Text Report (27 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.