On Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Post announced that the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) has officially asked two scientific journals to censor portions of manuscripts that are pending for publication:
The federal government on Tuesday asked two science journals to censor parts of two papers describing how researchers produced what appears to be a far more dangerous version of the “bird flu” virus that has circulated in Asia for more than a decade.
After weeks of reviewing the manuscripts the board recommended their “general conclusions” be published but “not include the methodological and other details that could enable replication of the experiments by those who would seek to do harm.”
The board — 23 scientists and public-health experts from outside the government, and 18 from within — cannot stop publication. Its advice goes to the Department of Health and Human Services, whose leaders will ask the journals — Science, published in Washington, and Nature, published in London — to comply.
The folly of the board’s request is monumental. First of all, it’s already too late for the workers to “not include the methodological and other details that could enable replication of the experiments”. Read more