Protect global collaboration

13 December 2019 Vol 366, Issue 6471


Protect global collaboration
By Alan I. Leshner
Science13 Dec 2019 : 1291
Organized intellectual espionage is a concept that may not seem relevant to most American scientists because such instances are extremely rare, like most cases of scientific misconduct. But this type of theft from research institutions in the United States, although infrequent and isolated, is very real and very serious. It compromises the scientific values that uphold the openness of academic institutions in the United States as well as the nation’s security. Over the past decade, U.S. academic, security, and intelligence communities have identified an increasing number of instances of such misconduct by foreign nations, primarily China but also Russia and Iran. As policies to aggressively deter these occurrences are under vigorous discussion, the scientific community needs to step up and participate in designing the legal path forward, no matter how unpalatable that might seem. Otherwise, scientists will simply be left accepting the cards dealt to them regarding openness and collaboration, which could be even more distasteful.