Codes of conduct and biological weapons: an in-process assessment
University of Exeter
Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Codes of conduct have received a significant amount of attention in recent years as a policy option to address concerns about the relation between life science research and the deliberate spread of disease through biological weapons. While the term code of conduct has functioned as a generic umbrella phrase for an array of different types of codes, in general, such codes seek to set expectations regarding thinking and behavior for those associated with the life sciences. The purpose of this article is fourfold: (1) to survey recent developments, specifically with respect to “universal” and “scientific society” types of codes; (2) to propose criteria for assessing these initiatives; (3) to evaluate activities undertaken to date on the basis of these criteria; and (4) to propose key questions for the future. Overall, a mixed assessment is offered of the achievements of code-related activities to date. As argued, because of this overall situation, in the future careful attention should be given to what is sought out of this option and how it can be realized in practice.
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Published version reproduced by permission of the publisher.