Biological Weapons
& Codes of Conduct
Codes Book


Since 11 September 2001 and the US anthrax attacks, public and policy concerns about the security threats posed by biological weapons haveincreased significantly. As part of this, questions are being asked in many countries about what novel security threats might stem from biological research, how openly results should be communicated, and whether some lines of investigation are too ‘contentious’ to pursue.

With this have come calls from diverse scientific, policy and public quarters to undertake new responsive measures. As part of a strategy of response, many organizations and governments have suggested bioscientists adopt a 'code of conduct' to reduce the security concerns associated with their work as one way of establishing and policing responsibilities and thereby reducing threats associated with malign misuse of science, particularly areas associated with modern biotechnology. In 2005 under the Biological and Toxin Weapon Convention (BTWC), for instance, expert and State Parties Meeting were held to ‘promote common understanding and effective action’ on the ‘content, promulgation, and adoption of codes of conduct for scientists’.

Up till 2010, this web site aimed to provide resources for those considering the place, purpose and prospects of codes. It was established as part of a research project undertaken by Brian Rappert (University of Exeter) and Malcolm Dando (University of Bradford) funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council New Security Challenges Programme titled ‘Coding Research: Biological Weapons, Security & the Silencing of Science’.

Web contact: Brian Rappert; Department of Sociology; University of Exeter; Exeter EX4 4RJ; United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)1392 263353

Chronology (2001-2010)

Seminars: ‘The Life Sciences, Biosecurity, & Dual Use Research’



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