Thanks to Greg Folkers for tweeting the link to this mBio editorial: Redaction of Sensitive Data in the Publication of Dual Use Research of Concern. The abstract:
The publication of scientific information that derives from dual use research of concern (DURC) poses major problems for journals because it brings into conflict the benefits of free access to data and the need to prevent misuse of that information by others.
Recently, a group of authors and a major scientific journal addressed the issue of publishing information on a newly discovered, highly lethal toxin that can be delivered to large populations and for which there are no available countermeasures. The journal addressed this conflict by permitting the redaction of information that is normally considered essential for publication.
This action establishes a precedent for redaction of sensitive data that also provides an example of responsible scientific publishing. However, this precedent leaves many questions unanswered and suggests a need for a discussion by all stakeholders of scientific information so as to derive normative standards for the publication of DURC.