Following up on yesterday's exchange about Cold Spring Harbor changing its meeting policy to make all attendees sign off on privacy guidelines, bloggers are discussing the philosophy behind it: should scientists be able to present data in a talk and expect it to remain private?
DrugMonkey jumps into the fray by noting that the common concern -- being scooped for publication -- isn't assuaged by preventing attendees from broadcasting what they heard at a session. After all, it's likely that "all of the potential scoopers are either in the audience or their friends are," DrugMonkey writes. "The whole idea of publication priority/uniquity is corrosive to science anyway ... a considerable amount of the secrecy sentiment comes from that particular problem in science. So why should we coddle that with academic meeting rules?"
Meanwhile, Anthony Fejes has a post encouraging openness as well. "Unless the conference organizers have explicitly asked each participant to sign a non-disclosure agreement, the conference contents are considered to be a form of public disclosure," he writes. "To strangle the communication between conference attendees and their colleagues ... is to throttle the scientific community itself."