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Biosecurity Commons is designed to be the most current and comprehensive database for biosecurity stakeholders. The database develops a web of critical information on key biosecurity issues while providing a forum for the latest developments in the field.


Biosecurity Commons is an open database and information exchange designed to fill a critical resource gap faced by stakeholders in biosecurity. No single database provides comprehensive access to biosecurity information due to the interdisciplinary and intersectoral nature of biosecurity. Thus, stakeholders need access to an unusually broad and deep cache of information. Biosecurity commons is designed to assist stakeholders by providing open access to a broad array of citations to data, law, basic science, reports, research, and news reports relevant to biosecurity. Members of Biosecurity Commons share a database of notecards on key cites relied upon for preparation of the Biosecurity Commons Review.

Index Preview

A: Academia, Adjuvant, Afganistan, Africa, Agriculture, Algeria, al-Qaeda, Al-Qaida, Anthrax, Asia, Attribution, Australia, Azerbaijan

B: Belarus, Biodefense, Biodetection, Biodevelopment, Biosafety, Biosecurity, Biosurveillance, Biotechnology, Bioterrorism, Biowatch, Botulinum, Brucellosis, BSL, BWC

C: Canada, CDC, Chemical, Chemical Surveillance, China, Cholera, Classified, Codes of Conduct, Compliance, Contact Tracing, Container Security, CSI, CWC, Cybersecurity

D: Decontamination, Dengue, Department of Energy, Detention, Developing Countries, Drug Resistance, Dual Use, Due Process Vetting

E: Ebola, E. coli, Emergency Response, Ethics, Europe, Executive Order, Export Control, Extradition, Executive

F: Florida, Flu, Food Supply, Force Protection, France

G: Georgia, Germany

H: Hacker, Hemorrhagic fever, Homeland Security

I: India, Industry, Information Policy, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy

J: Japan, Jurisdiction

K: Kyrgyzstan

L: Lab Safety, Lab Security, Law, Law Enforcement, Libya

M: Malaria, Malaysia, Marburg, Material Support, MERS, Mexico, Military, Misconduct, Model Act, Moldova, Mongolia, Monkeypox, Mousepox

N: NASA, N. meningitidis, Non-Aligned Movement, Nonproliferation, North Korea, Northern Ireland, NPT, NSABB, Nuclear, NDM-1

O:Open Science, Organizations/Groups, Oversight

P: Pakistan, Pandemic, Patriot Act, Personnel Reliability, Pharma, Physics, Plague, Poland, Polio, Posse Comitatus Act, Project Bioshield, Prophylaxis, PSI, Public Health, Pugwash

Q: Quarantine

R: Radiological Surveillance, Ricin, Risk, Russia

S: Sabotage, Salmonella, SARS, Saudi Arabia, Scanning, Scientific Restrictions, Scientific Self-Governance, Scientist, Scotland, Select Agent, SEVIS, Smallpox, South Africa, South Korea, State Department, Surveillance, Sweden, Syndromic Surveillance, Synthetic Biology, Syria

T: Taiwan, Terrorist Offender, Tuberculosis, Tularemia

U: U.K., Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, UN, UNSCR 1540, UNSCR 1874, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, U.S. Foreign Policy

V: Vaccination, Venezuela



Y: Yemen, Yugoslavia

Z: Zoonotic

Numeric: 1918 Flu

Biosecurity Commons Review, 2011[1][2]

Executive Summary

The second annual edition of the Review identified key issues in biosecurity and reflected upon policies related to important developments for the year ending May 2011. The Review added an exciting new feature for the second annual edition with the invitation of two expert authors to address current issues in their area of expertise.

Invited author Derrin Culp from the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, examines U.S. policy and the use of nuclear deterrence with regard to the threat of bio-weapons. The analysis of U.S. policy raises many interesting questions including the nexus between deterrence and non-state actors. Invited author Patrick McNutt from the US Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, APG, MD, along with staff BsC researcher, Jonathan Farzanfar help bring context to the dangers presented by the malicious use of botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) and add insights to the severity of the threat.

In this connection, the Review employed a new editorial concept for the first time in the BoNT report called a, “Negative-Information Security Cite,” (NISC). A NISC is used within the report as a protocol that offers a good faith declaration by the author that open source information is available but unidentified in the article due to security concerns. Authors and editors have a duty to substantiate facts upon which debate and analysis rely, but they also have a duty to mitigate the detrimental effects of their scholarship. The growing body of national security literature demands a reliable good faith mechanism to uniformly address this security concern. Thus a NISC citation within the Biosecurity Commons Review indicates that the information referred to exists, but it is withheld and on file with the author or editor as indicated. Authors addressing security issues routinely face the dilemma of advancing knowledge within the field against contributing to the risk they are trying to mitigate. The NISC helps codify this norm and enables further development of this concept.

BsC staff contributed additional chapters on Anthrax and the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). Many important developments unfolded for both topics over the past year. In addition to advancements in the scientific literature, new developments in the Amerithrax investigation may have provided sufficient evidence to bring closure to years of controversy over attribution of the 2001 anthrax attacks. Finally, examination of the policy and progress of the PSI provided an opportunity to clarify some confusion in the literature, reflect upon the strategies behind the initiative, and relate these strategies to the recent PSI success with the M/V Light.

Brian J. Gorman,


Biosecurity Commons Link to Report [3][4]

Biosecurity Commons Review, 2010[5][6]

Executive Summary The Review identified a number of key issues and provided several policy recommendations related to biosecurity developments for the year ending May 2010. Key findings noted the problems of continued reliance on foreign vaccine supply for pandemic and other large scale public health emergencies. A feasibility study was recommended to look into the domestic production of vaccine for pandemic. In addition, revisions of private international laws concerning contracts for vaccinations during pandemic were recommended in case the U.S. continues to rely on foreign production of vaccine for public health emergencies.

Analysis of the events surrounding the 2009 flu scare revealed that domestic health actions are uniquely tied to foreign relations during pandemic. Domestic public health policies would have likely caused serious harm to international relations had the pandemic stayed on its forecasted path. Therefore, public health recommendations should be made with foreign policy implications in mind. Moreover, it was noted that the International Health Regulations of 2005 should be revisited after the 2009 H1N1 scare in like manner to the review following the SARS outbreak. This would provide an opportunity to increase harmonization of pandemic response efforts for all nations via dual benefit strategies.

A review of the major reports on lab security released in 2009 is also provided. The main findings include the observations that centralized federal oversight is needed to standardize Personnel Reliability Programs for high containment labs. A committee membership analysis was also conducted and recommendations were made to improve flaws in the committee process by allowing for dissenting opinions in expert committee reports.

Brian J. Gorman,


Biosecurity Commons Link to Report[7][8]

Masthead 2014

Brian J. Gorman[9]: Associate Professor, Towson University, Maryland, Specialties: Open Science, Information Policy

Affiliate Faculty:

Christopher J. Morse, Associate Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, Specialties: Law

Christopher Salvatore, Assistant Professor, Montclair State University, New Jersey, Specialties: Anthrax

Assistant Researchers

Jonathan Burr, Towson University, Specialties: Chemical, Export Control

Lucas Ichnoski, Towson University, Specialties: Drug Resistance

Lynn Juan, Towson University, Specialties: Classified, Information Policy

Jacob Poetzel, Towson University, Specialties: Force Protection, Military

Associate Researchers:

Emily Caton, B.S.; Johns Hopkins University, M.S., Specialties: 1918 Flu

Steven DeSena, B.S.; Hofsta Law School, J.D. expected 2015, Specilaties: Export Control, Law, Anthrax

Jesse Lachman, B.S.; Maryland Law School, J.D. expected 2018, Specialties: Export Control, Law

Melissa Reilly, B.S.: Rutgers law, J.D. expected 2018, Specialties Export Control, Law

Biosecurity Commons Research Agenda

  • The Chemical Threat,
  • Drug Resistance,
  • Biosurveillance, (Update)
  • Disaster Preparedness & Response/Public Health,
  • Cybersecurity.

Public Reactions to and Perceptions of the Anthrax attacks of 2001

  • Gender-based perceptions of the 2001 anthrax attacks: Implications for outreach and preparedness, Security Journal , (24 September 2012) Salvatore & Gorman[10]

UNSCR 1540 Compliance Dilemma

  • 3.) Dual Use Science and UN Security Council resolution 1540: Unmasking leaders, flagging concerns and revising strategies for compliance, Gorman.

The Challenge of “Dangerous Science” (Dual Use)

  • 4.) Test of “Due Process Vetting,” via inter-rater reliability --an approach for dangerous science, Gorman, Wynne, Farzanfar, & Caton.

Relevant articles:

  • Gorman, Brian, J., "Balancing National Security and Open Science: A Proposal for Due Process Vetting", Yale Journal of Law & Technology, Vol. VII, Spring 2005.
  • Taubenberger, Jeffery K., et. al., "Characterization of the 1918 influenza virus polymerase genes," Nature, vol. 437. October 6, 2005, pg. 889-893.
  • Sharp, Phillip, "1918 Flu and Responsible Science", Science, Volume 310. 7 October 2005, page 17
  • (Fouchier's H5N1 Experiments) Editors, Science Insider, “Scientists Brace for Media Storm Around Controversial Flu Studies,” November 23, 2011.

BsC Notes

  • Thanks to our gracious hosts at National Defense University for the Town Hall event with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on global security matters.[11]
  • BsC staffers successfully competed for internships at various agencies including: A.T.F., F.B.I., N.C.I.S., & Secret Service.
  • BsC staffers advanced to graduate study at institutions including: Rutgers Law School, Hofstra Law School, London School of Econmoics, Johns Hopkins University, Towson University, Widener Law School, University of Maryland Law School.
  • BsC staffers successfully embarked on careers in the private sector and the intelligence community.
  • Congratulations to Associate Researcher Ben Chapple for earning the Herman V. Belk Memorial Award from the Delaware Journal of Corporate Law for excellence in scholarly writing.
  • A BsC paper was considered a top entry and reached the finals of the Doreen & Jim McElvany 2010 Nonproliferation Challenge Essay Contest sponsored by the Nonproliferation Review.
  • The Biosecurity Commons information project was presented as a case study in new approaches to national security studies at the: 6th Annual ODNI Intelligence Community Centers of Academic Excellence Summer Seminar, in August 2010. Overview Presentation Link: [12] Breakout Session Link: [13]
  • Related external publications from the Director of BsC:
    • The John Marshall Review of Intellectual Property Law.[14][15][16]
    • I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society[17]
    • Yale Journal of Law and Technology [18]

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