A considerable amount of scientific research is conducted in institutes or under contracts which preclude dissemination of the results to other than a select group. Scarce resources are allocated to research which may be duplicated in another establishment or in another country. Secrecy may be maintained either to gain a military advantage (in the case of defence research) or to gain commercial advantage (in the case of industrial research).
While secrecy in science may be necessary to protect the human race from damage or extinction, secrecy in science in order to increase private profits is morally indefensible. Universities and corporations will move away from research in areas that governments have classified secret, thus inhibiting the growth of knowledge.
The gap between science and technology, between understanding nature and using that knowledge to shape the natural world through new technologies and products has narrowed. In the early days of science, discoveries often found practical application only after the passage of decades or centuries. This length of time not only encouraged but required the free flow of ideas. Today the delay can be years or even months, encouraging industry and inventors to tap science as soon as possible. New technologies maintain their commercial and military competitiveness for increasingly shorter periods. These facts of today's science require secrecy in scientific development.