Some committees are made up of experts, persons interested in both the (subject) matter at hand and in coming across as able decision-makers. Such committees would like to conceal disagreement from the public. We present a theory that describes the reaction of experts to the requirement to publish verbatim transcripts of their meetings: the emergence of an informal ‘premeeting’; the move of the real debate from the formal meeting to the premeeting; and the drop in disagreement in the formal meeting. We analyse what the effect is on accountability and quality of decision-making. Finally, we present evidence suggesting that our model describes the way members of the Federal Open Market Committee in the United States responded to the publication of verbatim transcripts of their meetings.