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The Principle of Freedom and Responsibility in Science is at the heart of the International Science Council (ISC), and is enshrined in Statute 7 of the ISC Statutes and Rules of Procedure. However, the rapidly changing contexts within which scientific research is undertaken and applied in the 21st century have prompted the ISC to re-examine the meaning of this Principle, and the role of different stakeholders in upholding its basic tenets. To this end, a new project “Freedom and Responsibility in Science in the 21st Century” was launched in July 2020.
This project began with a Framing Document by ISC President and Chair of the Committee for Freedom and Responsibility in Science (CFRS), Daya Reddy. A writing group of experts from around the world was then convened by CFRS to draft a Discussion Paper outlining a contemporary perspective on the free and responsible practice of science, and the main issues at stake.
This Paper considers new challenges arising from social and technological developments of the last two decades, as well as changes to the ways in which science is used and disseminated. It suggests several key freedoms and responsibilities that must be upheld, to be consistent with the vision of science as a global public good. Finally, the Paper offers guidance to readers in a range of institutional and policy settings on the actions needed to uphold and protect these freedoms and responsibilities.
CFRS now invites all staff, office bearers and representatives of ISC Members to read the draft paper and to submit their structured feedback by 31 October 2021. Input from Members is essential to ensure the global relevance of this publication, and all comments received from Members will be considered by the expert writing group.
Read here a letter from Daya Reddy, ISC President and Chair of the Committee for Freedom and Responsibility in Science, inviting all Members to comment on a key ISC document, the CFRS draft Discussion Paper which explores the meaning of freedom and responsibility in science in the 21st century.
The Paper is intended for a broad readership, including researchers, research managers, policymakers, science diplomats, and those in the private sector. As such, we invite you to identify a range of readers affiliated with your organization who can review the content of the draft Paper from these diverse perspectives.
An opportunity to learn more about the development and the rationale of the Paper, to ask questions and to hear about the next stage of the project will be offered during the upcoming 2nd ISC General Assembly (11 – 15 October) during a dedicated session on 15 October (view the GA agenda).
Once feedback from ISC Members has been received and considered, the expert writing group will prepare a final version of the Paper to be published publicly. Going forward, the second phase of this project will be the development of new resources which aim to facilitate the implementation of key recommendations emerging from the Discussion Paper. The aim is to advise key stakeholders of the conditions that are necessary in a science system that protects and encourages free and responsible practice of science, together with guidelines on how to achieve this.
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