Conference report on the Ukraine Crisis
On 15 June 2022 the ISC and partners – All European Academies (ALLEA), Kristiania University College, and Science for Ukraine – co-hosted the ‘Conference on the Ukraine Crisis: Responses from the European Higher Education and Research Sectors’. The report of the conference, which was published on 31 August 2022, includes important lessons and recommendations on how to support the science sector in Ukraine and in other countries affected by conflict and disaster.
The conference brought together over 150 stakeholders from across Europe, with over half of them from Ukraine, including the Minister of Education and Science for Ukraine, the Honourable Serhiy Shkarlet. Participants reflected on the assistance provided to date for academics, scientists, researchers and students who are at-risk, displaced or refugees as a result of the war in Ukraine, and put forward recommendations for mid- to long-term support, including the rebuilding of the higher education and research sectors after conflict.
Science as a Global Public Good
The International Science Council (ISC) is committed to a vision of science as a global public good. This vision has profound implications for the ways in which science is conducted and used, and the roles that it plays in society.
This ISC position paper considers those implications, exploring the ways they influence the responsibilities of scientists, both individually and collectively, how they apply in the different settings in which science is practiced, how science respond to societal needs, as well as how the social contract between science and society is evolving.
2021 Annual Report
2021 was a pivotal year for the International Science Council, with the launch of major new activities, a well-attended General Assembly, and the election of the Council’s second Governing Board. This report highlights some of the ISC’s key successes in working to uphold its values throughout 2021. A look across the ISC’s portfolio of projects and outputs from the year provides an insight into the complex, changing landscape for science and its relationship to society, and demonstrates how the ISC is responding to the acute need for science that is engaged with societal concerns.
Unprecedented & Unfinished: COVID-19 and Implications for National and Global Policy
This report outlines plausible scenarios for the COVID-19 pandemic to consider the options for achieving the most desirable end to the crisis, highlighting that decisions made over the coming months and years need to be informed not only by short-term priorities but also by long-term challenges, and will serve as an analytical tool for policy-makers to lead to a more optimistic outcome to the pandemic.
A result of the Council’s COVID-19 Outcome Scenarios Project, the report seeks to support the shift in thinking that is required to achieve a more comprehensive ‘worldview’ of pandemics and similar emergencies. It presents tools to map policy domains and scenarios and to observe interactions over approximately a five-year timeline. The lessons outline actions to be taken around an emergency such as a pandemic, both before and after, as well as beyond the sectors of health.
A contemporary perspective on the free and responsible practice of science in the 21st century
The right to share in and to benefit from advances in science and technology is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as is the right to engage in scientific enquiry, to pursue and communicate knowledge, and to associate freely in such activities. These rights go hand-in-hand with responsibilities in the practice, management and communication of scientific research.
The developments of the 21st century offer new opportunities to advance science, but also pose complex challenges to scientific research. This paper reviews scientific freedom and responsibility today, and makes recommendations to guide the free and responsible practice of science in contemporary society. It proposes actions for scientists, research institutes and universities, science organizations, the private sector and governments to help strengthen free and responsible science as a force for good.
ISC strategy in the intergovernmental system
The challenges on the multilateral agenda are complex, urgent, have a degree of uncertainty and are inextricably linked. In this context, the ambition of the ISC to become the go-to organization for scientific expertise and advice at the global level raises key questions for the organization.
This paper proposes a strategy for the ISC to engage with the intergovernmental system that enhances the impact of the Council to strengthen the voice of science in global policy processes. Among the proposed next steps for the ISC, the paper suggests the Council to conduct a thorough assessment of the interests of the intergovernmental system to work with the ISC and the needs to be addressed. It also suggests that the ISC should discuss the above recommendations with current and potential new partners within the intergovernmental system.
Opening the record of science: making scholarly publishing work for science in the digital era
Efficient access to the record of science – for authors and for readers – is essential for science and society. This ISC report examines the current landscape of scholarly publishing, explores future trends and proposes seven principles for scientific and scholarly publishing.
Concerns about the extent to which contemporary scientific and scholarly publishing systems serve the needs of researchers and the public have been raised repeatedly in recent years. This report – which is aimed at the scientific community and its institutions – seeks to establish a shared view of the principles and priorities of the scholarly publishing system. It proposes a series of normative principles that should underlie the operation of scientific and scholarly publishing; describes the current publishing landscape and its trajectory of evolution; analyses the extent to which the principles are observed in practice; and identifies problematic issues that need to be addressed in realizing those principles.
Conversations on Rethinking Human Development
It has been 30 years since the first Human Development Report was published in 1990. Since that time, our world has changed considerably. Current and impending crises in ecological, health, political, and economic systems have become evident. Fundamental shifts are taking place in how we understand ourselves and our connections to local and global societies and our planet in the light of new technologies, socio-political realities and deep environmental changes.
It’s time to rearticulate Human Development for the 21st century. The International Science Council partnered with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to initiate a global discussion on rethinking Human Development, gathering voices from across the world to answer some of the following questions: How could we rethink our conceptual understanding of human development? What are the major emerging challenges to human centred development in the world today? How can the human development approach inform public debates and decision makers about current and future challenges? What would be a meaningful and useful definition of human development for our changing world?