Statement on combating systemic racism and other forms of discrimination

Daya Reddy and Heide Hackmann

09 June 2020

With the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on 25 May 2020, communities around the world have again been reminded of the persistent – and too often invisible – scourge of systemic racism in our societies. A much-needed global dialogue has been ignited by this event. It must be convened in all societies and in all sectors of society, including science.

The International Science Council (ISC) seeks to uphold principles of inclusivity and diversity, to defend the free and responsible practice of science, to promote equitable opportunities and to oppose all forms of discrimination. The Council acknowledges the pain of injustice to colleagues subjected to racism and all other forms of prejudicial treatment within the institutions of science. We recognize that silence and inaction sustain discriminatory practices, and acknowledge our responsibility to re-commit to action that supports equality and justice by advocating necessary changes in science systems throughout the world.

We call on our members and international partners to join us in undertaking urgent action: to gather existing knowledge on discrimination in science; to convene a global dialogue within and beyond the institutions of science; and to agree on additional concrete steps aimed at correcting systemic discrimination in science.

Solutions to global problems require global scientific collaboration. We must work together to ensure that such collaboration is supported by a system that is inclusive and just.

The Principle of Freedom and Responsibility in Science is enshrined in the Statutes of the International Science Council. It states that the free and responsible practice of science is fundamental to scientific advancement and human and environmental well-being. Such practice, in all its aspects, requires freedom of movement, association, expression and communication for scientists, as well as equitable access to data, information, and other resources for research. It requires responsibility at all levels to carry out and communicate scientific work with integrity, respect, fairness, trustworthiness, and transparency, recognizing its benefits and possible harms.

In advocating the free and responsible practice of science, the Council promotes equitable opportunities for access to science and its benefits, and opposes discrimination based on such factors as ethnic origin, religion, citizenship, language, political or other opinion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or age.

Daya Reddy

President, International Science Council

Heide Hackmann

CEO, International Science Council