3.1 Vision: Science as a global public good
Knowledge derived from scientific research is a staple of human understanding and creativity. It is fundamental to the evidence that should inform societal decision-making and public policy. The importance of deliberative scientific understanding to society
has never been greater, as humanity grapples with the problems of living sustainably and equitably on planet Earth. It is vital therefore that we safeguard science as a global public good. Its knowledge, data and expertise must be universally accessible and its benefits universally shared. A mutually supportive global community of science carries responsibility for this by ensuring inclusivity and equity, also in opportunities for scientific education and capacity development.
3.2 Mission: The global voice for science
To realize this vision, the Council seeks to provide a powerful and credible global voice that is respected both in the international public domain and within the scientific community. It will use that voice at the international level to:
- Speak for the value of all science and the need for evidence-informed understanding and decision-making;
- Stimulate and support international scientific research and scholarship on major issues of global concern;
- Articulate scientific knowledge on such issues in the public domain;
- Promote the continued and equal advancement of scientific rigour, creativity and relevance in all parts of the world; and
- Defend the free and responsible practice of science.
Securing a global voice
The International Science Council’s founding members are the former members of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC), including 40 international scientific unions and associations, and over 140 organizations such as academies and research councils representing science in a country, region or territory.
The Council’s founding members represent approximately 70 per cent of the world’s nations. Many of the countries not currently represented by ISSC or ICSU can be categorized as “least developed”. To be a truly global voice for science, the International Science Council must build on its unique membership base and establish a strong and effective presence in all parts of the world, including in regions of the Global South.This is a challenge for an organization committed to fostering inclusivity and diversity. It will be addressed in two ways:
- Firstly, the Council will actively seek to expand its membership to include those countries not yet represented and, in the case of LDCs, address the issue of establishing affordable membership fees.
- Secondly, the Council will develop a strategy for securing effective regional collaboration and participation in the organization’s work. Such a strategy should be developed in close consultation with its existing regional offices and members.
Whilst the Council’s membership will focus primarily on the natural (including physical, mathematical and life) sciences and social (including behavioural and economic) sciences, the organization will be sensitive to the priorities and include the perspectives of other fields of science in its work. This will be realized, in part, through the comprehensive scientific representation of many of the Council’s national members.
But it will also depend on building effective and complementary partnerships with other international organizations and, particularly, with international domain-specific bodies such as those included in section 5.3. In addition, the Council will remain open to membership applications from unions and associations of key scientific disciplines not currently represented in its structures.
3.3 Core values
In fulfilling this challenging and ambitious role, the values that the Council will uphold in its work, its governance and its partnerships include:
Excellence and professionalism: The Council will deliver work of the highest quality and professional standards. It will be precise in articulating scientific understanding, including its uncertainties, and rigorous in ensuring that what is communicated reflects the best contemporary scientific findings.
Inclusivity and diversity: The Council will promote access to science and its benefits for all, rejecting discrimination in all its forms. It will include perspectives and approaches from all parts of the world, and improve the participation of women and early career scientists in international science.
Transparency and integrity: The default position for the Council’s governance and decision-making processes will be openness and transparency, except where confidentiality is strictly required. The actions of all those acting on its behalf must demonstrate the highest standards of personal integrity.
Innovation and sustainability: The Council will identify, attract and learn from new talent and new ideas. It will stimulate new approaches, put forward new solutions and embed the principles of sustainability in its own policies and practices.