Statement on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility

Scientific freedom and scientific responsibility are essential to the advancement of human knowledge for the benefit of all. Scientific freedom is the freedom to engage in scientific inquiry, pursue and apply knowledge, and communicate openly. This freedom is inextricably linked to and must be exercised in accordance with scientific responsibility. Scientific responsibility is the duty to conduct and apply science with integrity, in the interest of humanity, in a spirit of stewardship for the environment, and with respect for human rights.

Note: The AAAS recognizes that everyday science takes place in situations that pose challenges to scientific freedom and scientific responsibility. Scientists often face competitive pressures, conflicting interests, complex problems, and ambiguity in their work. Furthermore, the exercise of scientific freedom and scientific responsibility is subject to political, economic, and institutional pressures, and is affected by cultural variation. This website presents a range of different and sometimes opposing perspectives, as well as resource materials, to promote discussion in the context of everyday work. It is not intended to be comprehensive or exhaustive, but rather timely, informative and useful as a guide for policy and behavior and as a resource for inquiry and instruction in the area of scientific freedom and responsibility.

Adopted by the AAAS Board of Directors on October 12, 2017.