European organisations uphold scientific values

17 March 2017

More than 50 science organisations in Europe have written an open letter expressing concern about the impact of recent US policies on science, research and innovation. The 10 February letter, which was organised by EuroScience (founder of the EuroScience Open Forum, ESOF), asks that the principles and values that underpin scientific progress are upheld. It is addressed to the presidents of the European Council and European Commission, and prime ministers and science ministers in individual European countries.

The European Physical Society (EPS) is among the many signatories of the letter, as are the Marie Curie Alumni Association, the Royal Society and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Explaining the decision to sign, outgoing EPS president Christophe Rossel says: “Science was and will never be restrained by physical, cultural and political barriers. In our globalised world, where international scientific collaboration has become the rule, there is no place for discrimination and censorship. Any measure that restricts the freedom of movement and communication of our US colleagues will have a profound impact on science and innovation in Europe and other continents.”

Three chief concerns are outlined in the letter: the recent Executive Order discriminating against persons on the basis of their nationality; indications that US government scientists might be affected by new policies that limit their communication with the press; and the unwarranted credibility given to views that are not based on facts and sound evidence in areas such as climate science. It states that all of these are at odds with the principles of transparency, open communication and the mobility of scholars and scientists, “which are vital to scientific progress and to the benefit of our societies, economies and cultures deriving from it”.

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