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16th CFRS Meeting (April 2014)

CFRS met on 10-11 April 2014 in Beijing, hosted by the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST), the country’s National ICSU Member.

The meeting was preceded by an international workshop co-sponsored on science assessment and research integrity.

Provided below is a summary of the main issues and decisions from the CFRS meeting.

Communication with ICSU Membership

  • Brochure “Freedom and Responsibility in Science”: finalised the revised brochure for presentation at this year’s ICSU General Assembly to further a dialogue with the Membership on CFRS’s work
  • CFRS progress report (2011-14) and work plan (2014-17): approved the two documents for submission to the ICSU General Assembly

Freedom of science

  • Academic freedom: adopted a document that frames academic freedom in the context of the Principle of Universality of Science and proposed it to the Executive Board for approval as a formal ICSU policy statement for endorsement by the 2014 General Assembly
  • Science exposed to public pressure: adopted an operating document to condemn physical violence against scientists, scientific institutions, experiments or experimental equipment
  • Gender issue in field research: pursued contact with the Research Committee “Women in Society” of the International Sociological Association (ISA), an ICSU Union Member, to further explore the issue of exposure of scientists, particularly women, to particular risks when doing fieldwork
  • Boycott calls against scientific communities: approved a guidance document for organisers of scientific meetings in the Middle East or North Africa, or concerning that region, that rejects boycott calls against specific scientific communities and propagates non-discrimination of scientists related to their country of residence or origin, or their political orientation
  • Visa problems at scientific meetings in the United Kingdom: noted a news piece to alert the ICSU Membership about visa issues in general and specifically with reference to the annual congresses of the ICSU Union Members of Physiological Sciences (IUPS) and of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) in the UK during 2013
  • Persecuted/imprisoned scientists: considered several cases of individual academics around the globe who are persecuted and/or imprisoned related to their carrying out scientific work, deciding to intensify efforts to contribute to the release of Omid Kokabee, a doctoral student in physics imprisoned in Iran since 2011

Multilateral engagement

  • UNESCO: Confirmed its commitment to contribute to a redrafting of the 1974 “Recommendation on the Status of Scientific Researchers” and propose the CFRS Chair to henceforth take ICSU’s ex officio membership in the UNESCO World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST).

Research integrity

  • Science assessment and research integrity: decided to continue working on the nexus between science assessment and research integrity as a follow-up of the international workshop preceding the CFRS meeting and ensure a strong presence for ICSU and CFRS with a session on the subject at the 4th World Conference on Research Integrity (WCRI) in 2015.
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