Science protects the health of our communities, the safety of our families, the education of our children, the foundation of our economy and jobs, and the future we all want to live in and preserve for coming generations.
We speak up now because all of these values are currently at risk. When science is threatened, so is the society that scientists uphold and protect.
Scientists work to build a better understanding of the world around us. Science is a process, not a product -- a tool of discovery that allows us to constantly expand and revise our knowledge of the universe. In doing so, science serves the interests of all humans, not just those in power. We recognize that inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility in science are critical to ensure that science reaches its potential to serve all communities. We must protect the rights of every person to engage with, learn from, and help shape science, free from manipulation by special interests.
Science observes and asks questions about the world. Our understanding is constantly changing, presenting us with new questions and answers. Science gives us the ability to examine these questions, enabling us to craft improved policies and regulations that serve our best interests. Political decision-making that impacts the lives of Americans and the world at large should make use of peer-reviewed evidence and scientific consensus, not personal whims and decrees.
We support science education that teaches children and adults to think critically, ask questions, and evaluate truth based on the weight of evidence. Science is not a field that should be understood only by a small few -- every person, from every background, deserves an education that encourages scientific learning alongside the arts and humanities. Science works best when scientists come from diverse perspectives, and we must work to encourage and support a new generation of scientists that reflects that.
Our scientific community is best served by including voices and contributions from people of all identities and backgrounds. A lack of diversity and inclusion in STEM thwarts scientific advancements by influencing not only who performs research, but the questions we seek to answer, who participates in studies, and, critically, what communities benefit from the innovations and services that science provides. We commit to promoting diversity and inclusion in science to build robust and resilient communities for the benefit of all people.
Restricting the free exchange of scientific research within local and global communities threatens to stall the scientific progress that benefits people all over the world. Gag rules on scientists in government and environmental organizations impede access to information that is a public right. Our tax dollars support this scientific research, and withholding their findings limits the public’s ability to learn from the important developments and discoveries that we have come to expect from our scientists. In addition, scientists often rely on the public to help identify new questions that need to be answered.
De-funding and hiring freezes in the sciences are against any country’s best interests. We believe that the federal budget should reflect the powerful and vital role that science plays in supporting our democracy. We advocate federal funding in support of research, scientific hiring, and agency application of science to management. This funding cannot be limited to a few fields or specific demographics -- scientific support must be inclusive of diverse disciplines and communities.
Science is first and foremost a human process -- it is conducted, applied, and supported by a diverse body of people. Scientific inquiry is not an abstract process that happens independent of culture and community. It is an enterprise carried out by people who seek to expand our knowledge of the world in the hope of building a better, more informed society. Our wealth of personal experiences and perspectives is our greatest strength. In putting the people who do science at the forefront of this discussion, we can show that scientists come from all cultural backgrounds, belief systems, orientations, genders, and abilities.
We join together as scientists and supporters of science to embody the importance of partnerships formed between scientists and the broader community. Science works best when scientists share our findings with and engage the communities we serve in shaping, sharing, and participating in the research process. We also look to the public for inspiration about what new questions need to be asked about the world around us. These lines of communication must reach all communities and must go in both directions. If scientists hope to discuss their work with the public, they must also listen to the public's thoughts and opinions on science and research. Progress can only be made by mutual respect.
We strive to break down barriers in our own community. A career in science should be an option for anyone and everyone who is passionate about discovery. Likewise, the process and results of scientific inquiry should be open to all. A lack of diversity in science hampers the research we do, the answers we seek, and our ability to serve our communities. Science can ably and accurately inform the decision-making of all people, from the choices we make as consumers to the policies we adopt through public debate. It can only do so, however, if we value the voices of all members of our global community. By bringing scientists and science supporters into public spaces around the world, we voice our support for science and its benefits to be freely available to people of all countries and backgrounds.
We gather together to stand up for scientists, including those in public service. We pledge to speak up for them when they are silenced, to protect them when they are threatened and to provide them with support when they feel they can no longer serve their institutions. Scientists in both public and private sectors must be allowed to communicate their results freely, without misrepresentation or distortion and without the fear of retribution.
Science is a vital feature of a working democracy, spurring innovation, critical thinking, increased understanding, and better, healthier lives for all people. By marching in Washington, DC and around the world, we take one of many steps to become more active in our communities and in democratic life. We hold our leaders -- both in science and in politics -- accountable to the highest standards of honesty, fairness, and integrity. We gather together to send a message: we will all work to ensure that the scientific community is making our democracy stronger.
Note: These principles were updated on March 8 to more fully communicate our values of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility and their critical role in fulfilling science’s public service mission.
Please read our statement on diversity and inclusion.