The March for Science is an emerging and growing movement that is bringing together scientists and science supporters, teachers and parents, global citizens and policymakers. The March is a grassroots effort to champion science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity, and advocate for its role in informing the policies that shape our present and future.
There are many reasons why people feel compelled to march for science. As YOU, the marchers, have told us over the past many months, science affects all people around the world, regardless of nationality or political party. As YOU have told us, scientific inquiry serves the common good, and it is the duty of all political leaders and policymakers to apply science in their decision-making. As YOU have told us, we must emphasize a greater diversity of voices in science, broadening the questions we ask and ensuring that science benefits all communities around the world. As YOU have told us, science is critical to our future – science protects our water and air, extends our lives and improves our health, protects our planet, and brings our imagination to life. As YOU have told us, it is up to the scientific community to engage our political leaders and policymakers and talk to them about the importance of science and evidence-based policies.
This conversation with all of YOU doesn’t end with April 22nd: it grows and becomes an ongoing dialogue on how we build an enduring movement committed to advancing science and its role in public life.
On April 22, we march. On April 23, the movement begins.
We come from various disciplinary backgrounds, professions, and experiences - and yet there are many common themes that YOU have expressed. The following framework of priorities reflects an evolving collection of aspirations, concerns, and interests expressed by marchers from all over the world. While the March for Science is guided by broad principles, our long-term work is to channel our passion for these ideals into education, community-building, and tangible forms of advocacy around the issues that motivated us to march.
We should sustain, and strengthen, scientific integrity.
Our leaders must not misrepresent, silence, skew, or ignore science, or impede scientists from conducting research or sharing their work. Public agencies tasked with conducting science and applying science to decision making, resource management, and operational needs must be given the freedom to pursue their science missions with integrity. They must not be subject to political interference or arbitrary defunding. They should be empowered to staff themselves at an adequate level and to adopt innovative practices to engage the scientific community and the public. Scientists need to be able to collect and analyze data without fear of retribution. They should never fear punishment for speaking out about their findings – even when those findings are inconvenient or have major implications for governance. Scientists who blow the whistle on unethical or unscientific practices within their institutions and agencies should be protected. Additionally, we ask that our leaders respect the process of peer review, and treat the weight of peer-reviewed scientific information with the care and attention it deserves. They should not conflate science with “belief” or cherry-pick studies that are contradicted by overwhelming evidence in a given field.
We should draw on the best-available science to make policy and regulatory decisions.
Our leaders must use science to inform their work. This means that scientific knowledge must be sought, trusted, and meaningfully incorporated at every level of political decision-making. Important science and technology positions in government – such as science advisors to world leaders, chief data scientists, and chief technology officers – must be filled and supported by qualified public servants who can advise on the application of science to governance with integrity and good faith. Science agencies should have the flexibility to pursue citizen science programs, solicit and support novel proposals, and experiment with new kinds of hiring practices.
We should invest in and encourage research and development in the public sector, and incentivize investment in research and development in the private sector.
Investment has exceptional power to advance our technology, keep us healthy, and power economic progress. Investment in infrastructure such as experimental facilities, computing resources, and new platform technologies supports a future in which we can continue asking and answering new and better questions. We never know from where the next breakthrough will emerge, so advancing knowledge in all fields, both basic and applied, and in both public and private sectors, is crucial to enable continued advances and innovation. Scientific advancement is a major contributor to the world's economies. Beyond the tangible benefits, the scientific work of understanding the world around us is an integral component of our shared cultural achievement. Our leaders must not cut investments in these key pursuits for short-term political gain. If we want a future full of safer and stronger communities, then research is among the best investments we can make.
We enrich science when we support broad participation and access to diverse communities’ talents and perspectives.
Science works best when it draws from a wealth and diversity of perspectives, backgrounds, experiences, and interests. Inclusive and equitable environments encourage people from all backgrounds to ask questions, contribute to innovation, and address major challenges. The complex problems we face in the world today require diverse teams with different toolsets and points of view. Furthermore, developing closer ties between scientists all over the globe enables us to ask increasingly bigger, better, and more nuanced questions. Doing so allows for the discovery of solutions and answers to global problems.
Everyone benefits when scientists and the broader public openly communicate and collaborate.
Trust and understanding between scientists and our communities are built by popular communication of research findings and processes, citizen science initiatives, data sharing, and increasing access to scientific findings. At the same time, engaging with the broader public enables scientists to focus research to address the issues most pressing for their local communities and beyond. Effective communication and collaboration between scientists and communities is key to maximizing the contributions of science to everyday life and inspiring continued innovation in scientific research and application.
Scientists must have an active role in public life and policy.
Science cannot effectively claim a role in public life and policymaking without members of the scientific community actively participating. Scientists, as individuals, should be encouraged to establish relationships with their policymakers from the local to the global level. Scientists should engage policymakers in conversation about the work that they do, and communicate their expertise on relevant policies. This means maintaining an ongoing dialogue - writing, calling, and meeting with policymakers. Science institutions must support robust policymaking processes and tools that ensure scientists have a seat at the table. The scientific community must emphasize the importance of communicating science and engaging the communities that science serves. Motivating scientists to do this kind of work will require strong leadership by research institutions and professional societies to reward publication, communication, and outreach done outside traditional peer-reviewed outlets.
We should foster a vibrant and diverse international scientific community.
Science benefits from collaboration within and across national borders. Towards this end, each nation should facilitate active inclusion and participation in science by the diversity of ethnic, racial, or other underrepresented groups within their borders, allowing for the use of indigenous or ethnic minority languages and removing other barriers that impede access to education and scientific opportunity. Policies that hinder international collaboration by banning travel, barring immigrants, or eschewing global partnerships hurt science, scientists, and the global community. Our leaders must support science diplomacy efforts, and maintain and strengthen bilateral and multilateral science and technology collaboration. We have to work together to share information, data, and best practices. We must develop new approaches on issues that cross international borders, including global health and food security, biotechnology, and the study of weather and climate from Earth observation satellites.
We should support and build capacity for science education that draws on best-available knowledge and instructs students in scientific practices.
The quality of education received by students ultimately affects society at every level. When every person is offered the powerful tool set of scientific thinking, we build a more scientifically literate society, increase economic opportunities, maximize development of a strong and diverse scientific community, and more effectively address our shared challenges. Science curricula should be developed and implemented based on the best available scientific evidence. They must also support and invest in high-quality science education initiatives, including measures that bolster time for science education beginning in elementary schools, equip underserved schools with science facilities and resources, and build science education curriculum based on the best-available research. Effective science education also depends on support for teachers, and we urge our leaders to increase investment in teacher preparation programs and targeted support for beginning teachers. Every school should have the support and encouragement to address the impediments to scientific success faced by each student, and enable students to build a fruitful lifelong relationship with science, no matter their career path.