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ICSTI: Academic Boycotts and Universality

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <epc-l@iucr.org>
  • Subject: ICSTI: Academic Boycotts and Universality
  • From: Pete Strickland <ps@iucr.org>
  • Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 12:57:35 GMT


----------  Forwarded Message  ----------

Subject: Fwd: Academic Boycotts and Universality
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 11:09:29 -0000
From: Barry Mahon <mahons1@EIRCOM.NET>
To: ICSTI-L@DTIC.MIL

Forwarded for information

------- Start of forwarded message -------
  Subject:Academic Boycotts and Universality

  Date:   Mon, 6 Jan 2003 16:27:49 +0100
  INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL FOR SCIENCE
  CONSEIL INTERNATIONAL POUR LA SCIENCE
To:

  Presidents and Secretaries General of International Scientific Unions
  ICSU contact persons in National Scientific Academies

  Executive Directors/Secretaries of ICSU interdisciplinary bodies

  International Scientific Associates

  In August 2002, you were sent a statement by ICSU/SCFCS on Israeli 
 Scholars. This had been developed in response to a series of correspondence 
  in British newspapers and international scientific journals, including  
 Science and Nature. Subsequently, this statement was discussed by the SCFCS 
  and Executive Board at the ICSU General Assembly in Rio de Janeiro in  
 September. It was fully endorsed by the EB and re-issued with a press
 release, which I attach for your information.  This issue has recently re- 
 surfaced in the British press (Guardian, 12, 13, 16 & 17 December) and has  
 stimulated debate within at least one of the ICSU Unions  IUPS, which is  
 why I am writing to you.


  After discussions with the SCFCS, it has been agreed that ICSU should not
become directly involved in the discussions that are currently taking place 
 via the letters page of a newspaper in one country; as there is nothing 
 substantive that we could rapidly contribute, which has not already been 
 said, anyway.  However, a more considered assessment of the principle of 
 Universality, re. the ICSU Statement on the Freedom in the Conduct of 
 Science (p7, ICSU Yearbook), would be timely.  To this end, the SCFCS is 
 proposing to carry out a review/re- assessment of this principle and its 
 applications in the first half of 2003 and you will be informed of the 
 outcome of this as soon as it is available. It is also proposed that at the 
 next ICSU General Assembly in China in 2005, there be a discussion forum on 
 this topic which should be of interest to all ICSU members.


  I hope that this information is helpful and I would urge you all to uphold 
 and advocate the principle of Universality in Science, which is one of the 
 basic principles that should unite all scientists and on which ICSU itself 
 was founded.


  Yours sincerely,

  Thomas Rosswall

  Executive Director


 
MEDIA RELEASE

Contact:
Marilyn Smith - Marilyn@icsu.org (until Oct. 4 or after Oct. 26, 2002)
Carthage Smith - Carthage@icsu.org (Oct. 6 to 26, 2002)
Phone:  (33 1) 25 45 03 29

2 October 2002

ICSU TAKES ACTION AGAINST RESTRICTIONS TO 'FREEDOM IN THE CONDUCT OF SCIENCE'

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - In response to various social and political forces-in 
both developed and developing nations-that pose potential threats to the 
fundamental principle of universal freedom in the conduct of science, the 
International Council for Science (ICSU) will undertake a comprehensive 
review of the current global situation. 

ICSU will examine three specific aspects of this issue: existing and emerging 
threats to freedom; the scope of the actual and potential problems worldwide; 
and, recommend-ations for responding to the needs of individual scientists 
facing particular limitations or restrictions and identifying parallel 
responsibilities. 

"During the public debate that erupted in the UK regarding scientific 
collaboration with Israeli scholars (April 2002), ICSU issued a statement* 
reaffirming our commitment to the principle of universal freedom," says Dr. 
James Dooge, former Chair of ICSU's Standing Committee on Freedom in the 
Conduct of Science (SCFCS). "However, in its report to ICSU's General 
Assembly, the SCFCS clearly outlined many other pressing concerns."

For example, subsequent to the September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, 
the United States is implementing security measures that make it more 
difficult for scientists from particular nations to receive travel visas for 
scientific conferences in a timely manner. ICSU recommends that such issues 
be proactively addressed. In fact, on 27 September 2002, then President Dr. 
Hiroyuki Yoshikawa wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to 
raise ICSU's concerns and initiate dialogue on achieving mutually agreeable 
arrangements. 

At the same time, ICSU is committed to ensuring that individual scientists 
recognize the responsibilities associated with the rights outlined in the 
principle of Freedom in the Conduct of Science. Thus, they will undertake 
efforts to reinforce the need for scientists and conference organizers to 
provide adequate information and allow sufficient time for the processing of 
visa applications, etc. 

ICSU's statement on freedom in the conduct of science covers three critical 
areas: freedom to pursue science and to publish the results; freedom to 
communicate amongst scientists and to disseminate scientific information; and 
freedom of movement of scientific materials. 

The SCFCS believes strongly that the global questions currently on the 
scientific agenda will require increased multidisciplinary and international 
collaboration. It also believes that restrictions such as those described 
above will have a negative impact on the overall value of science, both 
nationally and internationally. 

"We want to look at these questions from all sides, and find ways to work with 
governments and policy makers to ensure the universal rights of scientists 
remain intact," says Dr. Peter Warren, Chair of the SCFCS. "This is critical 
to ICSU's mission of pursuing science for society on a global scale."

*  Statement attached. Also available at www.icsu.org/release_freedom


###

Founded in 1931, the International Council for Science (ICSU) is a 
non-governmental organisation representing a global membership that includes 
both national scientific academies (101 members) and international scientific 
unions (27 members). Drawing on this wide spectrum of expertise, ICSU 
addresses major international, interdisciplinary issues typically beyond the 
scope of individual organisations. The Council also builds on this vast 
knowledge by initiating, designing and coordinating multidisciplinary 
research programmes, particularly in the area of global environmental change.  

ICSU acts as a focal point for the exchange of ideas, the communication of 
scientific information, and the development of scientific standards and 
networks. The Council addresses important matters of concern to scientists, 
such as education and capacity building for science, access to scientific 
data and information, science in developing countries, and freedom in the 
conduct of science.  By harnessing the power of a network that connects 
hundreds of thousands of scientists around the world, ICSU is actively 
strengthening international science for the benefit of society.

ICSU 
51 Boulevard de Montmorency
75016 Paris
France
Tel.: + 33 1 45 25 03 29 
Fax: + 33 1 42 88 94 31 



ISRAELI SCHOLARS: STATEMENT BY ICSU/SCFCS

Since its inception in 1931, the International Council for Science (ICSU) has 
affirmed and vigorously upheld the principle of universality of science based 
on the human right of scientists throughout the world to participate in 
scientific activity without any discrimination on the grounds of citizenship, 
religion, creed, political stance, ethnic origin, race, colour, age or 
gender. It has argued that the processes of academic research and 
scholarship, and the unfettered pursuit of knowledge, are of benefit to 
mankind as a whole. Moreover, these processes and goals are dependent for 
their advance upon the freedom of scholars to converse, to make contact, to 
travel to conferences, to publish their results and to proffer advice. It is, 
therefore, in the interests of governments, institutions and above all 
individuals - whether themselves scholars or not - to support this principle 
of non-discrimination. Bona fide scholars pursuing academic activities should 
be free to do so without hindrance.

Recent moves to foster an academic boycott of Israeli scientists and the 
dismissal of two Israeli scholars from their roles on the editorial boards of 
two journals published in the United Kingdom are a flagrant breach of this 
principle and have rightly drawn substantial adverse comment from scientists, 
newspaper columnists and human rights activists in the United Kingdom. 

On behalf of the Executive Board of ICSU, we draw attention to these events to 
remind all our national member academies and research councils, as well as 
our scientific unions and associates, of the critical importance of the 
principle of non-discrimination and of the need for constant vigil in 
securing its continuing adoption. We understand the strong feelings generated 
by conflicts, for example that which is ongoing in the Middle East, and the 
desire of individuals and groups to avoid contact, actively boycott or 
otherwise demonstrate distaste or disgust for the actions of nation state 
governments and others. But to do so through the medium of individual 
scholars is to sacrifice a profoundly important principle of freedom. 

We urge all scholarly communities and not least those in science and 
technology, to heed the words of the Leader (Editor) in the London Evening 
Standard on 10 July 2002: "Intellectual communities world-wide are in the 
business of fostering international understanding and co-operation not of 
penalising each other for the shortcomings of their governments."   
ICSU Executive Board (April 2002)

H. Yoshikawa, President 				Japan	
J. Lubchenco, President-Elect				USA			
J.G. Tundisi, V.P., Scientific Planning & Review 	Brazil
H. Kleinkauf, V.P, External Relations 		Germany
H.A. Mooney, Secretary-General 			USA
Y. Verhasselt, Treasurer 				Belgium
T. Rosswall, Executive Director			Sweden

Ordinary members
R. Brett						USA
A.E. Fischli						Switzerland
J.-C. Mounolou					France
D.A.D Parry						New Zealand
Qian Yi						China: CAST
L. Lapointe						Canada
G. Mehta						India
M.Y. Moursy						Egypt

ICSU Standing Committee on Freedom in the Conduct of Science (SCFCS)
J.C.I. Dooge, Chair 					Ireland
P. Schindler, Executive Secretary			Switzerland
C. Corillon						USA				
J.E. Fenstad						Norway
F.P. Gudyanga						Zimbabwe
N. Kroo						Hungary
Yuan T. Lee						China: Taipei
A. Sofowora						Nigeria
O.G. Tandberg					Sweden
P. Warren						UK
Zhu Jinning						China: CAST

Founded in 1931, the International Council for Science (ICSU) is a 
non-governmental organisation representing a global membership that includes 
both national scientific academies (101 members) and international scientific 
unions (27 members). Drawing on this wide spectrum of expertise, ICSU 
addresses major international, interdisciplinary issues typically beyond the 
scope of individual organisations. The Council also builds on this vast 
knowledge by initiating, designing and coordinating multidisciplinary 
research programmes, particularly in the area of global environmental change.  

ICSU acts as a focal point for the exchange of ideas, the communication of 
scientific information, and the development of scientific standards and 
networks. The Council addresses important matters of concern to scientists, 
such as education and capacity building for science, access to scientific 
data and information, science in developing countries, and freedom in the 
conduct of science.  By harnessing the power of a network that connects 
hundreds of thousands of scientists around the world, ICSU is actively 
strengthening international science for the benefit of society.

-------- End of forwarded message --------



-- 

Best wishes

Peter Strickland
Managing Editor
IUCr Journals

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