New AAAS Study Investigates the Social Responsibilities of Scientists

The notion that scientists have a responsibility to society that goes beyond their responsibilities to the profession is long-standing. While there is a growing literature concerning the issues encapsulated by the phrase “social responsibility of scientists,” a review of that literature reveals many and sometimes competing views. What is more, to date there has been no empirical basis on which to define the content and scope of such social responsibilities.

It is within this context that the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition, of which COSSA is a member, and the AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program decided to develop and distribute an online questionnaire to scientists, engineers and health professionals globally. The primary aim of this preliminary investigation was to elicit their perspectives on the nature and scope of their responsibilities and to identify any potential similarities and differences in perspectives according to multiple demographic variables. Read a summary of the report’s major findings or the full report. Please direct any inquiries about the report to

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