I have commented here about situations where scientists are constrained from speaking about their work (see this Sept. 16, 2010 posting, One more muzzle for Canadian government scientists). The other side of that equation is responsibility, i.e., with freedom comes responsibility. From the Sept.30, 2011 news item on phsorg.com,
“The balance between scientific freedom and responsibility is not always easy to get right, but awareness of its significance and of the value of ongoing dialogue must be maintained within the scientific community.” says Bengt Gustafsson, Chair of ICSU’s [International Council for Science Universality] Committee on Freedom and Responsibility in the conduct of Science (CFRS). “By extending its consideration of the long-established Principle of the Universality to explicitly include responsibilities as well as freedoms, ICSU has emphasized that this balance is critical both for science and society.”
I believe this is the wording which has just been approved at the ICSU’s general assembly in Rome,
The free and responsible practice of science is fundamental to scientific advancement and human and environmental well-being. Such practice, in all its aspects, requires freedom of movement, association, expression and communication for scientists, as well as equitable access to data, information, and other resources for research. It requires responsibility at all levels to carry out and communicate scientific work with integrity, respect, fairness, trustworthiness, and transparency, recognising its benefits and possible harms.
In advocating the free and responsible practice of science, ICSU promotes equitable opportunities for access to science and its benefits, and opposes discrimination based on such factors as ethnic origin, religion, citizenship, language, political or other opinion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or age.
For anyone who’d like to investigate further, here’s the ICSU’s Freedom and Responsibility portal.