Scientists, policy makers, and supporting institutions should safeguard free and open communication of science

American Geophysical Union reaffirms its position on free and open communication of scientific findings.

16 September 2016

WASHINGTON, DC— Earth and space sciences play an increasingly important role in the technologies and advancements that have broad implications for society, from public health and safety to economic development. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) today reaffirmed its position statement, “AGU Supports Free and Open Communication of Scientific Findings,” acknowledging that scientists should be able to present their findings freely and “without censorship, intimidation, or political interference.” It also charges scientists with the responsibility to “portray their results, and the results of others, objectively, professionally, and without sensationalizing or politicizing the associated impacts.”

Advances in science and the benefits of science to policy, technological progress, and society as a whole depend upon the free exchange of scientific data and information as well as on open debate. The statement was originally adopted by AGU’s Council on 17 August 2011 from a statement written by the American Meteorological Society.  Recent years have seen troubling cases such as the conviction of Italian seismologists for manslaughter, or more recently, the forced resignation and suspension of many Turkish academics in the wake of a failed coup attempt.

“Responsible communication of science is key to advancing scientific discovery and innovation,” said Jana Davis, chair of the AGU Position Statement Task Force. “Policy makers and research institutions have an obligation to ensure scientists can share their work freely without fear of consequence.  Similarly, scientists have an obligation to responsibly and objectively portray those results to the public.”

As an organization committed to promoting discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity, AGU develops and maintains position statements to provide scientific expertise on significant policy issues related to the understanding and application of the Earth and space sciences.

Read the position statement here. Learn more about AGU position statements.


Margaret Leinen, AGU president, or Jana Davis, chair of the Position Statement Task Force, will be available for comment. Members of the press should contact Caitlyn Camacho to schedule an interview.

AGU Contact:

Caitlyn Camacho
[email protected]