To reinforce trust in science, we recommend more comprehensive education about the scientific method; an improved dissemination of science to the public; communication modes that do not minimize doubts or exaggerate promises; a requirement for rigor and integrity from scientists; improvements in science assessment emphasizing quality and relevance; and better dialogue between scientists, social groups, and decision makers to inform choices about the major issues facing society.
The increasing pace of technological change, and the need for science and innovation contributions to solve local and global challenges requires societal trust in science. It is essential that we find ways to maintain and increase confidence in science. It is the responsibility of everyone, scientists, educators, the media and politicians to establish or maintain a relationship of informed trust between science and society.
Policy makers should encourage and scientists should commit to:
- Promote science education and an understanding of how research is conducted from elementary school onwards, to ensure that all students, both girls and boys, acquire a sufficient background to understand the world around them and the benefits of science.
- Cultivate dialogue, mutual trust and confidence between public, politicians and scientists to ensure that scientific input is considered in decision-making especially on topics of high scientific content.
- Ensure that the fundamental principles of ethics, integrity and responsibility are a major componen of science education, to Increase awareness of scientific responsibility and of the structures and policies that support it, including peer review and research ethics boards and transparency about potential conflicts of interest. Breeches of ethics and research integrity should be treated with full transparency and rigor to ensure that the misconduct of a few does not discredit the whole scientific endeavor.
- Ensure that the evaluation of science is based on criteria of quality, reproducibility, originality and relevance rather than on counts of publications, citations, or impact factors to avoid the race for publication that downgrades the value of scientific research and can lead to breaches in scientific integrity.