Advances in the social sciences are essential to human society being able to make meaningful progress in tackling climate change, addressing global inequality, and overcoming other, prevailing challenges. International research collaboration and freedom and autonomy in higher education teaching, research and scholarship worldwide are indispensable to the conduct and advancement of social science.
International research and pedagogical freedoms allow social scientists to develop, exchange and test ideas and engage in leading-edge research that benefit their own and their partners’ nations. These activities and related interactions enable recognition of shared interests, providing a basis for diplomatic engagement that can promote harmonious international relations and mutual gains. Social science research and education play an important role in building and maintaining peaceful strategic partnerships and fostering improved understanding between countries.
Recognition and pursuit of these aims is consistent with the International Science Council’s Principle of Freedom and Responsibility in Science (Article 7 of the Council’s Statutes) and Statement on Concerns for Scientific Freedom Around the World.
The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia places the highest priority on the free, respectful, fair and transparent exchange of research knowledge and ideas between social science researchers in our region and worldwide. This extends to:
- freedom of intellectual inquiry;
- freedom to associate, communicate, collaborate and engage with international colleagues, both virtually and in person, within the bounds of relevant law;
- freedom to conduct social science research, and to access data and information for that purpose, lawfully and in accordance with applicable ethics principles; and
- freedom to express, teach, study and communicate social science knowledge and advocate for its sound and responsible use in addressing a range of complex social challenges relevant to Australia and internationally.
The Academy holds that all social scientists should be free to go about their work responsibly, recognising its benefits as well as possible harms, and to promote their research in appropriate fora without fear of intimidation, harassment or violence from individuals, groups, corporations or governments.
In particular, the Academy opposes discrimination based on such factors as ethnic origin, religion, citizenship, language, political or other opinion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or age, while recognising the need for special accommodations and other measures to counter historic injustice and persistent inequality.
Adopted by the Executive Committee of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia on 3 June, 2022.