Precious Right, Necessary Responsibilities

"The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law."1 Even before we get to the lab bench, the complexities of being a researcher are daunting. In this issue of The Scientist, questions of freedom of conscience and personal rights are raised. Other topics recently addressed on our Web site or in p

Richard Gallagher
Oct 5, 2003

"The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law."1

Even before we get to the lab bench, the complexities of being a researcher are daunting. In this issue of The Scientist, questions of freedom of conscience and personal rights are raised. Other topics recently addressed on our Web site or in print include the pressure to satisfy funders and the legal strictures that now apply.

From where should we draw inspiration to navigate this minefield? Modifying Article 11 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen provides one possibility: Every scientist should speak, write, and print with freedom, but be responsible for abuses of this freedom. Following...

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