Science in the information society: Leading scientists call for action

The International Council for Science (ICSU) has released an agenda for action on science in the information society for preparation of the World Summit on Information Society to be held in December 2003.

In the lead-up to the WSIS, scientists from around the world and representatives of international organisations met in March 2003. They now released an agenda for action ‘Science in the Information Society’, which will provide important input for the discussion of the final document for the WSIS by governments during an Intercessional Meeting in Paris (15-18 July) and during the PrepCom III meeting in Geneva in September. (see alsoEURACTIV 23 May 2003).

The main issues identified by the scientific community are:


  • Universal access to scientific knowledge
  • Decision making and governance
  • Policy issues for scientific information
  • Improving education and training

The perspectives regarding these themes are outlined in a series of four published brochures, highlighting the key principles, the challenges, the actions required and examples of best practice.

In their action plan, the scientists convey a strong message to governments to strengthen the public domain and ensure equitable access to scientific data and information. They state that the use of modern information and communication technology opens up unprecedented opportunities to divulge scientific knowledge that carries enormous potential for world development, so governments must work to address the risk of a ‘digital devide’ between people with and without access to information technologies.


On 21 December 2001, the UN General Assembly adopted a Resolution endorsing the organisation of a World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The Summit at which stakeholders from goverment, the private sector, civil society and NGOs will address a broad range of questions concerning the information society will be held in two phases, in Geneva from 10-12 December and in Tunis in 2005.



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