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rsis and the summit

Scientific research is one of the key factors underpinning the development of the Information Society. The fundamental technological components of the Information Society--electricity, radio waves, the World Wide Web (WWW), and the web browser--were all first developed in academic laboratories. Ensuring equitable access to scientific knowledge is essential in order to achieve the Millennium goals, and the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) now offers incredible opportunities in this regard. Scientific research leads to the development of new technologies themselves and to the production of data and information that, when combined with these technologies, can be of huge benefit to society as a whole. The essential role of science and scientists in building the Information Society should be clearly acknowledged in the declaration of principles and reflected in the plan of action from WSIS.

Summary of the contribution of the scientific community to the World Summit process, May 2003

Scientific knowledge and data are of enormous importance in a global Information Society:
  • To foster innovation and promote economic development
  • For efficient and transparent decision-making, particularly at the governmental level
  • For education and training

Scientific data and information should be as widely available and affordable as possible, since the more people that are able to share them, the greater the positive effects and returns to society. Scientific knowledge is a “public good."

The development of new ICTs opens up unprecedented opportunities to ensure universal and equitable access to scientific data and information and to enhance the global knowledge pool. However, excessive privatization and commercialization of scientific data and information is a serious threat to the realization of these opportunities for societal benefit.

full document in pdf


Excerpt from the World Summit on the Information Society draft Declaration of Principles, 14 November 2003:

6. We recognize that science has a central role in the development of the Information Society. Many of the building blocks of the Information Society are the result of scientific and technical advances made possible by the sharing of research results.

Excerpt from the World Summit on the Information Society draft Action Plan, 14 November 2003:

23. E-science
a) Promote affordable and reliable high-speed Internet connection for all universities and research institutions to support their critical role in information and knowledge production, education and training, and to support the establishment of partnerships, cooperation and networking between these institutions.
b) Promote electronic publishing, differential pricing and open access initiatives to make scientific information affordable and accessible in all countries on an equitable basis.
c) Promote the use of peer-to-peer technology to share scientific knowledge and pre-prints and reprints written by scientific authors who have waived their right to payment.
d) Promote the long-term systematic and efficient collection, dissemination and preservation of essential scientific digital data e.g., population and meteorological data in all countries.
e) Promote principles and metadata standards to facilitate cooperation and effective use of collected scientific information and data as appropriate to conduct scientific research.

The outcome of the RSIS conference will be presented to heads of state at the Summit.


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