The Lindau Guidelines are comprised of 10 goals. The first goal consists of the goal call and a suggestion for an universal ethical code for scientists. Goals 2-10 are standalone goals. All goals are connected, and various aspects of open science reappear – yet every goal works as a single item.
GOAL 01: Call
Adopt an Ethical Code
It has often been argued that science is always neutral and cannot be blamed for its abuses stemming from the misapplication of technological advances. And yet, humankind is currently facing very serious challenges that only exist due to scientific progress. Two of these challenges – nuclear weapons and climate change – have been addressed in the Mainau Declarations 1955 and 2015.
Scientific research cannot be divorced from its consequences, and neither can a scientist’s actions. An ethical code provides ethical and moral foundations that help one to consider the likely consequences of one’s actions.
Whether or not one agrees with all its stipulations, even considering to work by a personal ethical code will already be inspiring and will serve to raise awareness. Various such codes have already been suggested, and instead of formulating a new one, we refer to the existing “Universal Ethical Code for Scientists”, which was developed by Sir David King (Former UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser & Head of the Government Office for Science), and adopted by the Royal Society.
Documents such as the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, which also addresses science, provide further guidance for moral and ethical decisions of scientists.
While the ethical principles are universal and timeless in nature, the remaining goals are more current and practical, and accordingly may be amended or changed in the future.
GOAL 01: Code
The Universal Ethical Code for Scientists
Rigour, honesty and integrity
Act with skill and care in all scientific work. Maintain up-to-date skills and assist their development in others.
Take steps to prevent corrupt practices and professional misconduct. Declare conflicts of interest.
Be alert to the ways in which research derives from and affects the work of other people, and respect the rights and reputations of others.
Respect for life, the law and the public good
Ensure that your work is lawful and justified.
Minimise and justify any adverse effect your work may have on people, animals and the natural environment.
Responsible communication: listening and informing
Seek to discuss the issues that science raises for society. Listen to the aspirations and concerns of others.
Do not knowingly mislead, or allow others to be misled, about scientific matters. Present and review scientific evidence, theory or interpretation honestly and accurately.
Cooperate Globally on Global Problems
The vast majority of the most pressing problems of today are global in nature: They affect large parts of the world and its population, they do not stop at borders, and they cannot be solved alone.
Therefore, scientists, funders and politicians must cooperate globally to increase efficiency, speed, and effectiveness. While the creative benefits of differing approaches and the stimulus of competition are to be acknowledged, inefficiency by unnecessary parallelism or obstruction must be avoided.
Knowledge becomes most powerful when it is shared with others. By sharing information, progress can be achieved faster and ultimately more efficiently. This includes sharing information about failures or negative results of studies.
Thus, all scientific results and data shall be made openly available, first within research groups, and once reliable, to the whole scientific community. Modern technologies allow for systems that can guarantee correct attribution of ideas to those who generated them.
Furthermore, scientists shall engage in fighting false or fake information and data.
Publish Results Open Access
Scientific results shall be published in an open access mode. Many approaches such as open access journals or pre-print archives as well as new initiatives already exist.
While it is not yet clear which modes and models will ultimately succeed, it remains imperative to publish all relevant scientific findings in an open access mode.
Published science shall not refer to unpublished data, code, materials, etc., obstructing further reference, use, or sharing.
Publish Data to Repositories
Publishing is not limited to scientific findings. Any kind of data found, generated or used shall also be archived in appropriate data repositories. As this means storing vast amounts of data, the technological and administrative infrastructure must be continuously improved and adapted to guarantee safe and secure long-term storage.
The publication of data, formulas, algorithms and other background used to generate findings will become a new requirement of scientific publishing. All scientific content shall be preserved, connected, and versioned to foster discovery, accumulation of evidence, but also respect for uncertainty.
Work Transparently & Truthfully
Research must be transparent and truthful:
First, in methodology, data and findings, meaning that these have to be performed and documented in the most precise and comprehensible way.
Second, in communication, and collaboration, meaning that relevant findings shall be communicated and provided to others in a precise, timely and constructive manner.
Third, in disclosure of funding, affiliations and political or ideological motivations, meaning that all motivations outside of a pure scientific interest shall be communicated openly.
Change Reward Systems
Currently, investing in transparency, openness, accessibility etc. is not appropriately rewarded. For the future, implementation and adherence to the aforementioned practices must be rewarded, e.g. in review-ing and job employment and promotion.
Evaluations of scientists shall be based on both the significance and quality of their research as well as the process by which discoveries were made, not on where the results are published or where the research has been performed. Credit will also be given for generating useful data, authoring code or creating resources that can be reused by others.
Evaluation criteria and metrics shall always be made transparent.
Support Talent Worldwide
Communicate to Society
Science has a distinct responsibility to communicate its procedures and results to society. Not only is most basic research funded by tax-payer money, research and its applications have all-pervasive effects on people’s lives. Particularly for global issues such as climate change, proper communication becomes an important duty.
The scientific community must also constructively work on providing usable information to the decision-making process in politics, society, industry and other areas.
Engage in Education
While research is at the core of the scientific discovery process, engaging in the education of the next generation is equally crucial.
Enabling and supporting aspiring young pupils, students and scientists ensures a sustainable process of mutual learning and empowers the subsequent cohort of researchers.
Engaging in education can take multiple forms, from classroom lectures to mentoring, from cooperative lab-work to off-campus activities.
Fostering this engagement requires appropriate resources to educate the educators.