Science's new social contract with society

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Under the prevailing contract between science and society, science has been expected to produce ‘reliable’ knowledge, provided merely that it communicates its discoveries to society. A new contract must now ensure that scientific knowledge is ‘socially robust’, and that its production is seen by society to be both transparent and participative.

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The research described in this essay is taken from a report entitled ‘ Re-thinking science: knowledge production in a Mode 2 Society’, prepared by H. Nowotny, P. Scott and M. Gibbons for, and funded by, the Tercentenary Fund of the Royal Swedish Bank and the Swedish Council for Higher Education.

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Gibbons, M. Science's new social contract with society. Nature 402, C81–C84 (1999) doi:10.1038/35011576

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