India issued a draft national policy in September for social responsibility in science (see go.nature.com/32sihv2). Its aim is to strengthen the country’s knowledge ecosystem, improve communication between science and society, and translate research into social benefits. A central agency and a national digital portal will oversee the policy‘s implementation, which is currently being widely discussed in the scientific community.
This policy for scientific social responsibility (SSR) is founded on scientists’ ethical obligation to give back to society in return for the taxpayers’ money that funds their research. It will promote scientific solutions for societal problems such as rural deprivation and the disempowerment of women, and improve scientific and technological support for industry. Funders will be expected to make SSR a condition for awarding grants.
India’s scientific community is crucial for the implementation of the new policy. Researchers will be required to spend a minimum of 10 days every year in public engagement, and to share their knowledge, resources, data sets and equipment to accelerate the advancement of science. Credit for SSR efforts will be given to researchers in their performance evaluations.
Once this policy takes effect, India could lead the way in making science and scientists worldwide more socially responsible.
Nature 574, 634 (2019)