Formation of The Society For Scientific Values
A large number of scientists in the country have been feeling for
long the necessity for improving the climate of scientific research
by emphasizing the need to promote integrity, objectivity and ethical
values in the pursuit of science. Some scientists working in Delhi
met in 1981 and formed a group to
work collectively for this purpose. The group met informally and
discussed ways and means of achieving these objectives. In 1984,
it was decided that a society named "Society for Scientific Values"
be formed. A circular was sent to a number of scientists in the
country explaining the need for such a society. A excerpt of the
circular is given below.
"After independence, India has made considerable investment for
the development of science and technology. It has a large scientific
and technical manpower. There are many scientific and technical
institutions, some of which have been very well equipped. However,
the scientific contributions have not been commensurate with the
investment. In fact, hardly any discoveries, innovations and technologies
have originated in the country in recent decades. There are several
reasons for this e.g. inadequate salaries and other needs such as
housing, transport, schooling, medical facilities, and so on. But
these are not the main reasons, as these facilities were not better
before independence when some outstanding contributions of great
importance were made in science in India. It is the lack of healthy
scientific environment which has been throttling the creative potential
of Indian scientists and technologists.
Analysing the characteristics of a healthy scientific community,
Jacob Bronowski has stated that by the worldly standards of public
life, members of such a community are oddly virtuous in their work.
They do not make wild claims, they do not cheat, they do not try
to persuade at any cost, they appeal neither to prejudice nor to
authority, they are often frank about their ignorance, their disputes
are fairly decorous, they do not confuse what is being argued with
race, politics, sex or age, they listen patiently to the young and
to the old. Individually some scientists, no doubt, have human weaknesses.
But the body of scientists is trained to avoid and organised to
resist every form of persuasion by the fact. Independence and originality,
dissent and freedom, and tolerance, are the first needs of science.
Truth is the drive at the centre of science. It confronts the work
of one man with that of another and grafts each on each, and it
can not survive without justice and honour and respect between man
and man. Only by these means can science pursue its steadfast object
to explore truth. If these values did not exist, then the society
of scientists would have to invent them to make the practice of
While there are exceptions, the Indian scientific community has
yet to evolve a tradition in the above lines. Therefore, it is necessary
to develop a healthy scientific environment free from prejudices,
bureaucratic formalisms, dishonesty, propoganda of unsubstantiated
research claims, suppression of dissent, showmanship, sycophancy,
political manipulation and manoeuvring, etc. For this, it is of
the utmost importance to promote, by personal and collective efforts,
the ethics and norms of science not only for the progress of science
and technology in the country but also for national character."
Scientists were invited to give their opinions regarding the formation
of the Society and suggest names of persons who could become Founder
Members of the Society. There was an enthusiastic response from
the scientists. An interim Executive Council was then constituted.
Thus council laid down the following guidelines for membership of
- He (or she wherever applicable) should have allowed his name
to appear as an author in only those publications in which he
was actively involved, e.g. in data collection, theoretical formulations,
design and construction of apparatus, field trips, statistical
analysis, and interpretation of the results, as distinct from
administrative support and providing funds or facilities.
- He should never have plagiarised, or made false claims or indulged
in or encouraged any kind of unethical or dishonest activity in
- He should whole-heartedly support the decisions and actions
to be taken collectively by the Society after such decisions and
actions had been approved by him.
- He should agree to withdraw from the Society if he ceases to
adhere to guidelines 1, 2 and 3 above.
Keeping the above guidelines in mind, 107 Founder Members, were
enrolled, and the Society was registered under the Societies Registration
Act (1860) on 18th August, 1986.