Freedom and Societal Responsibility of Science
The freedom of research and the independence of researchers and research institutions have shaped modern science for decades and are regarded as the basis for scientific advancement. Nevertheless, in view of the challenges arising from global pandemics and climate change, the scientific community is confronted with increased societal expectations such as ensuring a steady flow of new knowledge and breakthrough innovation, providing high-quality up-to-date education to all students and contributing to socio-cultural well-being. Moreover, academic independence is under pressure in many countries and societies. This theme is aimed at exploring the value and role of scientific freedom from a variety of perspectives, especially with regard to how societal, cultural and political factors shape scientific research.