Precariousness in Scientific Research: an Obstacle to Scientific and Human Progress

Call for a worldwide campaign and a World Day on October 10, 2018

Many organizations of scientists in the world are mobilizing against the increase in precariousness and the decline in the quality of scientific and technical research. A number of them participated in several forms in the first World Day against precariousness organized on March 15, 2017(*). Expressions against precariousness were also present during the March for Science on April 22, 2017.

The precariousness of scientists continues to grow at all ages, and as a result :
• Living and working conditions become more difficult.
• Limited duration job contracts are widespread and force researchers to continuously wander.
• The professional future for many scientists is becoming uncertain.
Simultaneously, the quality and content of research are affected :
• Short-term results take precedence, and long-term projects are discarded.
• Certain important subjects are abandoned, in particular in fundamental research.
• Acquired expertise is lost due to continuous change of research line.
• Profitability and competitiveness are the main criteria.
• Private management become widespread and reduces academic freedom.
• Public research is being called into question.

We propose to act together to reverse this trend so as to:
• Obtain stable jobs for women and men, researchers, teachers, engineers, technicians, young graduates.
• Orient scientific and technical activity toward the free growth of knowledge and its broadest dissemination, toward the response to the needs of humankind and the challenges it must face, and to achieve peace and democracy, eradicate famine and disease, and stop global warming.

We recognize in the Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers, adopted by UNESCO on November 13, 2017, a support for the development of science as a common good, and for the consideration and guarantees of material and moral conditions stable for all scientific personnel.

This is why we propose to participate in a World Day on October 10, 2018 and in other activities close to this date, so that in each country, one or more initiatives bring together scientists and inform populations, and that demands be presented to public authorities.

We also decide to work with all organizations of scientists, whether trade union or professional, who so wish, to form representative delegations of all parties to Unesco, United Nations organizations, regional institutions and Governments, and to define their own way to participate.

Join this call on our blog website for testimonials and propositions.
• The purpose is to establish, within the variety of situations, the reality of the problem, the reality of its worldwide character.
• This also makes it possible to illustrate the impact of job precariousness on the quality of research.
• This is an appeal to open up paths for a new policy for the sciences.
• Lastly, it is necessary to propose objectives for action, broad unity, and organization to prepare this World Day

(*) The 2017 World Day initially was proposed by the World Federation of Scientific Workers