On our duties as scientists

by Oded Goldreich

Our primary duty as scientists is to contribute to the progress of science. By doing so, we best fulfill our duties to the society at large. Our primary duty is not fulfilled by merely doing research, but rather by communicating our findings to the relevant scientific community. The key role of this community in the scientific process, entails some important (secondary) duties towards this community (e.g., evaluation of scientific work and education of future generations of researchers).

Needless to say, this essay presents my own subjective opinions regarding the aforementioned issues. I also seize the opportunity to express some related and less related opinions.

Comment: This essay has been misunderstood and criticized for stating the obvious; I wish it were true... In the positive part of the essay, I promote a serious attitude towards our actual duties, and stress that they are not fulfilled by doing things "in the right direction" but rather requires a commitment to do things in the onbly way that actually benefits the community.

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