The Right to Benefit from Progress in Science and Technology in World Constitutions
An entry in Max Plank Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law (forthcoming)
16 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2020
Date Written: June 3, 2020
This is an early version of an entry to be published in 2020 in the Max Plank Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law.
The “right to benefit from progress in science and technology” (more commonly referred to as “the right to science”) is one of the earliest internationally recognized human rights. It can be found both in the American Declaration of Rights and Duties of Man and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).
This article discusses the incorporation of the so-called “right to science” (or, less succinctly, the right to benefit from progress in science and technology) in national constitutions. It does not address the so-called “rights of science” (i.e. the rights of scientists and those essential for the scientific enterprise, like academic freedom, freedom of expression, freedom of movement etc.).
First, the article briefly reviews origin, definition, legal value and limitations of the right to science. Then, it traces the four main components of the right to science (i.e. i) the enjoyment of the benefits of scientific progress, ii) the freedom of science; iii) the protection from adverse effects of science, and iv) the duty to foster scientific and technological progress) in constitutions throughout the world.
Comparative analysis shows that provisions that protect freedom of science and guarantee access to the benefits of scientific and technological progress appear in a vast number of national constitutions, and that many echo the wording of Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
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