Science imposes responsibility on scientists
Scientists bear responsibility towards those building upon their results. Interpretations may and will change, data should remain unchanged and unquestioned. Therefore, data need to be recorded and documented to the best of our knowledge and belief.
This responsibility is twofold: towards other scientists (of later generations) and towards society. Science never is a “one-man show”, but rather the effort of countless individuals. We never start with a blank slate. However, as we have to build upon the results achieved by others, these results better be reliable. The other side of responsibility of scientists is the one towards society as a whole. Open societies are based on rational discourse and – wherever possible – evidence based on empirical facts. Therefore, they train and pay scientists and scholars and provide them with the freedom to deal with whatever seems sensible in their respective field. This freedom – not being forced to produce results that may be relevant – is essential for good science and humanities. At the same time, it imposes responsibility on scholars to work to the highest standards of their respective fields.