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The right to science and culture is one of the economic, social and cultural rights claimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related documents which says that everyone has a right to participate in culture, to benefit from scientific progress, and to have a stake in their own contributions to science and culture. It is expressed in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Similar language appears in Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, a treaty that many nations have signed:

The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone:

(a) To take part in cultural life;
(b) To enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications;
(c) To benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

The concept of a right to science and culture has received relatively little attention from legal scholars and human rights activists, and there is no widely accepted interpretation of what the right should entail in practice. Human rights experts and members of the access to knowledge movement have argued that the right to science and culture is in tension with overly broad intellectual property rights that severely limit the ability of many people to participate in cultural life and benefit from progress in science and technology.[1] In 2000, for example, the United Nations Economic and Social Council Sub-commission on Human Rights suggested that the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights may violate the right to science and therefore conflict with international human rights law.[2]


  1. ^ Shaver, Lea Bishop (March 6, 2009). The Right to Science and Culture. Wisconsin Law Review. pp. 6–9. SSRN 1354788. 
  2. ^ Suoranta, Juha; Vadén, Tere (June 2009). Wikiworld. Pluto Press. p. 42. ISBN 9780745328928. 

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