Codes of Conduct in Science
Codes of Conduct in the Scientific Community
Recently, there has been a needed push to develop a more welcoming and inclusive scientific community. One method of trying to ensure an inclusive and welcoming work environment are codes of conduct. Codes of conduct outline acceptable behaviors for a group of participants during work and community activities. The aim of these codes of conduct is to provide clear instructions for appropriate behavior during work, work-related, and community activities, define behaviors that won’t be tolerated, outline channels for reporting inappropriate behavior, and define consequences for inappropriate behavior. These codes of conduct make community members aware of their own behavior by articulating behavior expectations. By articulating clear behavior expectations, codes of conduct also remove the burden of articulating what behaviors are not acceptable, welcoming, or professional from those experiencing inappropriate behavior.
Codes of conduct have been written for several work contexts pertinent to scientists. These work contexts include field missions, meetings (online and in-person), classrooms, and general codes of conduct for all communications. Examples of codes of conduct are linked at the end of this article, and will be collected on the IGAC website. Many organizations frame the code of conduct around the vision statement of the organization. In this way, organizations seek to ensure that the behavior of those participating in their community is conducive to the goals and vision of the organization.
Each code of conduct is different; however, each has general common themes that will vary in details from organization and context. These themes include:
- A definition of when the code of conduct applies
- A definition to whom the code of conduct applies
- A description of encouraged and appropriate behaviors (e.g., open and welcoming, active listening, inclusive language)
- A description of behaviors that will not be tolerated (e.g., discriminatory and derogatory language, sexual harrassment, violence, unsafe behaviors)
- How to report violations of a code of conduct
- Consequences of code of conduct violations
Codes of conduct defined in this article are describing productive and inclusive behaviors in interpersonal relationships between members of a scientific community, team, workplace, or organization. Ethical codes of conduct for scientific research are a separate, but equally important, matter not covered here.
IGAC has not written its own code of conduct; however, we wish to provide examples of codes of conduct for various contexts as a resource for our community. If you know of any codes of conduct you find particularly helpful, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion. We are particularly interested in more non-English codes of conduct! We will be collecting these codes of conduct for reference on the IGACProject website, igacproject.org.
Examples of Codes of Conduct
Guidelines for writing a code of conduct
(a number of links to different codes of conduct)
Association of Polar Early Career Scientists
Safety and Belonging in the field: a checklist for educators
Royal Society of Chemistry
University of Texas Institute of Geoscience
Pink Sky Lab
CNRS (In French)
AGU Policy on Scientific Integrity and Professional Ethics (includes a section for attendance at AGU Meetings)
University of Washington Marine Conservation and Ecology Group
AMS Code of Conduct
National Academy of Sciences
EGU Code of Conduct
NSF provides the following list of Codes of Conduct for facilities and research sites (including ship-based measurements):
UCAR/NCAR Participant Code of Conduct, for participants in conferences, workshops, and field projects:
Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research
Center for Scientific Collaboration and Community Engagement (CSCCE) Community Participation Guidelines
Mozilla Community Participation Guidelines
PLOS Computational Biology: 10 Simple Rules for Building an Anti-Racist Lab