Code of Conduct

IARPC Collaborations is, first and foremost, a community space. The IARPC Secretariat and community is committed to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, and is particularly committed to supporting the inclusion of historically minoritized groups in Arctic research and to addressing the historical and ongoing impacts of colonization on Arctic research. IARPC Collaborations strives to create an inclusive, constructive space for sharing information about research, science, and knowledge co-production in the Arctic.

This code of conduct is specific to the IARPC Collaborations online space and online meetings. Versions of it may be adapted for in-person events.

This code of conduct aims to support a community where all people feel open and safe to participate, introduce new ideas, and inspire others, regardless of background, family status, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, language fluency, age, ability, appearance, race and/or ethnicity, national origin, socioeconomic status, academic degree, religion, geographic location, or any other attributes. It aims to establish a set of ground rules to ensure decency and prevent problematic, oppressive, and harassing behavior.

We gain strength from diversity and actively seek participation from those who enhance it. These guidelines exist to enable IARPC Collaborations members to interact and collaborate to mutual advantage and to enhance our understanding of the Arctic system. This document outlines both expected and prohibited behavior, as well as the consequences of breaking this code of conduct.

This Code of Conduct was last updated on June 15, 2021.

Scroll down to read the full Code of Conduct, or use the menu below to jump to specific sections:

When and How to Use These Guidelines

These guidelines outline behavior expectations for members of the IARPC Collaborations community. Your participation in IARPC Collaborations is contingent upon following these guidelines in all IARPC Collaborations activities, including but not limited to participating on the IARPC Collaborations website or in meetings and webinars hosted on the IARPC Collaborations platform or by IARPC. We encourage other organizations to adapt these guidelines for use in their own meetings.

Expected Behavior

Behavior That Will Not Be Tolerated

Reporting Process and Consequences

License and Attribution

When and How to Use These Guidelines

These guidelines outline behavior expectations for members of the IARPC Collaborations community. Your participation in IARPC Collaborations is contingent upon following these guidelines in all IARPC Collaborations activities, including but not limited to participating on the IARPC Collaborations website or in meetings and webinars hosted on the IARPC Collaborations platform or by IARPC. We encourage other organizations to adapt these guidelines for use in their own meetings.

Expected Behavior

Adhere to the Principles for Conducting Research in the Arctic

IARPC Collaborations members working in the Arctic have a responsibility to respect local and Indigenous cultures, knowledge, and language, and to advance stewardship of the Arctic environment. Members should consistently strive to follow the Principles for Conducting Research in the Arctic:

  • Be accountable
  • Establish effective communication
  • Respect Indigenous knowledge and cultures
  • Build and sustain relationships
  • Pursue responsible environmental stewardship

While the principles are primarily designed for research processes and fieldwork, they also apply to conduct on the IARPC Collaborations web platform.

Appreciate and Accommodate Our Similarities and Differences

IARPC Collaborations members come from many cultures and backgrounds. Be respectful of people with different cultural practices and beliefs. Work to unlearn your own biases, prejudices, and discriminatory practices. Think of others’ needs from their point of view. Use preferred titles (including pronouns). Respect people’s right to privacy and confidentiality. Be open to both learning from and educating others.

Be Inclusive

Being inclusive means the following: Be curious and put aside your assumptions. Seek diverse perspectives: diversity of views and of people powers innovation, even if it is not always comfortable. Help new perspectives be heard and listen actively. If you find yourself dominating a discussion, it is especially important to step back and encourage other voices to join in. Be aware of how much time is taken up by dominant members of the group. Provide alternative ways to contribute or participate when possible—for example, using the Zoom chat or allowing people to ask anonymous questions. Avoid slang or idioms that might not translate across cultures, or be deliberate in explaining them to share our diverse cultures and languages. Speak plainly and avoid or define acronyms and jargon that not everyone may understand. Be an ally to others when you see a need.

Be inclusive of everyone in an interaction, respecting, and facilitating people’s participation whether they are:

  • Remote (on video or phone only)
  • Not a native English speaker
  • Coming from a different culture
  • Using pronouns other than he or she
  • Living in a different time zone
  • Facing other challenges to participation

Think about how you might facilitate alternative ways to contribute or participate. Make way for other voices and listen actively to them.

For more guidance on making IARPC Collaboration meetings and webinars inclusive, see our Guidelines for Creating Inclusive Meetings.

Be Respectful

Value each other’s ideas, styles, and viewpoints. We may not always agree, but disagreement is no excuse for poor manners. Be open to different possibilities and to being wrong. Be respectful in all interactions and communications, especially when debating the merits of different options. Be aware of your impact and how you may be affecting people. Be clear, constructive, and positive. Bear in mind that tone can be hard to decipher online.

Take responsibility for your impact and your mistakes—if someone believes they have been harmed through your words or actions, listen carefully, apologize sincerely, and correct the behavior going forward.

Commit to Self-Improvement

None of us is perfect; all of us will, from time to time, fail to live up to our own high standards. Being perfect isn’t what matters; owning our mistakes and committing to clear and persistent efforts to grow and improve is.

If you are approached as having (consciously or otherwise) acted in a way that might make others feel unwelcome, listen with an open mind and try to avoid becoming defensive. Remember that if someone offers you feedback, it likely took a great deal of courage for them to do so and that it indicates an optimistic desire for improvement in a continued working relationship. The best way to respect that courage is to acknowledge your mistake, apologize, seek to understand where you were wrong, and move on—with a renewed commitment to do better.

Give Professional Feedback

Feedback is a natural and important part of work in the IARPC Collaborations space. Good feedback is kind, respectful, clear, and constructive, and focused on goals and values rather than personal preferences. Be honest and clear, as well as respectful, empathetic, and compassionate.

Recognize the Colonial History of Science and Research1

Research, particularly research in the Arctic, has a history of colonization: science is driven by “discovery,” and information gathered by (typically white) academically-trained scientists and other researchers has historically been considered the most accurate, reliable, and important information. Similarly, the Arctic, including Alaska, has been colonized by generations of mostly white, mostly European-in-origin individuals, who have done significant damage to Indigenous communities through forced assimilation, relocation, and removal. Indigenous Peoples thrive in the Arctic through closely observing their environment, conducting their own inquiries, and producing long-term understandings of patterns and processes in Arctic ecosystems. Colonization has disrupted this process and transmission of this knowledge, and colonizing researchers have and continue to conduct both ethical misconduct and extractive research.2, 3, 4 While in recent decades, many individuals and institutions—both Indigenous and non-Indigenous—within Arctic research have actively worked to recognize and address this history, current Arctic research efforts continue to present an opportunity to improve inclusion.

IARPC Collaboration members should strive to recognize this colonial history in their research, and to ensure that patterns of extraction, compensation, and recognition are not one-sided. Academic science should not be privileged over Indigenous Knowledge. Wherever IARPC Collaboration researchers incorporate Indigenous individuals and/or knowledge, their permission must be obtained and they must be credited.

Respect Intellectual Property and Indigenous Data Sovereignty

IARPC Collaborations is a space to share research. Obtain consent from other IARPC Collaborations members before sharing their information, presentation content, or data outside the membership space.

Respect the intellectual property of Arctic Indigenous Peoples. Do not expect Indigenous Peoples to share their observations or information outside their community. Always give Indigenous Peoples credit for data and observations, and whenever possible, compensate collaborators for their time and contributions, including for participation in presentations and webinars or other contributions. When working with Indigenous Peoples, guidelines should be agreed to prior to data collection to establish data sovereignty—see the CARE Principles of Indigenous Data Governance as an example.

Behavior That Will Not Be Tolerated

The following behaviors are considered unacceptable under these guidelines.

Derogatory Language

Hurtful or harmful language related to background, family status, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, language fluency, age, ability, appearance, race and/or ethnicity, national origin, socioeconomic status, academic degree, religion, geographic location, or any other attributes is not acceptable. This includes deliberately referring to someone by a gender that they do not identify with, and/or questioning the legitimacy of an individual’s gender identity. If you are unsure if a word is derogatory, do not use it. If you are unsure if a statement could be considered an unwelcome personal remark, do not make it. This also includes repeated subtle and/or indirect discrimination; when asked to stop, stop the behavior in question.

Personal Attacks

Conflicts will inevitably arise, but frustration should never turn into a personal attack. It is not okay to insult, demean, or belittle others. Attacking someone for their opinions, beliefs, and ideas is not acceptable. It is important to speak directly when we disagree and when we think we need to improve, but such discussions must be conducted respectfully and professionally, remaining focused on the issue at hand.

Unacceptable or Unlawful Use of Intellectual Property

Sharing or using others’ intellectual property as your own or without the creator’s consent is not acceptable. When in doubt, ask for permission to share. This includes data, presentation content, Indigenous Knowledge, and other forms of intellectual property.

Unwelcome Sexual Attention

Unwelcome sexual attention is not acceptable. This includes sexualized comments, jokes, or imagery in interactions, communication, or presentation materials, as well as inappropriate sexual advances. Simulated physical contact (such as emojis like “kiss”) without affirmative consent is not acceptable. This includes sharing or distribution of sexualized images or text.

Violence or Threats of Violence

Violence and threats of violence are not acceptable—online or offline. This includes incitement of violence toward any individual, including encouraging a person to commit self-harm. This also includes posting or threatening to post other people’s personally identifying information (“doxing”) online. This also includes bullying, including threats of professional discrediting, data hoarding, and exclusion from authorship.

Reporting Process and Consequences

Code of Conduct Violations During IARPC Collaborations Meetings

If there is a clear violation of the code of conduct during an IARPC Collaborations meeting—for example, a meeting is Zoom bombed or a Collaboration Team member is verbally abusing another participant—an IARPC Secretariat member may choose to expel the violator from the meeting or close the meeting early. If they do so, they will follow up with the Code of Conduct Committee to determine if further action is needed.

The following outlines the process for community members to report a code of conduct violation after it has occurred.

Making a Report

If you believe you’re experiencing unacceptable behavior that is counter to this code of conduct, please contact a member of the IARPC Collaborations Code of Conduct Committee:

The committee member will work with you to find a time to take an incident report, which includes a concise description of the situation. If a conflict of interest is present between you and the committee member, or the committee member and the person/people being reported, they will recommend another committee member to take your report.

If you would prefer to make a report via email rather than discussing with a committee member, please include:

  • Your contact information (so we can get in touch with you if we need to follow up)
  • Date and time of the incident
  • Location/context of the incident (e.g., at a collaboration team meeting)
  • Whether the incident is ongoing
  • Description of the incident
  • Name of the reported person(s)
  • Any additional circumstances surrounding the incident
  • Any additional circumstances surrounding your relationship to the people involved in the incident (e.g., whether the person is a coworker, a boss, etc—see the Conflicts of Interest section below)
  • Other people involved in or witnesses to the incident and their contact information (if applicable)

The reporting party does not need to be directly involved in a code of conduct violation incident. Please make a bystander report if you observe a potentially dangerous situation, someone in distress, or violations of these guidelines, even if the situation is not happening to you.

Confidentiality

IARPC and the Code of Conduct Committee will keep reports as confidential as possible. However, in some cases, Code of Conduct Committee members may have an obligation to report violations to their home institution or to law enforcement. Specifically:

  • Cases of harassment will be shared with the NSF Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
  • If a Code of Conduct violation is made by a member of the academic institution at which a Code of Conduct Committee member is faculty or staff, that committee member may need to share information with their home institution under Title IX.

When we discuss incidents with people who are reported, we will anonymize details as much as possible to protect reporter privacy. In some cases, even if the details are anonymized, the reported person may be able to guess who made the report. If you have concerns about retaliation or your personal safety, please note that in your report. We still encourage you to report, so that we can support you while keeping IARPC Collaborations members safe. In some cases, we can compile several anonymized reports into a pattern of behavior, and take action on that pattern.

What Happens After a Report Is Filed

After a member of the Code of Conduct Committee takes your report, they will consult with the committee within two business days to determine an appropriate response. The Code of Conduct Committee makes decisions by consensus.

During the committee meeting, members will:

  • Review report documentation to determine what happened
  • Consult documentation of past incidents for patterns of behavior
  • Discuss appropriate response(s) to the incident
  • Assign a committee member to make those response(s)
  • Determine the follow up actions for any impacted people and/or the reporter
  • Assign a person to follow up with the impacted people

After the meeting, a committee member may communicate with the reported person to:

  • Explain what happened and the impact of their behavior
  • Offer concrete examples of how to improve their behavior
  • Explain consequences of their behavior, or future consequences if the behavior is repeated

Possible Consequences to Code of Conduct Violations

What follows are examples of possible responses to an incident report. This list is not inclusive, and IARPC reserves the right to take any action it deems necessary. Generally speaking, the strongest response IARPC may take is to completely ban a user from the IARPC Collaborations platform and, as is required, to report a person to their home institution. If the committee feels that law enforcement should be involved, they will recommend that the reporter make that contact.

  • A verbal discussion in person or via phone/Zoom followed by documentation of the conversation via email
  • Not publishing the video or slides of a talk that violated the code of conduct
  • Not allowing a speaker who violated the code of conduct to give (further) talks on IARPC Collaborations
  • Immediately ending any team leadership or other responsibilities and privileges that a person holds
  • Temporarily banning a person from IARPC Collaborations
  • Permanently banning a person from IARPC Collaborations
  • Nothing, if the behavior is determined to not be a code of conduct violation

Appealing a Decision

Appeals to a code of conduct violation decision can be made by contacting a member of the Code of Conduct Committee. An appeal must include additional information for the committee to review.

Following Up With the Reporting Party/Parties

Within one week of an incident report, a Code of Conduct Committee member will follow up with the person who made the report. The follow-up may include:

  • A acknowledgement that the committee discussed the situation
  • A determination of whether the incident was a violation of the code of conduct
  • What actions (if any) were taken to correct the reported behavior.

In some cases, it may take longer to resolve a code of conduct violation. In this case, a Code of Conduct Committee member will follow up with the person who made the report weekly to keep them informed.

Conflicts of Interest

If a committee member has a conflict of interest for a report, they will recuse themselves from the discussion and handling of the incident. The incident documentation will not be available to them, and they will excuse themselves from any conversations involving handling the incident. Examples of conflict of interest include:

  • The reporter or reported person is their advisor and/or committee member, student, professor, or manager
  • They have a romantic or platonic relationship with either the reporter or the reported person. (Committee members may participate if they are an acquaintance.)
  • The reporter or reported person is their family member
  • The reporter or reported person is their direct client or grantee
  • The reporter or reported person is someone they work closely with—e.g., works on their team or on the same project

Committee members do not need to state why they have a conflict of interest, only that one exists. Other committee members should not ask why the person has a conflict of interest.

Addressing Behavior Directly

For smaller incidents that might be settled with a brief conversation, the reporter can choose to contact the person in question or set up a video chat to discuss how it affected you. Please use this approach only if you feel comfortable; you do not have to carry the weight of addressing these issues yourself. If you’re interested in this option but unsure how to go about it, try discussing with the IARPC Secretariat first—they will have advice on how to make the conversation happen and can also join you in a conversation if requested.

False Reporting

Any participants who abuse the reporting process will be considered to be in violation of these guidelines and subject to the same consequences. False reporting, especially to retaliate or exclude, will not be accepted or tolerated.

License and Attribution

This set of guidelines is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. It is adapted from the Mozilla Community Participation Guidelines, the Buffer Code of Conduct, and the PyCon Code of Conduct and Incident Handling Procedures. Additional information is adapted from the Arctic Science Summit Week 2020’s Code of Conduct, 500 Women Scientists’ Guide to Organizing Inclusive Meetings, the European Geosciences Union’s Guide to Promoting Inclusive Language, and Otter Tech’s guidelines for running safe(r) events.


Notes

1 “Science” and “research” are used interchangeably throughout this code of conduct.

2 Carlo, Nikoosh. 2020. Arctic Observing: Indigenous Peoples’ History, Perspectives, and Approaches for Partnership. Fairbanks: Center for Arctic Policy Studies.

3 Smith, Linda T. 1999. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. London: Zed Books.

4 David-Chavez, Dominique M., and Michael C. Gavin. 2018. "A global assessment of Indigenous community engagement in climate research." Environmental Research Letters 13, no. 12.

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