Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Professional Codes of Conduct

Every professional society has a Code of Ethics.  Sometimes, these are expressed within a Mission Statement or Vision Statement.  More often, they are stated explicitly in a separate document.  Sometimes, these are brief lists of broad commandments.  Usually, they run several pages.  The Ethics statement of the Association of American Geographers runs ten pages followed by four pages of citations and acknowledgements. 
Follow the links to read the Code of Ethics of these professional organizations.
 What do they have in common?  Why do they differ?  The American Physical Society publishes these Supplemental Guidelines for Coauthors and Collaborators.  It reads in part:
"All collaborators share some degree of responsibility for any paper they coauthor. Some coauthors have responsibility for the entire paper as an accurate, verifiable, report of the research. These include, for example, coauthors who are accountable for the integrity of the critical data reported in the paper, carry out the analysis, write the manuscript, present major findings at conferences, or provide scientific leadership for junior colleagues."
This obviously applies to all work, whether for life science, social science, business administration, or performing arts.

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