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GWIS Code of Conduct
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GWIS Code of Conduct


What is a Code of Conduct?

A code of conduct is a set of guidelines adopted by an organization to address what behaviors are expected and appropriate.


The goal of the GWIS Code of Conduct is to provide definitions and guidance for appropriate, respectful behavior in scientific and professional environments.


Executive Statement

The purpose of Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) is to connect and empower women in science and to create opportunities for professional and leadership development. GWIS aims to provide a society for the promotion of interest in science, for the recognition of women in science, for the encouragement and assistance of women in the continuation of their scientific education, for the fraternal association of women in science, and for the furtherance of scientific thought in education through the establishment of awards, grants, and fellowships. Scientific integrity and ethics are fundamental to scientific advancement.


Science cannot flourish without the respectful and equitable treatment of all those engaged in the scientific community. The GWIS Code of Conduct is a set of principles and practices for professional behavior which governs all GWIS members, volunteers, and non-members participating in GWIS sponsored events and activities. GWIS sponsored events and activities include, but are not limited to, GWIS Meetings, Honors and Fellowships, and all appointed, elected, and volunteer positions. 


As an organization of the scientific community, GWIS is committed to fostering and supporting a safe and professional environment in order to learn, conduct research, and communicate science with integrity, respect, trustworthiness, and transparency. We recognize the failure to uphold these principles harms our profession, our scientific credibility, and the well-being of individuals and the broader community. It is the responsibility of all individuals covered under this Code to ensure the integrity of our scientific practice and to work to prevent actions contrary to the goals of GWIS.


All GWIS members are expected to aspire and adhere to the following standards of behavior:



Code of Conduct

A. Principles


-          Excellence, integrity, and honesty in all aspects of research

-          Personal accountability in the conduct of research and the dissemination of the results

-          Professional courtesy, equity, and fairness in working with others

-          Freedom to responsibly pursue science without interference or coercion

-          Unselfish cooperation in research

-          Good stewardship of research and data on behalf of others

-          Legal compliance in all aspects of research, including intellectual property

-          Humane approach in evaluating the implications of research on humans and animals

B. Responsibilities

  1. Scientific integrity
    1. Environment: Individuals are responsible for creating and upholding a safe, open, and professional environment for learning, conducting, and communicating science with integrity, respect, fairness, trustworthiness, and transparency at all organizational levels and in all scientific endeavors.
    2. Misconduct: Individuals should not engage in discrimination, dishonesty, fraud, misrepresentation, coercive manipulation, censorship, or other misconduct that alters the content, veracity, or meaning of research findings or that may affect the planning, conduct, reporting, or application of science. This applies to all professional, research, and learning environments.
    3. Acknowledgement of others: Individuals should give appropriate credit for professional work done by others
  2. Harassment, Bullying, and Discrimination
    1. Individuals should not engage in harassment, bullying, or discrimination (see detailed definitions here: Code of Conduct Definitions)
      1. Harassment is defined as unwanted behaviors directed toward an individual because of race, religion, color, gender, age, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity expression, or any other protected class.
      2. Bullying is defined as unwelcome or unreasonable behavior that demeans, intimidates, humiliates, or sabotages the work of people, either as individuals or as a group.
      3. Discrimination is defined as the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.
    2. Treat employees justly and fairly with respect to recruitment, supervision, job development, recognition, and compensation.
  3. Advisor-Trainee Relationships
    1. The relationship between a graduate student or postdoctoral researcher and the advisor is a unique one in the research environment. This relationship carries extra demands for ethical behavior. Many graduate education programs issue guidance for its advisors and students to help provide heightened awareness on roles and responsibilities. Key principles include areas of sensitivity and concern such as the following recommendations,

Graduate advisors should:

      1. Promote an environment that is intellectually stimulating and free of harassment
      2. Be supportive, equitable, accessible, encouraging, and respectful
      3. Recognize and respect the cultural backgrounds of students
      4. Be sensitive to the power imbalance in the student–advisor relationship


    1. Students (undergraduate and graduate) and student advisors are encouraged to be aware of the responsibilities of the advisor, the student, and the institution.

Extracted from the Pennsylvania State University College of Science’s Guidance for Advisor-Graduate Student Interactions. See full guidance at this link:

The principles in this Policy are intended to educate members and program participants on conduct expectations, and are not intended to imply a legal obligation on the part of GWIS with respect to the conduct of GWIS members.


Ideas and wording adapted from: American Geophysical Union;

See also a code of ethics for undergraduate research at this link:

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