We at Astrobites have formally adopted a Code of Conduct!
Like any collaboration, Astrobites has to deal with a variety of interpersonal issues, ranging anywhere from internal disagreements among individuals to public cases of bullying and discrimination. One year ago, we promised to develop a formal Code of Conduct to guide how we handle these issues.
We have since spent several months iterating through a collaboration-wide discussion, and we are excited to share the result: the Astrobites Code of Conduct, as well as a document outlining the procedures of the Astrobites Ombudspersons.
The Code of Conduct lays out our collaboration’s core values, which are principles that we hope will guide our day-to-day interactions as well as our collaboration-wide steering decisions. It describes some behaviors—such as bullying, harassment, discrimination, and plagiarism—that run counter to our core values, and it describes a consistent internal process for handling breaches of the Code of Conduct.
The Ombudspersons are point people for conflicts and other issues in the Astrobites collaboration. This document describes the role and philosophy of the Ombudspersons, which is heavily influenced by the principles of accountability and transformative justice. It also includes information on contacting the Ombudspersons, as well as other resources.
These are living documents that we plan to revisit on a regular basis as our collaboration evolves. Mistakes are inevitable, and we will always strive to improve our practices and avoid repeating previous mistakes.
We have also decided to hold ourselves accountable by making these documents public—as we said last year, “we believe that transparency is also an important aspect of building a more just and equitable organization.” We invite you, our readers, to look over these documents if you’re interested! We welcome constructive comments and suggestions as we work to improve our collaboration.
We also encourage other scientific collaborations to use these as resources in developing your own internal procedures. The process of putting these together, which took months of thoughtful work by several current and former Astrobites authors, has helped us clarify our own thoughts about the kind of organization we want to be. We hope other collaborations are able to similarly reflect and work towards a more equitable scientific future.
Disclaimer: This post was written after a collaboration-wide decision and is based on the personal views and opinions of Astrobites authors, who are graduate student volunteers. They are not necessarily representative of the views of the American Astronomical Society or other institutions with whom our authors are affiliated.
Featured image credit: Astrobites