Code of Conduct
The aims of ISBA are to promote the field of Bayesian statistics, support the professional development of its members, and foster the exchange of ideas related to the profession. To achieve this, ISBA promotes good conduct in the practice of our profession, in our relationships, and in our society. Here, good conduct includes but is not restricted to scientific and ethical integrity, equality of opportunity and treatment, and respectful non-harassing behavior. These are detailed in the ISBA Professional Ethics, Equal Opportunity, and Anti-Harassment Policies. The purpose of this Code is to establish and enforce recognized standards for good conduct that ISBA and its members commit to uphold and promote. Abiding by this Code is essential for membership in ISBA and for participation in ISBA activities. Here, ISBA activities include but are not restricted to: professional gatherings organized by ISBA, such as conferences and workshops; social occasions organized by ISBA; and communications relating to ISBA or with ISBA members, such as presentations, messages, and conversations.
Standards of Conduct
Members of ISBA and other participants in ISBA activities will:
- Uphold and promote ethical scientific conduct and statistical practice.
- Engage in and support professional development for themselves and others.
- Make every reasonable effort to not disseminate false or misleading information and correct any such act promptly.
- Make every reasonable effort to uphold equal opportunity for all ISBA members.
- Support opportunities for members of underrepresented groups to enter and advance in the profession.
- Strive to ensure that participant interactions are respectful, fair, and free of discrimination and harassment.
- Comply with all applicable laws and professional rules, and all ISBA codes, rules, and policies.
- Report or seek to remedy conduct in conflict with this Code, as per the ISBA Code of Conduct Procedures.
- Abide by the ISBA Code of Conduct Procedures in the event of a conduct review.
Members of ISBA and other participants at ISBA activities will not:
- Act in a manner detrimental to the interests of ISBA or the profession.
- Act or communicate in an unethical or illegal manner.
- Knowingly or carelessly act in a manner that negatively impacts on the professional integrity or equal opportunity of others.
- Knowingly or carelessly act in a manner that endangers the safety or security of others.
- Engage in disrespectful, disruptive, violent, abusive, harassing, or intimidating conduct.
- Use substances (e.g., alcohol) to the extent that they adversely affect behavior or negatively impact on others or the profession.
- Act inconsistently with this Code of Conduct or any other ISBA code, rule, or policy.
- Fail to participate as requested, or retaliate against anyone because of their participation, in an ISBA conduct review carried out under the ISBA Code of Conduct Procedures.
Reporting and Enforcement:Enforcement of this Code of Conduct is governed by the ISBA Code of Conduct Procedures (https://bayesian.org). Members should consult the Procedures if they experience, observe, or know about a contravention of this Code.
Maintenance of the Code of Conduct: This Code of Conduct is the result of an on-going dialogue within ISBA and is subject to periodic review and amendment by the ISBA Board of Directors. By its very nature it cannot be a complete articulation of all conduct obligations of members and participants.
Overview. The purpose of this document is to establish the procedures that will be followed by ISBA in the event of a violation of the ISBA Code of Conduct. ISBA expects all members to work proactively to promote good professional conduct, prevent violations of the ISBA Code of Conduct and to help each other to resolve violations if they occur. Minor concerns that do not rise to the level of a violation of the Code can often be resolved by discussion with the perpetrator. If the affected member is not able or does not feel empowered to do this, they are encouraged to seek help from a trusted colleague or the activity organizer, or report the incident to ISBA. If a violation cannot be resolved immediately or satisfactorily, it should be reported in accordance with the procedures described below.
Professional Conduct Committee. A designated ISBA Committee (“Committee”) has been established by ISBA, to be responsible for administering the Code of Conduct, handling reports of violations, and managing the review of any reported conduct and recommended actions. Members of the Committee will serve a five year term, with one person appointed per year by the Past President, and with the President and Past President as ex-officio members. The committee will be chaired by the Past President.
The Committee will determine the circumstances under which a reported violation of the Code is reviewed, including whether a conduct review process will be conducted internally by the Committee or by engagement of a third party ombudsperson. Reported conduct may be reviewed internally by the Committee, either initially, in part or in whole, if it is a minor violation or, if deemed appropriate, when this is the request of the affected member who made the report. All other matters will be referred to a third party ombudsperson to administer a conduct review on behalf of the Committee. A report may be referred by the Committee to an ombudsperson for review on behalf of the Committee at any time before a final decision on an Outcome.
The ombudsperson will be appointed by the Committee in conjunction with the ISBA Executive Committee, and will be an independent professional consultant with experience in the type of conduct under consideration. The ombudsperson will provide his/her/its findings to the Committee for decision on the Outcome by the Committee or referral by the Committee to the Board for decision, as provided below.
Reporting a Violation. Anyone who experiences, observes, or has knowledge of a violation of the ISBA Code of Conduct should bring it to the attention of the ISBA President or the Committee Chair. If warranted, it should also be reported to a representative of the activity at which the violation occurred, the Police, or other authorities.
While this should be done as soon as possible, the fact that there has been a delay should not be used as a reason not to take action or report a violation.
The person will be invited to discuss their concern with the Committee, explore possible avenues for resolving the issue and, if appropriate, make a formal Conduct Statement (“Statement”) to the Committee.
It is acknowledged that a person may find it difficult to discuss a concern or make a Statement, in which case they are encouraged to seek the help of a trusted friend and/or seek professional help from their workplace or university, trained counsellor, or another source. The ISBA Committee commits to supporting anyone who raises a concern by listening to them, taking their concern seriously, considering their wishes, taking action according to the procedures described below, and keeping them informed throughout any applicable review process.
Conduct Review Process. All Statements received by the Committee will be reviewed internally by the Committee or externally by a third party ombudsperson, as described above. Concerns may be reviewed without a Statement when the concern may impact more than just the person who raises it. Where appropriate, the advice of legal counsel may be sought. The timing, scope, and actions to be taken in each conduct review process will be determined on a case-by-case basis. ISBA will make reasonable efforts to conduct conduct review processes as promptly as the scope of each review dictates.
The Committee will provide notice to any members who may be contacted as part of a conduct review to let them know that a conduct review has commenced and that their participation is requested, and will provide information regarding the nature of their requested participation and any related timing. The Committee will inform other members regarding the conduct review on a need to know basis, and will take such other interim measures as the Committee deems appropriate under the circumstances, such as asking or requiring alleged offenders to abstain from participating in certain or all ISBA activities until the conduct review process has concluded, at which time they will be informed that conduct review has been completed.
Where warranted, all conduct reviews will include but not be limited to: interviews with the reporting party, other involved parties and material witnesses; and review of relevant documents and other information. Any party interested in a conduct review may submit to the Committee (or the third party ombudsperson when applicable) any information, materials or tangible evidence that he/she believes to be relevant, including without limitation names of potential witnesses; documents, digital media, tangible things and other evidence; character references; and, mitigating factors.
Conduct reviews will be conducted with professionalism and fairness to all parties, and any mitigating or aggravating factors that are brought to the attention of the reviewer(s) will be considered. Mitigating factors may include without limitation: consent by the receiving party, severity of the offense, the extent of harm caused or that could have been caused, discrepancies in evidence, length of time since the offense, history before or after the offense, acceptance of responsibility and commitment to change unacceptable behavior, and character references. Aggravating factors may include without limitation the foregoing factors, as well as the circumstances of any prior offense(s).
It is of utmost importance for members to participate fully and honestly in conduct reviews, as ISBA’s ability to enforce this Code is limited by the quality and quantity of information provided to the reviewer(s). While it may attempt to do so when reasonable and practical, ISBA cannot take on the responsibility to obtain information outside its organization.
It is a violation of the Code for any person to retaliate in any way against a person for making a good faith Statement or participating in a conduct review or decision-making under the Code.
A conduct review, whether conducted internally by the Committee or externally by a third party ombudsperson, will conclude with a written Conduct Review Summary which will comprise the Statement, activities undertaken during the conduct review, evidence and findings of fact, any relevant witness credibility and mitigation factors, and a recommended Outcome with supporting justification. The Conduct Review Summary will be presented to the Committee for a decision regarding an Outcome or next steps(see below).
Potential Outcomes. Four Outcomes are possible.
- No action.
This means that the Statement and Conduct Review Summary will be filed and no further action will take place.
Note that this recommendation does not mean that the incident did not occur or that anyone involved in the reporting or investigation process is not believed.
This recommendation might be made, for example, if there is insufficient evidence to justify any action; if it is felt that actions already taken voluntarily or through an informal process were sufficient to address the reported conduct; or if the reporter withdraws permission for the conduct review to continue and requests this Outcome and the Committee or Board decides that such Outcome is appropriate under the circumstances.
- Information Escrow.
This means that the Statement and Conduct Review Summary will be added to a database and no other action will be taken unless further evidence emerges.
This recommendation might be made, for example, if there is insufficient evidence to justify other action but there is sufficient concern to warrant action if a subsequent corroborating report is received; or if the reporter requests this Outcome with no further action at this stage and the Committee or Board decides that such Outcome is appropriate under the circumstances.
- Further investigation.
This recommendation might be made, for example, if the Committee has undertaken an internal investigation and decides that an investigation by a third party ombudsperson is warranted; if a third party review has been undertaken but more time is required to reach a satisfactory conclusion; or if review by another party is required.
An Action will aim to address a violation, remedy harm caused, and/or to otherwise enforce and promote the ISBA Code of Conduct. Actions may include but are not restricted to any combination of the following:
- Verbal or written warning or counseling.
- Requirement of conciliatory efforts that may include a verbal or written apology, informal mediation, or other steps intended to facilitate restoration of relationships.
- Coaching by a designated mentor or professional training at the offender’s expense.
- Service to the ISBA community or the profession.
- Restitution for damage caused to another’s person, property, impairment of opportunity or professional reputation.
- Suspension of eligibility for certain ISBA benefits, e.g.:
- – Attendance and/or participation in specified ISBA activities.
- – Holding a leadership position or other position of trust within ISBA or representing ISBA
- – Awards, to be a presenter, to be published in ISBA materials, or other opportunities
- – Travel grants or similar funding
- Revocation of past awards or honors.
- Suspension of ISBA membership, subject to review for reactivation.
- Expulsion from ISBA membership.
- Referral to the police, university, workplace or other relevant authority.
Any Action may be offered as voluntary or imposed as mandatory for a specified period of time, or, in severe cases, for an unspecified period of time subject to periodic review, or permanently.
Decision-making Process. The Board has delegated to the Committee the authority to make a final Outcome decision in matters involving violations of the Code. In the case of any set of circumstances that may warrant an Action Outcome that is the same or similar to 4(v) – 4(x) above, or in any case where the Committee in its discretion feels that a Board decision is warranted, the Committee will provide a recommendation or referral to the Board, which will make the final decision.
Upon receipt of a Conduct Review Summary the Committee will: (a) make a final decision, ratifying the recommended Outcome in the Conduct Review Summary; or(b) decide on a different Outcome and provide justification for this decision; or(c) provide a recommendation to the Board for a final decision. Referral to the Board may be made without a recommendation if the Committee is unable to reach a decision or if there is a substantial level of concern about the case.
A decision made by the Committee will require a majority vote.
Neither the Committee nor the Board is limited in decision-making by any recommendation presented in a Conduct Review Summary or by the list of Actions above. Further information, including legal counsel, may also be sought before a decision is made.
ISBA will take care to impose Actions that are in proportion to the offense(s), that consider the professional and personal implications for all parties involved, and that further ISBA’s purpose for the Code of Conduct.Continued ISBA membership is contingent upon full compliance with all Actions imposed as mandatory by the Board and ongoing adherence to the ISBA Code of Conduct.
Actions available to ISBA to address violations of this Code are necessarily limited by ISBA’s jurisdiction (ISBA membership and benefits) and resources. As a result, ISBA cannot guarantee good conduct outside ISBA activities. In addition to reporting violations of the ISBA Code of Conduct, individuals are expected to take such other actions as they deem necessary to promote ethical, equitable and harassment-free behavior, and protect themselves, their property and their professional reputation.
In all cases, ISBA reserves the right to report conduct to any applicable law enforcement agency, security staff, event venue, or other authorities. Decisions made by the Committee or the Board are final and are not subject to appeal.
Communication of Decisions. ISBA’s decision and any details related to a conduct review will be promptly communicated to the parties involved in the conduct at issue, on a need to know basis taking into account legal and other considerations, the professional and personal implications for all parties involved, and the purpose of the Code of Conduct. At a minimum, ISBA will inform the reporting party, and potential offenders if they were contacted, that the case has been completed. ISBA reserves the right in its sole discretion to make an announcement at any time to its members or to the public regarding a conduct review and/or outcome of any matter reported pursuant to this Code of Conduct, upon a determination by the Board that it is in the best interest of the society to do so.
Reporting Violations of the Code of Conduct
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (“FAQs”)
Where does one report a violation?
What sorts of violations should be reported?
The ISBA promotes good conduct in the practice of our profession, in our relationships, and in our society. “Good conduct” includes, but is not restricted to, scientific and ethical integrity (including avoidance of plagiarism), equality of opportunity and treatment, and respectful, non-harassing behavior. Please refer to the ISBA Professional Ethics, Equal Opportunity, and Anti-Harassment Policies,as well as to the ISBA Code of Conduct, for more specific details of the Standards of Conduct expected of our members.
Where and when does the ISBA Code of Conduct apply? Does ISBA only review reports regarding activities at meetings primarily sponsored by ISBA?
Violations do not have to occur at ISBA events in order to be reported and reviewed.
Do I have to be a member of ISBA to make a complaint? Does the party about whom the complaint is made have to be an ISBA member?
Who should report a violation? Does it have to be the person directly affected by any such violation?
As outlined in the Code of Conduct, anyone who experiences, observes, or has knowledge of a violation of the ISBA Code of Conduct should bring it to the attention of the ISBA President or the Committee Chair. If warranted, it should also be reported to a representative of the activity at which the violation occurred, the Police, or other authorities.
Is there a deadline for reporting a violation?
A report should be made as soon as possible, but the fact that there has been a delay should not be used as a reason not to take action or report a violation. A reporter should discuss their concern with the Committee and, if appropriate, a formal Conduct Statement (“Statement”) should be submitted.
Can the Statement be verbal, or must it be written?
Witnesses may provide verbal or written information. A written Statement may be requested. Most witnesses will be requested to be interviewed, regardless of whether they have also submitted a written Statement.
Can a Statement be made anonymously?
Yes, but to be used as credible evidence supporting an action recommendation, a Statement typically will need to be validated through an interview. At a minimum, the ISBA representative coordinating the investigation, and the ombudsperson if applicable, will need to know the identity of and contact information for the person providing the information, to confirm that the information comes from a member or other credible source.
How will we protect anonymity?
We cannot guarantee anonymity, because sometimes members will be able to discern identities from circumstances reviewed, and sometimes it may be impossible to conduct a full and fair investigation without disclosing identities. However, our Code of Conduct Procedures provide that information disclosed pursuant to the Procedures will only be shared on a need-to-know basis in the discretion of ISBA. We expect to only need to disclose names of witnesses (other than to the ISBA representative coordinating the investigation and the ombudsperson if applicable, and possibly the Board) when necessary to conduct a full and fair investigation and reach a decision, when necessary for a report to a law enforcement agency, or when required by law, subpoena or court order. If a reporter declines to have his/her name shared, the report may not be able to be used to support an action recommendation.
Will the reporter’s name be released to the person charged?
Yes, when necessary to conduct a full and fair investigation that allows an opportunity for the accused to respond to the accusation and defend himself/herself. If a reporter declines to have his/her name shared, the report may not be able to be used to support an action recommendation.
Will ISBA ever release someone's name to the press?
If someone's name is ever released, will they be told first?
While we cannot currently envision ISBA releasing someone’s name in relation to a conduct review, the circumstances would determine whether the person receives prior notice before such a release. For example, in the case of a report to a law enforcement agency or to other authorities, it might not be appropriate to give advance notice.
Is there recourse against ISBA if they share a person’s information?
Only if there is a violation of law or contract guaranteeing non-disclosure.
Will in-person testimony be required?
Typically, interviews will be conducted by phone or videoconference, but could be in person, if local.
Will the interviews be taped? If so, how will they be recorded?
We have no present intent to do so, but cannot rule out recordation, as it could be useful in circumstances that we cannot now predict. If recorded, interviews will only be released on a need-to-know basis, or pursuant to a subpoena or court order.
Can a spouse/friend listen to or verify the account at a later time? Who is best in this situation? (e.g. A lawyer? Is a spouse considered a credible witness?)
Would a reporter have to sign a non-disclosure agreement at any point in the process?
What will ISBA do if the alleged offender tries to malign the reporter?
ISBA is committed to not allowing or condoning retaliation against anyone who reports information or participates in a conduct review under the Code of Conduct. Retaliation is itself a violation of the Code. Like any other Code violation, allegations of retaliation will be investigated and may result in action by ISBA against the perpetrator.
What recourse does ISBA have against retaliation?
Can a reporter be sued for slander? If so, under what circumstances, and under which jurisdiction?
Slander (a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation) is a violation of law. Any person can be sued for a violation of law in many jurisdictions. Typically, the law that applies would be the law where the bad act is accomplished and/or where it has a negative effect on the victim. In US jurisdictions, truth is one of several defenses that may be available to defend against a claim of slander.
What aspects of the process will depend on local law?
All aspects of the conduct review process and any actions taken will need to comply with local laws in the jurisdictions where they are conducted.
Will ISBA notify the reporter of any decision?
ISBA’s decision and any details related to a conduct review will be promptly communicated to the parties involved in the investigation, on a need-to-know basis, considering legal and other considerations, the professional and personal implications for all parties involved, and the purpose of the Code of Conduct. At a minimum, ISBA will inform the reporting party, and potential offenders if they were contacted, that the conduct review has been completed.
Does the Code of Conduct mean to imply that if I don't engage in my own professional development, I'm violating ISBA's code of conduct?
There is no quantitative or qualitative requirement in this statement, only that members support such activities, which support is not required to be active but may be passive or silent. Therefore, a member will not be reviewed for failure to do enough or for failure to engage in the “right” activities. A member’s conduct could be reviewed under this provision, for example, for engaging in activities that undermine the Society’s or another member’s professional development.
Some of the statements in the Code of Conduct could include very broad behaviour and actions that seems to be outside the scope of the Society or the remit of the Committee. How do I know what is within and outside scope?
Any ISBA member is welcome to discuss specific concerns of this nature with a member of the Committee. According to the Procedures, anyone who wishes to make a complaint is first invited to have a discussion with the Committee to ascertain whether a formal report should go forward. A complaint that is considered to be outside the scope of ISBA or the remit of the Committee would be documented (according to the Procedure for all complaints) but generally would lead to a no action recommendation. In some cases we might wish to act on an action unrelated to ISBA directly (e.g., sexual assault of student at a university) to protect our members. Complaints about activities that do not pose any risk of harm to ISBA members would likely result in a recommendation of no action.
What if an ISBA member is arrested in a political protest or is persecuted by his or her own government? What if an ISBA member gets a DUI?
ISBA is only concerned with behaviors by members that have the potential to adversely affect ISBA or our members.
Does the anti-harassment policy intend to cover my expressing my aversion to an opposing political party?
Not in general. The Code calls out “Belittling or threatening behavior directed at an individual or a group of people, including, but not limited to: epithets, slurs or negative stereotyping; offensive remarks; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; offensive verbal or written comments; disrespectful, dishonest or bullying comments on social media; sustained disruption of talks or other events, or harassing questions designed to humiliate or embarrass a presenter; or degrading jokes.” ISBA would be concerned if such sentiments were posted directly to our website, where other members with differing views may find them harassing, or if they were used to attack a member specifically, for his or her political views.
Updated: June 10, 2018
Original posting: May 27, 2018