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Code of Conduct

December 2023

CODATA Code of Conduct for meetings, calls and events

This Code of Conduct outlines our expectations for all participants, speakers and hosts of CODATA meetings, calls, events and other collaborative environments.  This code also details steps for reporting unacceptable behaviour.  The hosts of the meeting or call will enforce this code throughout the call.  We expect cooperation from all participants to help ensure a safe environment for everybody.

The hosts of CODATA meetings, calls and events are committed to providing a harassment-free environment for everyone regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion, first language, nationality, or work experience.

1. When and where to use this Code of Conduct

Your participation relies upon following these guidelines in all activities relating to, including, but not limited to:

  • Presenting, hosting, speaking and networking at in-person CODATA events
  • Presenting, hosting, speaking and using the question and chatbox functions during CODATA online meetings and other calls
  • Posting in shared documents, communicating by email and participating in other CODATA-related collaborative environments.

2. Expected behaviour

The following behaviours are expected of all participants at CODATA meetings, events and calls:

2.1 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 kind in all interactions and communications.  Be aware of your impact and how intense interactions may be affecting people.  Be constructive and positive.  Take responsibility for your impact and your mistakes – if someone says they have been harmed through your words or actions, listen carefully, apologise sincerely, and correct the behaviour going forward.

Be respectful of agreements underpinning how a meeting or event is to be conducted: for example, keeping presentations to the time-limit specified, respecting the protocol for asking questions, refraining from interruptions, respecting confidentiality, or other reasonable requests from the host or chair.  Be aware of how your behaviour may disrupt engagement for other attendees.

Be respectful of people with different cultural practices, attitudes and beliefs.  Work to eliminate your own biases, prejudices and discriminatory practices.  Think of others’ needs from their point of view.  Use preferred titles (including pronouns) where appropriate.  Respect people’s right to privacy and confidentiality.  Be open to learning from and educating others as well as educating yourself.

2.2 Be direct but professional

We must be able to speak directly when we disagree and when we think we need to improve.  Doing so respectfully can be hard, doing so when others don’t seem to be listening is harder, and hearing such comments when one is the recipient can be even harder still.  We need to be honest and direct, as well as respectful and professional.  Try at all times to centre the conversation upon the needs of the project or goal, rather than upon interpersonal dynamics.

2.3 Be inclusive

Seek diverse perspectives.  Diversity of views and of people on teams powers innovation, even if it is not always comfortable.  Encourage all voices.  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 mindful of specific dynamics that may repeat social structures of domination and lead to the exclusion of certain groups from the conversation.  Be aware of how much time is taken up by the dominant members of the group.  Who is not talking?  Provide alternative ways to contribute or participate when possible.

Be inclusive of everyone in an interaction, respecting and facilitating people’s participation, including if/when they are:

  • Remote (on video or phone)
  • Speaking a language other than their first language
  • Coming from a different culture
  • Using different pronouns
  • Living in a different time zone
  • Facing other challenges to participation.

2.4 Understand different perspectives

Our goal should not be to ‘win’ every disagreement or argument.  A more productive goal is to be open to ideas that make our own ideas better.  ‘Winning’ is when different perspectives make our work richer and stronger.

2.5 Lead by example

Your actions influence others to behave and respond in ways that are valuable and appropriate for our organisational outcomes.  Hold yourself and others accountable for inclusive behaviours.

3. Behaviour that will not be tolerated at CODATA meetings, calls and events

The following behaviours are considered to be unacceptable under these guidelines.

  • Violence or threats of violence
  • Use of aggressive or disrespectful language
  • Unwanted sexual attention, including sexualised comments, jokes or imagery in interaction and communication, or unwanted physical contact
  • Derogatory comments or actions that reinforce social structures of domination related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion, first language, nationality, or work experience
  • Intrusive behaviours that violate personal space or privacy such as following or surveillance, unwanted messaging, surreptitious photography or recording, non-consensual sharing of private information, or other harassing behaviours
  • Sustained disruption of talks, chairing, or other interactions
  • Advocating for, defending, or encouraging any of the above behaviours.

4. Consequences of unacceptable behaviour

Unacceptable behaviour from any participants, speakers and/or hosts of meetings, events or calls, including those with decision-making authority, will not be tolerated.  Anyone asked to stop unacceptable behaviour is expected to comply immediately.  Violation of these guidelines can result in you being asked to leave the meeting, event or call, or be removed from the collaborative space, either temporarily or for the duration of the meeting, event, call, or collaborative project; or being banned from participation in future meetings, events or calls and other CODATA activities in perpetuity.

5. Reporting

If you believe you’re experiencing unacceptable behaviour that will not be tolerated as outlined above, within a CODATA meeting, event, call or collaborative space, please report this to the host of the meeting, event or call if possible in the first instance.  If this is not possible, please email one of the following members of the CODATA Compliance Committee:

  • Christine Kirkpatrick, Secretary General, christine[at]
  • Richard Hartshorn, Vice-President, richard.hartshorn[at]
  • Audrey Masizana, Executive Committee Member, masizan[at]
  • Laura Molloy, Senior Research Lead, CODATA Secretariat, laura[at]

If you wish to make an anonymous report to the Compliance Committee, please use this online form.

After receiving a concise description of your situation, the CODATA Compliance Committee will review and determine next steps.  They will involve other colleagues or outside specialists (such as legal advice) as needed to appropriately address each situation.

Please also report to us if you observe a potentially dangerous situation, someone in distress, or violations of these guidelines, even if the situation is not happening to you.

If you feel you have been unfairly accused of violating these guidelines, please follow the same reporting process.

6. Questions

For all feedback and questions regarding this Code of Conduct, please email us at compliance[at]

7. License and attribution

This set of guidelines is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

These guidelines have been adapted with modifications from Mozilla’s Community Participation Guidelines (CC-BY-SA Mozilla) and the eLife Innovation Sprint Code of Conduct (CC-BY-SA eLife Innovation).