Enter your Email:
Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

« Guest Post by Shira Gabriel: Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls | Main | bitter carrots* »


Lee Jussim

If "civility" warrants an online petition with signatories, given that civility is relevant to the interpersonal, personal, moral, and social sensibilities of scientists but not to the conduct, openness, interpretation, or validity of the actual science itself, then this certainly does.

This post is inspiring. I am delighted to find myself in the position of being the first, however unofficial, signatory.

Lee Jussim

Rob MacCoun

For a less sweeping (more timid?) aspiration, see the "epistemic contract":


Happy New Year!

Steve Lindsay

Well said!

Scott wagner

That's a long contract! A bit daunting how much longer it is than the scout's oath; can't be appended to my morning affirmations.

In my experience, these principles are easier to see among women scientists. Has to do with whether one's notion of competition is unduly testosterone-tinged or not, I suspect, like so many other things. I wonder if others notice it. To me, it's a screamer of a differential. As you've said a lot, disagreement strikes near the center of doing science, but rejection and anger and undue silences seem so axiomatic. In psych especially, divides happen where, ironically, synergies could add value to modified versions of both. I'm thinking of moral and personality psych at the moment.

Having been nice about women, it's quite apt to see Lee sign on and strap in first; always banging around in the philosophy of the affair, being the first-principles référent. Thanks for so much through the years, Lee.

Anon Scientist

I know you mentioned at the beginning a disclaimer that you're not speaking as editor of one of SPSP's journals, but that got me to thinking about this oath in related to SPSP's Code of Conduct:


My reading of it is that anything you say or write online that the other side may find "offensive" would be in violation:

"Harassment includes offensive verbal or written comments, and negative behavior, either in real or virtual space..." (then it goes on to say that includes those which are based on age, race,etc.. but it does not say it's limited to those).

We've seen a number of prominent people in the field come out against the transparency and replication movement, even labeling such people as "data terrorists".

So I'm guessing one side or the other of the issue is likely to find the opposite side's view "offensive". Would that be in violation of SPSP's code of conduct, if they expressed that view at the conference or online?

I'm sure you can get what I'm getting at -- it seems like the Code of Conduct is way too broad and can stifle legitimate academic inquiry.


I have a modest proposal (although I appreciate the risks of "writing by committee", and/or having someone else tweak one's great ideas). At the end of the third paragraph, after "Similarly, I will recognize as valuable...", I would add something like this:

"To this end, I will respond in a timely manner to good-faith enquiries about my research, to the full extent that is necessary to establish the truth of the matter. If asked, I will defend before my peers any decision not to respond to any particular inquiry."

The first part is there because, unlike the criminal justice system (I would totally defend a researcher's right not to answer questions in court if accused of, say, grant fraud), I don't think there is a right to remain silent in science. If you publish an article, I would argue that you are making a moral commitment to providing essentially unlimited after-sales service on it to your peers.

The last bit is worded as it is because, while there are some time-wasters out there, it can be tempting to hide behind vague claims of inappropriate behaviour, stalking, cyber-bullying, etc. If I refuse to respond to Troll X then I should, as a minimum, be prepared to publish their unreasonable demand and show why I think it is unreasonable (and if the harassment is criminal in nature, I should show what remedial action I have taken). Simply mentioning second-hand anecdotes about "chilling attacks" does not seem to me to be appropriate behaviour for a scientist.


"i've been thinking a lot about what it means to be a scientist. being a scientist comes with certain obligations, and ignoring those obligations can give science a bad name. it seems to me we could do more to make scientists aware of this responsibility when they decide whether or not to join the profession."

I agree with (the sentiment of) this a lot! Thank you for writhing this. I view being a scientist as a responsibility. This is largely why i joined the "open science" movement about 7 years ago, and continued with it even when i did not want to be part of academia anymore. How could i turn my back on something that i knew about, and thought was wrong...

Perhaps i have come full circle now, because i think i am feeling, and doing, the same thing again concerning many "improvements" and "solutions" this "open science" movement has recently produced (for my issues with several of these "improvements" see here: http://eiko-fried.com/reflections-on-aps-18-open-science-transparency-and-inclusion/#comment-5395)

Just like i did not want to be part of academia anymore 7 years ago after finding out all the things that were wrong with it, i now don't want to be part of what (i fear) "open science" is becoming and/or what some folks seem to think it should be...

I found this all very hard to do: how could i "go against" all these "open science" folks who (i assume) want to make things better...

I reasoned Science is what should come first, and this also means scientists have the responsibility to speak up and/or criticize things that they view might be "bad" for Science. Even when that means criticizing the people who (you think) are the ones who will "make things better", and criticizing the ideas which are supposed to "improve" matters.

I would like to add to your blog post that just because it has been given the label “open science”, and just because certain “open science” folks think of them, doesn’t mean the “improvements” or the people who suggest them, are exempt of critical thought.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)