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Code of Conduct for NExSS Affiliates

Drafted: August 30, 2016

NExSS Affiliate Responsibilities

Collaboration and the open exchange of information are vital to the success of NExSS. To facilitate complete and timely sharing among members, members agree to protect all intellectual property shared at all virtual and in-person meetings, via e-mail exchanges, etc. The intent is not to limit information exchange but to enable it. Information is to be taken in its broadest context; including data, results, figures, text, code, ideas, plans, goals, speculations, etc.

Affiliates will contribute to NExSS objectives within the context of their funded research. They will engage in coordinated activities leading to product deliverables as well as collaborative research. Members are encouraged to openly share information about team activities that evolve as a result of NExSS interactions. This includes posting information to the affiliate-secure side of the NExSS website to facilitate intellectual exchange and open participation. Affiliates may be asked to give status reports on collaborative NExSS investigations. Others may join the investigation at any time, with permission from the investigation lead. If an affiliate decides that they no longer wish to lead an investigation, or that time constraints do not permit a timely completion of the paper or final report, the investigation should be offered to others. If two or more members wish to lead the same investigation, every effort will be made by the NExSS Co-Leaders to fairly decide who will run the investigation and be lead author.

In order to foster an atmosphere that encourages the free expression and exchange of scientific ideas, it is vital that all participants in NExSS should enjoy an environment free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. To that end, NExSS participants shall collaborate under the philosophy of equality of opportunity and treatment for all members, regardless of gender, gender identity or expression, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion or religious belief, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities, veteran status, or any other reason not related to scientific merit. Bullying or harassment, sexual or otherwise, is a form of misconduct that undermines the integrity of NExSS collaborations. Violators of this policy will be subject to discipline as explained below.

Similarly, NExSS members will conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with the Ethics Policy adopted by the American Astronomical Society (AAS):

Blatant violations of this policy will be subject to discipline as explained below.

The NExSS Co-Leaders and NASA Representatives will resolve disputes. Violation of the standards for professional behavior by an affiliate, as outlined above, will likely result in dismissal from NExSS. Improper conduct also includes but is not limited to: attempting to publish, present results, or submit proposals independently of NExSS if they are based on information presented to NExSS by other team members, and sharing information with people not affiliated with NExSS without the consent of NExSS.

Publication Policy

Any publications that arise from collaborative efforts between NExSS affiliates or between affiliates and members should follow the same basic protocols followed by other science investigations. The first author is the person who leads the investigation from conception to fruition and/or writes the bulk of the paper. Alternatively, the first author is the person who was selected by the co-authors to take the lead based on substantial merit.

All persons making a substantive contribution to the investigation should be invited to co-author the publication, contribute text, and review the manuscript for technical accuracy. Authors should make every effort to recognize minor contributions in the acknowledgements section of the manuscript. It is highly recommended that lead authors receive a written communication from all co-authors stating that they have read the paper and agree with the applied methods and conclusions.

NExSS affiliates have the privilege of regular communication and exchange of ideas with experts from widely varying disciplines and geographical locations. With this privilege comes added responsibility. Because the consortium is large and disperse, because virtual modes of communication can be somewhat impersonal, extra vigilance is required to ensure that intellectual property is respected and that all contributors are adequately acknowledged or included in publications.

Ideas are a form of intellectual property. They are shared in NExSS meetings and telecons in the spirit of collaboration. One should not assume that information shared in NExSS communications can be used freely. We encourage both transparency and inclusiveness as a means of avoiding issues. Open dialog about the projects and papers affiliates are involved in (related to NExSS goals) should reduce duplication of effort while also increasing collaborations between scientists with similar interests.

NExSS affiliates are encouraged to give ample opportunity for other affiliates to author papers, especially those researchers in the formative years of their careers. We recognize that investigations forming the basis of a doctoral thesis require time to develop. It is expected that extra precautions will be taken to protect and encourage student research projects.
From time to time, problems arise. Most are the result of broken communication between individuals with good intentions. Occasionally, more serious conflicts arise. The NExSS co-Leaders and/or NASA representatives are willing to help mediate such situations. Blatant disregard of the ethical protocols described above, determined on a case-by-case basis, will not be tolerated and will result in discontinued access to NExSS mailing lists, web servers, telecons, and events.

Acknowledgement Statement

Publications by affiliates that benefitted from NExSS collaborations should include an acknowledgement to your programmatic funding institution. In addition, the statement below should be placed in the acknowledgement section immediately after your programmatic funding information:

The results reported herein benefitted from the authors’ affiliation with the NASA's Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS) research coordination network sponsored by NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

This website is being run by Knowinnovation Inc. and is supported by the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI). LPI is operated by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) under a cooperative agreement with NASA. The purpose of this site is to facilitate communication from and between scientists that are part of the Nexus for Exoplanet Systems Science (NExSS). Although NExSS is led by researchers whose funding comes from NASA, NExSS is a community endeavor. As such, any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NASA.