Ethics and Values

Table of Contents

Overview

On these pages I have documented some of my professional values, expectations, and ethics. I post these documents here, in public, so current and prospective students can know what to expect in my classes, lab, and field research. I also want to share with the broader research community what I believe to be the best practices for common professional activities.

The goal of having these documents is to help us transparently and openly manage our expectations. This make it easier for us to enjoy our learning and research work, while minimizing misunderstandings and bad assumptions. If you are a student, these are the documents that we start with when we discuss our expectations in greater detail.

Most of the content is adapted from the sources acknowledged below, so these are mostly professional norms in academia that are typical and widely held. Although not of the content here is original, it does truly express my values, ethics and expectations, and I refer to these documents regularly when working with students.

Ethics

Code Ethics

I endorse the Code is Science Manifesto and the Science Code Manifesto. I prefer open code over closed (all source code written specifically to process data for a published paper must be available to the reviewers and readers of the paper), recognise that incorrect code results in incorrect science, try to follow good coding practices from the start of the project, prefer availability over perfection (the copyright ownership and license of any released source code must be clearly stated), and that code deserves credit. I support publication of research software packages, for example in Journal of Open Source Software, and recommend the rOpenSci Guide to R Package Development, Maintenance, and Peer Review

Data Ethics

I support the The Denton Declaration and the Panton Principles: Open access to research data is critical for advancing science, scholarship, and society. Research data, when repurposed, has an accumulative value. Publicly funded research should be publicly available for public good. Transparency in research is essential to sustain public trust. Data should be openly available only if it does not cause harm. The validation of research data by the peer community is an essential function of the responsible conduct of research. Managing research data is the responsibility of a broad community of stakeholders including researchers, funders, institutions, libraries, archivists, and the public. The FAIR and CARE principles guide how I work with data.

Authorship Ethics

It is important that all authors on a paper deserve the credit. I follow the ICMJE guidelines and use the CRediT (Contributor Roles Taxonomy) for determining when co-authorship is warranted. I encourage my students to use these guidelines when working with others. I support the Bullied Into Bad Science campaign to provide a fairer, more open and ethical research and publication environment for early career researchers.

Reviewing Ethics

My approach to peer review is based on the ethical guidelines for peer reviewers by COPE. I use the COPE flowchart when responding to invitations to peer review. In my peer reviews of scholarly literature I follow the guidelines of the Peer Reviewers’ Openness Initiative. This means that I cannot recommend a paper for publication unless data and materials are (or will be at the time of publication) openly available at a trustworthy online repository. I support the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment and make assessments based on scientific content rather than publication metrics. In my reviews I aim to follow two rules: Say what is good about a piece of work, and say how it can be improved. I encourage my students to use these guidelines when doing their own peer reviews.

Code of Conduct for the UW Geoarchaeology Laboratory and Field Research Projects

This document is primarily aimed at graduate students. Some sections are also relevant to undergraduates, please ask if you have questions about what parts are appropriate to you.

Purpose

This document should be viewed as a tool to initiate discussion during the early stages of the graduate program, with an awareness that the relationship and expectations will evolve with time. We use this template not only for verbal discussion but also as a written letter of understanding that will help to guide the relationship and expectations of the student, their PI, and the relevant departments/faculties. The hope is that this agreement clarifies questions that arise in the lab setting and reduces conflict or tension to make everyone’s interactions more enjoyable.

The code

The UW Geoarchaeology Laboratory and Ben Marwick’s field research projects and on-campus class communities are committed to a harassment-free policy

We value the participation of every member of our community and want to ensure that every member has an enjoyable and fulfilling learning and working experience. Accordingly, everyone who participates is expected to show respect and courtesy to other participants at all times.

To make clear what is expected, all participants (including myself) must conform to the following Code of Conduct:

We are dedicated to a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of age, disability, gender, gender identity and expression, national origin, physical appearance, religion, relationship status, or sexual orientation. Harassment includes offensive comments related to age, body size, deliberate intimidation, disability, gender, gender identity and expression, physical appearance, race, religion, relationship status, or sexual orientation. Harassment also includes discouraging comments, excessive negative comments, harassing photography or recording, inappropriate physical contact, personalisation of critique, stalking, sexual images in public spaces, sustained disruption of talks or other events, unwanted following, and unwelcome sexual attention. We do not tolerate harassment by and/or of members of our community in any form.

In order to foster a positive and professional learning and research environment we encourage the following kinds of behaviours in all activities and communication platforms:

In summary:

Participants asked to stop any harassing or disrespectful behavior are expected to comply immediately. Participants who violate these rules – no matter how much they have contributed to the UW Geoarchaeology Laboratory, field research projects or classroom activities, or how specialized their skill set – will need to meet with Ben and/or other faculty and staff. If inappropriate behaviour persists after a discussion with Ben, the perpetuator will be asked to discontinue their participation.

To report violation, you can do any of the following:

Expectations and Responsibilities

Big Picture

Science is hard. But it’s also fun. In the Geoarchaeology Lab and during Field Research, we want to make sure that everyone experiences a positive, engaging, supportive, challenging, and rewarding environment. To maintain that environment, we all have to do a few things.

Small Picture

There are a few day-to-day things to keep in mind to keep lab and field research running smoothly.

Communicating

Here are some general rules of thumb to guide our communications:

Communicating effectively is a responsibility that we share.

Here are some skills that I strive to practice in my communication. By following these, it will help you take responsibility for your communications, and help you become more effective at communicating with me and other people:

  1. Clarity: Clear writing and speech allows me to understand your intended message. Consider your choice of words and structure to have your message as simple to follow as possible.
  2. Completeness: Be sure to include all required components and try to anticipate questions that I may have, and prepare answers in advance. Your message should be complete enough for me to take action and/or respond.
  3. Conciseness: Be brief where you can so your message is not drawn out to confuse me (I’m easily confused!). Ask yourself: is this sentence is necessary, or will deleting it make my message clearer and more direct? Be concise enough while providing all of the necessary information to be complete, it can be a balancing act.
  4. Concreteness: Reinforce your words with specific details to eliminate the possibility of me misunderstanding or doubting your message.
  5. Correctness: Make sure that the message you are sending is correct containing accurate information. Utilize reliable sources when gathering research for your message. When providing this information to me and others, be sure your grammar, spelling, and punctuation are correct as well.
  6. Courtesy: Respect others and remember that your communication reflects directly on you. Be sure your choice of words and approach is always professional and courteous to me and others who may be hearing/reading it.
  7. Creativity: Use your voice to interpret and relay information in a way that suits you best. Be creative in your approach to the message and allow for your message to reflect your personality.

Responsibilities for graduate and undergraduate students

As a graduate student, it is your responsibility to:

As an undergraduate student doing independent research with me, it is your responsibility to:

As a PI, it is my responsibility to:

Undergraduate research

Undergraduate researchers play an important role in our lab, and we have a few opportunities for them to earn money or credit for their contributions. Because these opportunities require a certain degree of commitment from both the student and the lab, we generally reserve them for students who have already spent at least one quarter volunteering in lab. If this policy would prevent you from being able to work in the lab, please talk to me because we want all students to be able to pursue their research interests.

In addition to volunteering in lab, other research opportunities include:

If you’re an undergraduate student and you want to pursue any of these options, talk to me.

Field research expectations for students

Archaeological fieldwork can be exciting as well as physically and mentally challenging. My fieldwork is often in remote locations with limited access to clean water, electricity, internet connectivity, and comfortable places to sit or sleep. Because of these limitations, it may not be possible to make accommodations for students with disabilities during field research, please discuss your needs with me in advance. Despite the challenging conditions, field research can be great fun, and an excellent learning experience. Here are my expectations for students joining me in field research (adapted from Sara Perry):

We commit to enjoying our experience and embrace the fun, intensity, and exhaustion that comes with fieldwork. We understand that fieldwork is challenging and that equipment breaks, people get tired, stress levels elevate, and things happen that are out of our control. I’m here to support you as we face these challenges. Plans and conditions can change rapidly during fieldwork: I expect you to be open to many possibilities and to the exploration of options. We endeavor to compromise, exercise patience and understanding, and be solutions to the problem when necessary. We commit to negotiating these challenges in a respectful and caring way, responding rather than reacting, and resolving that which can be resolved and accepting that which cannot. When communicating with me and others under difficult conditions I encourage you to use appropriate humor, use a positive, optimistic framing, and assume there will be a good outcome.

We recognise you participate in field research to learn new skills and gain experience. We commit to helping you develop new skills in the field alongside meeting the needs of the project. I expect you to be ready learn new things. If you are not comfortable in any situation at all, for any reason at all (for example, you feel you are not properly equipped or prepared, or you feel you are in danger), I expect you to tell someone immediately so we can help you. For graduate students, I expect you to be involved in post-excavation research, publication, and other opportunities following the conclusion of the fieldwork, unless we have discussed this prior to you joining me in the field.

We strongly value team work in the field: I expect you to be ready to be involved in all relevant field research activities. I expect you to take a collaborative approach to solving problems encountered in the field: use ‘we’ and ‘us’ more than ‘I’ and ‘me’ when discussing field research activities. All aspects of our professional contributions to the project are discussed and agreed upon together, and all tasks - although they might be led by individual team members - are developed through collaborative practice. Devotion to supporting the team, working as a team player, providing constructive critique to your team members, and respecting the interests of the team as a successful working group (without compromising their safety or security, as described below), are paramount.

We are committed to prioritising and championing the people and communities that host us. Fieldwork does not occur without public, community, and stakeholder support. From the permitting process through to fieldwork, there are many who assist us. We are always guests on someone else’s land/water and we are often studying someone else’s culture. We will respect local needs, interests, and customs and develop meaningful relationships with our partners and hosts that reach beyond our permitted time. We will endeavor to be inclusive and collaborative in all aspects of our work with the community and partners. We attend events and participate in activities that are organised by our host communities. We respect, care for and create long-lasting friendships with our hosts. We aim to abide by local expectations around dress and custom, and if working in communities where the primary language is not our own, we are committed to learning the language. We maintain links with our hosts after the project ends and we support their future professional endeavours.

We are committed to the working hours, professional expectations and responsibilities defined by the overall project directors. We typically work as part of a larger project team guided by wider goals than ours alone. We are aware of their responsibilities, we have read the necessary guidance documents, we have understood and signed the necessary insurance and risk assessment documentation, and in all cases, we respect and abide by the instructions given by the directors. This includes zero tolerance in relation to behaviour that compromises the wellbeing, equality, security or dignity of other human beings, as described below.

We are representatives and extensions of the University of Washington and its staff, and of the professional bodies to which we and our project leaders are subscribed. We recognise our duty of care to, and our responsibility for professionalism in, not only the communities where we work and reside, but the university and surrounding organisations to which we and our project leaders are accountable. Our behaviours reflect on these institutions and we acknowledge that our direct supervisor is (and therefore we too are) bound by the ethical and professional codes of both UW and our other institutional affiliations (the Society for American Archaeology, and others). Considering these obligations, you agree with the following:

I will come to my direct supervisor the moment that I experience problems, challenges or trouble of any kind. I will keep them informed of any issues that I feel may manifest themselves in relation to myself, my teammates or affiliates while in the field. If I feel I need support beyond my direct supervisor, I will turn to the 2nd lead for their advice. I have already disclosed to my direct supervisor any potential matters of concern (which may include matters relating to health, psychological and physical wellbeing, security, equality, confidence, interpersonal relations, previous travel or fieldwork experiences, etc.) so that they are aware of them and can mitigate them prior to departing for - and during - fieldwork. If I have not yet disclosed such matters, I agree to do so as soon as possible. I have shared this information in confidence, with an expectation of complete privacy unless urgent medical, safety/security or other legal intervention is required.

We recognise that fieldwork can be intense, emotional and challenging. I understand that things can go wrong, that we may need to compromise, and that in exceptional circumstances, we made need to shorten or modify your work on site to help manage these circumstances. In such cases, we will have a series of conversations about how to deal with difficulties, led by your direct supervisor. If the difficulties are not resolved within 7 days of identification, we will consult with the university for their guidance. If it is agreed with the university that the difficulties are unresolvable in the field, we will help you to organise your safe return home.

We have the right to a safe, secure and non-threatening working and living environment. We do not tolerate any form of discriminatory, abusive, aggressive, harassing, threatening, sexually- or physically-intimidating, or related problematic behaviours that compromise the wellbeing, equality, security or dignity of other human beings (whether those humans are our peers, colleagues, supervisors, collaborators, local community members or any persons at all). Our supervisors are trained in supporting those who have experienced or are experiencing harassment. They are obliged to investigate and respond to observed, implied or directly reported harassment. Considering this zero-tolerance policy, you agree to the following:

I will not engage in behaviour that compromises the wellbeing, equality, security or dignity of other human beings. I recognise that if I am implicated in such behaviour I will be required to leave the project at my own expense and may be subject to criminal investigation.

If I witness others being subjected to such behaviour, I will report it immediately to my direct supervisor. If I feel I cannot speak to my direct supervisor, then I will contact the University of Washington’s Department of Anthropology Chair.

If I myself feel unsafe or uncomfortable, I will report it immediately to my direct supervisor. My supervisor will support me and will implement actions to keep me safe while working to stop the behaviour. If I feel I cannot speak to my direct supervisor, then I will contact the University of Washington’s Department of Anthropology Chair.

My commitment to creating and maintaining safety and security for all extends to my online (web and social media) and mobile phone interactions, and I recognise that the process for reporting and acting on threatening online/mobile phone behaviours is the same as above.

Policies and Guidelines

Accommodations for students with disabilities

For students with disabilities or specific medical needs, we will meet to discuss what accommodations should be made to your work schedule or lab responsibilities to facilitate your productivity in the lab without compromising on your physical or mental health. Before we talk, you should have already made contact with the UW Disability Resources for Students (DRS) Unit. If changes in your needs occur over time, we will meet again to revise this accommodation. My aim is to prioritize your health for the good of the lab community.

Meetings

Lab meetings will occur weekly, unless interrupted by a research meting or a holiday. Attendance is required and it is important that you come prepared when it is your turn to share. I will notify you of changes to the schedule at least a day in advance. In addition, I will meet individually with graduate students on a weekly basis to discuss progress and help when needed. The timing of these meetings may change depending on projects, pending publications, and your graduate defense. We will address this as needed.

Lab documents

It is your responsibility to maintain a detailed, organized, and accurate record of your research. Lab notebooks are lab property and therefore must be maintained to a standard where they can be interpreted by others. Any computer code that you generate must be properly documented and archived to ensure its reproducibility not only by others, but also by yourself when time passes.

Research compendia

To the best of our ability, we practice open science; the default is set to ‘open’. We recognise that not all archaological data is suitable for the public domain, so our general approach is ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’. Where possible, all raw data, metadata, analyzed data, figures, and code developed in the lab to accompany published papers will be organised into a research compendium, and freely available online according to best practices. Minimally, these materials must be accompanied by a ‘README’ file that gives details about what is in the compendium, and how to use it. We use the Open Science Framework for public materials and lab-only materials. Here are some of my favourite short guides to writing reproducible research papers: The British Ecological Society’s Guides to Better Science: Reproducible Code, the Association of Geographic Information Laboratories in Europe’s Reproducible Paper Guidelines and The Alan Turing Institute’s ‘The Turing Way’

Presentations

Under my guidance, you are expected to be able to present your work in department seminars and external meetings as soon as you begin generating data. You will engage fully in the scientific program of the conferences that you attend. You should aim to present at program and departmental seminars 1-2 times per year in addition to attending one scientific conference per year. We also encourage blogging, writing for public audiences, and open, professional discussion of research on social media. When preparing your abstract for a presentation, please follow this ‘how to’ by Nature, and circulate it to me for feedbacks at least one week before the submission deadline.

When designing your slides, please use sentence headlines and visual evidence. A rough rule-of-thumb for planning that seems to work for many types of presentations is to have approximately one slide for each minute that you have to present. This works best when your slides are mostly graphics and visuals, with sign-post slides to divide up major sections of the presentation, and a few progressive builds (a build is when you present only a portion of the slide then click to reveal remaining portions). Here are some of my favourite pieces of advice on preparing and giving presentations, please take a look before you begin your preparations: Ten Simple Rules for Making Good Oral Presentations, Successful vs. effective research presentations, How to give a great scientific talk, Scientific presentations: A cheat sheet, Ways to give an effective seminar about your research project

Manuscripts

Depending on your experience and level of comfort with writing a scientific manuscript, my level of engagement related to writing will change. It is often the case that the first manuscript is written largely by the PI and/or by any other more senior author who had contributed to the study, with lots of input from you, the trainee and first author of the manuscript. You will, for instance, be asked to make figures, help outline the flow, and edit the text. However, I expect you to be largely responsible for the writing of a second manuscript. Aim to write with style, the simplest way to do this is use short sentences. I have many resources to help with writing that I love to share, here’s an inspiring video and a folder of PDFs that I often refer to myself.

Manuscripts should include a paragraph at the end of the methods section with the heading “Reproducibility and Open Materials” that gives the DOI to where the reader can find the code and data used to produce the figures, tables, and statistical results presented in the paper. It should also give the licenses used for those materials (e.g. MIT for code, CC-BY for figures, CC-0 for data). Always show a manuscript (or revision) to all authors before submitting it, giving them the opportunity to comment and approve. Go over page proofs carefully, including the references. There is almost always a mistake (ours, or introduced by the publisher).

Authorship will be discussed prior to the beginning of a new project, so that expectations are clearly defined (see my ethics statement elswhere here for more details on this). However, changes to authorship may occur over the course of a project if a new person becomes involved or if someone is not fulfilling their planned role. In general, I expect that graduate students and postdocs will be first authors on publications on which they are the primary lead, and I will be the last author. I encourage the posting of pre-prints on non-profit pre-print services such as https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/ and https://arxiv.org/.

Time Off

I expect you to be productive in your research and the other elements of your graduate program (teaching etc.). How you achieve this is ultimately up to you and should be customized to fit your working style. If you or I feel like you are not progressing adequately, you or I should discuss the situation and work together to find a more suitable and productive working schedule. Vacations and work-life balance are important for creative thinking and good health. However, please consult with me before making plans, and understand that some activities are time-sensitive (e.g., sampling, preparing for grants, manuscripts, exams, or conferences). I am also certainly willing to accommodate sick and/or parental leave as required, and will determined this on a case-by-case basis. Before I take a vacation, I will provide the lab with at least one week notice so that we can all work around my absence without loss of productivity. When I am on vacation, I prefer to be contacted via email in the case of lab-based emergencies.

Career development

A very worthwhile use of your time as a graduate student is to actively cultivate your professional development in non-research contexts. Becoming a successful scientist requires more than just academic research. You are expected to continually develop as a teacher, as a scientific ambassador to the general public, and your scientific network. This may include taking advantage of professional programs offered through the university, active participation in external seminars, attending classes without direct applications to your research, conferences, workshops, and membership in professional societies. If your participation in a career-building course, program, or event requires you to reduce your time spent in the lab, we will discuss it on a case-by-case basis.

Flexible working hours

While I sometimes send emails outside my normal office hours, I have no expectation to receive a reply from you outside of normal business hours. Please don’t feel you have to reply to me instantly, instead use your professional judgment to determine when your reply should be sent, and take time to ensure your reply is an effective communication. The hours that members of the lab choose to work is up to them. We are each welcome to send work-related emails or communications over the weekend or late at night, but no lab members are required to reply to them outside of their typical work hours. Lab members are welcome to work flexibly for any reason. Ideally, all lab members will have at least a few hours each week to overlap with Ben in order to stay in touch on any challenges or successes, but it is the policy of the Lab that every member is already self-motivated and doesn’t need to work a traditional 9 to 5 day in order to meet their goals. If you experience any challenges related to flexible working within the lab please contact Ben Marwick. All communication will be treated as confidential.

Recommendation letters

It is part of my job (and, thankfully, quite often a pleasure) to write letters of recommendation for students. Please give me as much notice as possible, and make sure I know the deadline, format (electronic? printed?), official name of the organization, what you are applying for, and so on. Please study the excellent guidance on getting letters here which tells you how to prepare to request a letter from me. If you are asking for a letter to support your application to graduate programs, do follow the guidance on preparing your statement of purpose here, and share your statement with me. If you are an undergraduate, please remind me what class you took with me, and in what year and quarter, and I will write your letters on my own. For more senior lab members, I will also write your letters on my own, but please send me some bullet points to focus my letter on. The first few times you do this it will probably feel awkward. However, keep in mind that your goal is to make it as easy as possible for a letter writer (in this case, me) to complete the task by the deadline and without error. This is extremely helpful in jogging my memory and will give me more time to focus on saying good things about you. Don’t worry about being too ‘braggy’; I have no problem toning things down if need be. Like everything else, communication is key, and when in doubt, ask!

Acknowledgements

The text here includes material from:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.