Botanical Society of America

Guidelines for Professional Ethics

In conducting their research, teaching, and service, botanists often must confront difficult ethical issues related both to their field of specialty, data collection needs and methods, and to the dissemination and use of their findings both in research and teaching. Because botanists are a diverse group with varying scientific backgrounds and professional affiliations, their ethical problems are both diverse and complex. This document presents guidelines for professional behavior for members of the BOTANICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA.

  1. MEMBERS OF THE BOTANICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE PUBLIC:

    A.
    They will strive to use and disseminate their knowledge, skills, and training to enhance the well-being of humans through teaching, research, and service. They will specifically refuse to work professionally on any research or teach concepts that in their judgment will result in misinformation or harm;
    B.
    They will strive to maintain professional competence and will not offer advice on subjects about which they are uninformed;
    C.
    They will not engage in nor will they allow the dissemination of information about botany that is false, misleading, or will lead to the destruction of rare and/or endangered/threatened plant species;
    D.
    They will not be a party to any misconduct or unethical behavior, and when perceived in others, they will take appropriate corrective steps.

  2. MEMBERS OF THE BOTANICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE RESEARCH COMMUNITY:

    A.
    They will communicate clearly and honestly to all with whom they work the objectives and possible consequences of their research by oral and/or printed means. They will support the peer review process. If the research has a commercial objective, researchers will make that explicit, and will disclose within reason the expectations for results;
    B.
    They will comply with all rules and limitations that local people, their communities, or their institutions place on the research, provided that such rules and limitations do not violate other guidelines listed here. They will not attempt to gain information through deception, nor will they "trick" people into revealing "secret" information. They will offer to supply any reports or materials resulting from their research;
    C.
    They will respect any request for confidence made by those providing data or materials, provided that maintaining such confidence does not compromise other ethical considerations;
    D.
    They will respect individuals' rights to anonymity and the rights of privacy of those with whom they work;
    E.
    When materials or information obtained from colleagues can be reasonably expected to have commercial value, members will arrange with employers for equitable compensation for those who have provided the information and/or plants, and will do all in their power to ensure that fair compensation is made;
    F.
    They will refrain from any activity which appears to represent a conflict of interest;
    G.
    They will ensure humane treatment of animals used for plant experimentation;
    H.
    They will adhere to the authorship and publication practices in the field of science and the American Journal of Botany.

  3. MEMBERS OF THE BOTANICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES TO HOST GOVERNMENTS AND OTHER HOST INSTITUTIONS:

    A.
    They will comply honestly and completely with all regulations requesting disclosure of project objectives, sponsorship and methods, as well as supply reports and specimens to perform specified services (e.g., seminars and training);
    B.
    They will, when the situation requires, make clear that they will not compromise their professional ethics as a condition of their receiving clearance to do research. Specifically, they will take no actions that might jeopardize the safety or well being of either those with whom they are working or any other individuals;
    C.
    They will assist their colleagues in enhancing the physical and human resources of their institutions and nations.

  4. MEMBERS OF THE BOTANICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE PROFESSION:

    A.
    They will maintain a level of integrity and professional behavior in the field so as not to jeopardize future research by others;
    B.
    They will not present as their own the work of others, and will credit earlier published studies and individuals whose results they are confirming;
    C.
    They will not allow, to the limits of their abilities, their materials to be used for fraudulent or harmful purposes;
    D.
    They will not allow nor practice discrimination or harassment in any form, and when they perceive it in the actions of others, they will take the appropriate corrective steps;
    E.
    They will serve as mentors, where appropriate, and maintain a professional image both within and outside the discipline of botany.

  5. MEMBERS OF THE BOTANICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES TO THOSE WHO SUPPORT THEIR RESEARCH, TEACHING, AND SERVICE THAT ARE CONSISTENT WITH THE ETHICAL GUIDELINES OF THE BOTANICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA.

Enacted by the Botanical Society of America at their Annual Business Meeting, August 5, 1997.

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