Code of Conduct

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was created by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War as an independent, non-profit, self-perpetuating honorary society of the nation’s leading scientists to provide unbiased advice to the nation on any matter for which evidence can inform sound public policy. The credibility of the advice from the NAS rests on its reputation, which depends on the reputation of its members. Membership in the NAS is a privilege predicated on its members adhering to certain standards of conduct. NAS members, by accepting membership in the Academy, agree to abide by this Code of Conduct.

Code of Conduct for NAS Members

1. NAS members shall carry out their scientific research with integrity and the highest standards. NAS members shall not commit scientific misconduct, defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism. Scientific error or incorrect interpretation of research data that may occur as part of the scientific process does not constitute scientific misconduct.
2. NAS members shall disclose all relevant relationships, financial or otherwise, that might be perceived to influence the outcome of their research.
3. NAS members shall avoid those detrimental research practices that are clear violations of the fundamental tenets of researchI. Members should be fair and objective peer reviewers, maintain confidentiality when requested, promptly move to correct the literature when errors in their own work are detected, include all deserving authors on publications, and give appropriate credit to prior work in citationsII.
4. NAS members shall treat all individuals in the scientific enterprise collegially and with respect, including supervisors, colleagues, other NAS members, students and other early-career colleagues, technical and clerical staff, and interested members of the public. NAS members must refrain from all forms of discriminationIII, harassmentIV, and bullyingV in their professional encounters, especially when they involve power differentials, as these behaviors have adverse impacts on the careers of scientists and the proper conduct of scienceVI.
5. NAS members should honor established expectations of confidentiality with respect to discussions of candidates for NAS electionVII and the deliberations of NAS and National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) committees.
6. Members may take positions in their personal capacity and use their NAS affiliation, as long as it is clear that in doing so they are not representing the NAS. Members may represent a position as being that of the NAS only if it has the approval of the NAS Council or has been published as a finding or recommendation in a NASEM consensus report.
7. NAS members are expected to adhere to their employers’ codes of conduct or ethics that pertain to research.

NAS members recognize the responsibility of the Academy to consider breaches of this Code of Conduct and to recommend appropriate responses. Allegations of violations by an NAS member or foreign associate should be addressed to the NAS Home Secretary or Foreign Secretary, respectively, in writing. If for any reason the cognizant officer is viewed as having a conflict of interest that would raise questions regarding his or her ability to serve as an impartial arbiter, the Vice President can receive the complaint.

Approved by the NAS Council
December 26, 2018


 I National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, “Fostering Integrity in Research,” pp 73-74, 81, National Academies Press, 2017.
 II National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, “Fostering Integrity in Research,” pp 70-90, National Academies Press, 2017.
 III Discrimination is defined as prejudicial treatment of individuals or groups of people based on their race, ethnicity, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religion, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws.
 IV Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. Other types of harassment include any verbal or physical conduct directed at individuals or groups of people because of their race, ethnicity, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religion, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws, that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
 V Bullying is unwelcome, aggressive behavior involving the use of influence, threat, intimidation, or coercion to dominate others in the professional environment.
 VI National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, “Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine,” pp 68-73, National Academies Press, 2018.
 VII NAS Bylaws IV.18.g. All discussions and communications regarding claims and qualifications of persons proposed for membership shall be kept confidential. Remarks and criticism made in this connection may not be communicated to any person who was not a member of the Academy at the time of the discussion.

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