Code of Conduct

ASSC Executive Director and Board – June 14, 2024

1. Introduction


The Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (“the ASSC”, “the Association”) promotes open and honest intellectual debate as part of a welcoming and inclusive scientific environment. All are free to exchange scientific ideas in a safe and respectful environment without harassment or other forms of unprofessionalism.

To this end, the Code of Conduct below reflects our Association’s values and our expectations for the Association’s members, meeting attendees, and/or guests to create an environment respectful of all of its members.

Our Code of Conduct is based on standards and language set at other meetings, whose organizing Boards convened special working groups of scientific and legal experts to set their policies. We follow, in particular, those guidelines established for:

  • NeurIPS (Code of Conduct)
  • British International Studies Association (Code of Conduct | BISA)
  • COSYNE (Policies)
  • the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting (2018)
  • Society for Neuroeconomics (2023 Meeting)

2. Responsibilities


All members, conference attendees, conference organizers, speakers, sponsors, and volunteers (referred to as “Participants” collectively throughout this document) at our Conference and Conference-sponsored social events are expected to act in accordance with this Code of Conduct, both during an ASSC event and on ASSC official communication channels, including social media. 

All Participants should also be aware of the ethical, legal, and professional responsibilities of their own institution and/or employers as well as all applicable laws in host countries.

The Board of the Association will enforce this Code (see sections 4 and 5 below), and it is expected that all Participants will cooperate to help ensure a safe and inclusive environment for everyone.

3. Policy

3.1 Promoting a respectful atmosphere

We are committed to maintaining and promoting a scholarly community in which people treat each other with dignity and respect (Code of Conduct | BISA, n.d.):

We expect Participants to not discriminate against, bully, or harass others on the basis of: cultural and role differences, including (but not exclusively) those involving age, disability, medical condition, physical or intellectual disability, education, ethnicity, gender (including transgender/gender identity/gender expression), language, national origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sexual orientation, marital or family status, and socio-economic status.

We recognise as bullying behaviour that may be characterised as offensive, intimidating, malicious, or insulting, or an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate, or injure the recipient. Bullying does not need to be deliberate; someone may demonstrate bullying behaviour, which falls under the above definition, without intending it. Whatever form it takes, bullying is unwarranted and unwelcome, and can cause embarrassment, fear, humiliation or distress to an individual or group of individuals. Bullying often results from a misuse of individual power derived from status/position, physical strength or force of personality. It can also follow from collective power arising out of a strength of numbers.

We recognise as harassment any unwelcome virtual, verbal or physical behaviour, including sexual advances, when the unwanted conduct has the purpose or effect of either violating another person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person. Harassment does not need to be deliberate; someone may harass another person without intending to. In some situations, where the unwanted conduct is serious, a single incident may constitute harassment. In other situations, conduct may become harassment if it is repeated or sustained.

The following list provides examples of the types of behaviour which can amount to harassment, although the list is, by no means, exhaustive:

  • Unwelcome physical contact or physical interaction: This may range from unnecessary touching or brushing against another’s body, physical assault, coercive sexual relations, physical threats, or insulting or abusive behaviours or gestures. It may also encompass invading someone’s “personal space” by standing very close to him/her where this is unnecessary.
  • Unwelcome verbal conduct: This may include the making of remarks and comments about appearance, lewd comments, sexual advances, innuendo and banter, the making or repetition of offensive or stereotyped comments, jokes or songs, the making of threats and the making of patronising comments.
  • Unwelcome written or visual interaction: This may include sending unwelcome emails, notes or pictures, and displaying or sending offensive material. 


3.2. Promoting scientific integrity and ethical practices


The Association also expects its members to uphold the best academic standards. Therefore, Members and Participants to the conference should not engage in Scientific Misconduct: including fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism of paper submissions or research presentations, including demos, exhibits or posters. 

The Association also promotes transparency regarding any potential Conflict of Interest. Conference Speakers, Conference organizers, Board Members, and Association Officers are required to declare any competing professional or personal interests that may be pertinent. This includes any professional/academic disputes, whistleblowing activity within their academic work, and issues/disputes over their research integrity. The ASSC also requires speakers to disclose any Conflicts of Interest ideally at the start of their presentation, as well as the source of funding they have received relevant to the presentation. 

If a Conflict of Interest does arise, Participants must inform the relevant people immediately and should take the following actions:

  • abstain from the activity in question
  • declare a conflict of interest and pass the role to a colleague or
  • stand down/withdraw from the activity in question.

The ASSC reminds the conference attendees that all opinions expressed during the conference are the person’s own and not ASSC’s. All statements by members or participants of ASSC, its board of directors, or its president do not reflect the opinions of the ASSC as a whole either. Any statement endorsed by the ASSC will come through ASSC official organizational channels and will be agreed on via a vote by the Board following ASSC By-Laws.

This Code of Conduct applies to the actual meeting sites and Conference venues where the ASSC business is being conducted, including physical & online venues. The ASSC is not responsible for activity or behaviour that may occur at non-sponsored locations such as hotels, restaurants, or physical or virtual locations not otherwise a sanctioned space for sponsored events. Nonetheless, members are expected to keep these rules of conduct also in such venues, and any issues occurring during the conference and brought to the attention of the Association will be reviewed.

4  Complaint reporting


The Association encourages all Participants to immediately report any incidents of discrimination, harassment, unprofessional conduct, and/or retaliation so that complaints can be quickly and fairly resolved.

There will be no retaliation against any Participant who brings a complaint or submits an incident report in good faith or who honestly assists in investigating such a complaint.

If you have concerns related to your participation/interaction at the Conference or Conference sanctioned events, or observe someone else’s difficulties, or have any other concerns you wish to share, please use our form to report the incident, which also allows anonymous reporting:

5. Action


Following a report, an ad-hoc committee will be formed to review the allegations, taking into account possible conflicts of interest. In case the incident cannot be dealt with internally, the Association reserves its right to contact independent firms or legal counsel such as a University Ombuds office to review the claim. Following the review process, the committee will suggest to the Board of Directors actions that need to be taken. The Board will decide on the best course of action to take and determine what are the consequences/outcome of the investigation which may be deemed appropriate, including:

  • a formal or informal warning to the offender
  • expulsion from the conference with no refund, 
  • barring from participation in future conferences or their organisation, 
  • reporting the incident to the offender’s local institution or funding agencies, or reporting the incident to local authorities or law enforcement.

If action is taken, an appeals process will be made available. There will be no retaliation against any Participant who brings a complaint or submits an incident report in good faith or who honestly assists in investigating such a complaint.


This document was drafted by Lucie Charles with input from Megan Peters and Jacobo Sitt and the ASSC Board.


“Code of Conduct.” NeurIPS 2023, Accessed 16 May 2023.

“Code of Conduct | BISA.” British International Studies Association, Accessed 16 May 2023.

“Policies.” COSYNE, Accessed 16 May 2023.

SfN. “Code of Conduct at SfN Events.” SfN, 30 July 2018, Accessed 16 May 2023.

“2023 Meeting.” Society For Neuroeconomics, Accessed 16 May 2023.