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Code of Conduct


Political Science in Europe

Code of Conduct

Revised March 2020

Supporting the community 

The ECPR’s mission is to advance the study of politics, international relations and its related disciplines across Europe and the rest of the world. To achieve this mission, we provide platforms and environments for scholars to come together both in person and virtually/digitally to share and discuss each other’s research, to collaborate on projects and to develop new initiatives. We facilitate these endeavours through a portfolio of events and publications and by supporting organised thematic research groups. Through this, the ECPR has grown a community of thousands of scholars, from all career stages and located at universities and research centres around the world. This diverse and multicultural community, and the principle that all within it are considered and treated equally, is the essence of ECPR.

This community is supported by a professional staff, based in the UK, and by a board of trustees (the Executive Committee) drawn from the ECPR’s membership. Members of the community work alongside the staff and Executive Committee to help deliver certain activities or projects. Their roles are defined as either being volunteers, if they provide a service for free (e.g. Standing Group Steering Committee members) or contractors (e.g. Editors, Methods School Convenors, Instructors and Teaching Assistants) if they are paid a fee for their work. The ECPR also appoints professional service providers (such as catering staff) in order to deliver some activities. The actions and behaviours of all individuals working on behalf of the ECPR reflect on and can directly impact the reputation of the organisation, so it is imperative that everyone adheres to the same high professional standards. 

To ensure that everyone can always work within a safe and respectful environment, the ECPR has developed a Code of Conduct which sets out an agreed standard of behaviour that all people, however they interact with the organisation, are expected to follow.

Why we need a Code of Conduct

We have seen enormous growth and diversification of our members, affiliates and membership institutions over the last 50 years. In this time, we have seen a fundamental shift in attitudes and awareness over what constitutes professional relationships and acceptable behaviour. In an environment of ever-changing social norms and expectations, it is therefore advisable to be explicit, rather than implicit in what is considered appropriate conduct.

A Code of Conduct provides an explicit set of rules, outlining the responsibilities and practices of an individual or organisation. It is designed to explain what cannot be done and outlines the repercussions for anyone who chooses to violate those rules.

Critics of Codes of Conduct and anti-harassment policies often put forward the view that having a code in place does not actually stop harassment from occurring. That is indeed correct; someone intent on harassment is unlikely to be deterred by a document alone. Much like our laws and judicial system however, a Code of Conduct is explicit in its expectations and consequences, allowing perpetrators to be dealt with fairly, transparently and consistently. It provides the organisation with an objective framework and set plan of action, rather than vague and subjective notions of propriety.

As ECPR continues to grow and evolve, the chances of an incident occurring will grow, too.  A solid Code of Conduct and complaints policy will not only help us manage this but will also be a signal to our community and to those on the periphery, looking to enter it, that they are safe and welcome. ECPR chooses to confront this possibility and to be pro-active, not reactive, in its endeavour to create a better society for everyone.  

What is unacceptable behaviour and when might it occur?

To ensure the success of all ECPR events and activities, all stakeholders must be able to work in an environment conducive to open and equitable academic exchange and discourse. ECPR is committed to upholding these values and as such, disrespectful, discriminatory, inappropriate or unprofessional behaviour or harassment towards other scholars and colleagues, staff, volunteers or contractors of the ECPR will not be tolerated. Some examples of unacceptable behaviour would include (but are not limited to):

  • Persistent and unwelcome solicitation of emotional or physical intimacy
  • Persistent and unwelcome solicitation of emotional or physical intimacy accompanied by real or implied threat of professional or physical harm
  • Intimidating, harassing, abusive, personally derogatory or demeaning speech or actions
  • Prejudicial actions or comments related to actual or perceived gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, socioeconomic status, age, body size or religion including lack thereof
  • Deliberate intimidation or stalking
  • Inappropriate photography or recording
  • Sustained disruption of panels, talks or other discussions
  • Physical or sexual assault (including unwelcome touching or groping)
  • Advocacy of, or encouragement of any of the above behaviours

Given the geographical diversity of the organisation, most day-to-day communications take place via email, the telephone or online meeting platforms. The ECPR has agreed standards for service and communication with its staff and expects those who are representing the organisation in any other capacity, to uphold these standards also. 

The ECPR’s events provide an opportunity for colleagues old and new to meet to share research and build their networks. Scholarly interaction is at the heart of all events and this can only thrive within a welcoming, respectful and nurturing atmosphere. All those involved in an ECPR event, from those delivering courses or chairing a panel or workshop, to those taking part as a student or presenter are expected to adhere to the highest possible professional standards. The ECPR, in partnership with the local host, is responsible for ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing for all participants, staff and exhibitors at its events. In order to meet this responsibility, the ECPR has developed a number of policies, procedures and guidelines for each group to follow. 

Through their interactions with authors and reviewers and the resulting decisions of whether to publish a piece of research or not, the ECPR’s editorial teams play an important role in shaping the academic content of our journals and book series, and in turn the direction of the discipline. All editorial teams report regularly to the Executive Committee and are expected to adhere to the COPE guidelines on publication ethics. 

As integral parts of the ECPR, the Code of Conduct applies equally to all interactions and activities of Standing Groups and Research Networks. 

ECPR Staff are equally expected to adhere to the tenets of the Code of Conduct in all interactions and activities related to the fulfilment of their duties. 

As trustees, our Executive Committee are ultimately responsible for the organisation and therefore are expected to adhere to the highest standards in their conduct with members, staff, participants, contractors, volunteers and each other. All EC members have agreed to the Code of Conduct.

Dealing with violations

IIt is ECPR’s responsibility to provide a safe environment for all; this includes knowing how to deal with violations of the Code of Conduct in a professional and clear manner. The list of unacceptable behaviours in our Code of Conduct is deliberately kept broad in scope and given the range of opportunities for interaction under the auspices of ECPR, there are many locations and environments where breaches can occur.  

We take our duty of care seriously and commit to following up all reports of breaches to our Code of Conduct.

All reports of Code of Conduct breaches and complaints will be escalated to the relevant manager who will decide whether the complaint requires further action and if so, will invoke our procedure for investigating and resolving complaints.  

Making a complaint

Complaints can be made in person during an ECPR event to the Duty Officer, via complaints@ecpr.eu or this online form which can be anonymised. The procedure for receiving, investigating and resolving complaints is laid out in the ECPR Complaints Procedure.

Responding to, investigating and resolving complaints

All complaints will be assumed to have been made in good faith, irrespective of whether they have been raised anonymously, or in person. Anonymous complaints will be considered and kept on file, but by their nature we may not be able to investigate them or provide an official response.  Where a complaint is found to have been made maliciously, it will be dismissed.

When reviewing a complaint, we will determine whether the Code of Conduct has been violated and what, if any, consequences will follow, up to and including the removal of individuals from ECPR activities. Where the names of the complainant and accused perpetrator are given, both parties will be informed of the process and any findings and decisions at the end of it.