Code Of Conduct

POSSUM Code of Conduct

This policy has been adapted from the LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration Professional Conduct Policies ("LSST DESC Code of Conduct"), v1.1 (January 3 2017), which is licensed for modification and re-use according to Creative Commons CC0 1.0.

Statement of Values

The POSSUM Collaboration is a large collaboration with members from many different backgrounds. Together we aim to conduct rigorous and influential research, while treating everyone with respect, equity and dignity. In pursuing our activities, we make the following commitments:

  • We recognise that a diverse team strengthens our research by broadening our perspectives and approaches.
  • We will maintain at all times a collegial, professional and inclusive environment, free from harassment, discrimination, bullying, inappropriate jokes or imagery, or other harmful behaviour.
  • We will treat everyone with dignity, courtesy and respect, independent of background, age, career stage or career path.
  • We will be respectful of others' right to express their own points of view.
  • We commit to helping students and postdocs maximise their potential, to providing constructive and professional feedback on their work, and to ensuring that their contributions are recognised.

We will strive to deal with concerning situations constructively and collegially as they arise. However, for serious incidents, the procedures described below will be invoked.


Members of the POSSUM Collaboration should treat each other with equity and respect, regardless of personal attributes including but not limited to: (alphabetically) age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, gender identity, lactation, nationality, physical appearance, political affiliation, pregnancy, race, religion, sexual orientation, and status as a caregiver (including as a parent).


The POSSUM Collaboration does not tolerate verbal, non-verbal or physical harassment of any kind. Behaviours, language, jokes or imagery that are acceptable to one person may not be to another. Members must make every effort to ensure that words and actions communicate respect for others. In particular, sexual harassment is not tolerated in the POSSUM Collaboration, including but not limited to inappropriate verbal and physical conduct, unwelcome sexual advances, sexual jokes or innuendo, sexual imagery, or requests for sexual favours.


Bullying in any form, including but not limited to physical bullying, verbal abuse, disparagement, intimidation, exclusion, and spreading personal rumours, is not tolerated in the POSSUM Collaboration.

Scientific Disputes

The POSSUM Collaboration recognises and encourages robust scientific debate, provided that such discourse remains professional and respectful at all times. In cases where a scientific dispute cannot be resolved by discussion and consensus, any involved party may refer the matter to the POSSUM PIs by sending an email to The POSSUM PIs will then investigate, mediate and arbitrate in a timely manner, and will make a final decision on the matter that all involved parties are expected to adhere to.

Scientific Misconduct

Members of the POSSUM Collaboration must perform research in a well-documented and ethically sound manner. Falsification of data or results, plagiarism, violations of other POSSUM Policies, taking credit for others’ work, knowingly competing with protected POSSUM Student projects (even once the data become publicly available), or any other scientific misconduct will all be considered violations of this Code of Conduct.

POSSUM Meetings and Teleconferences

The Code of Conduct also applies when POSSUM members come together for in-person meetings, busy weeks, telecons or other virtual conferences, as well as at all other times when people are interacting on a POSSUM project. A POSSUM meeting may also have its own additional Code of Conduct.


All POSSUM members are expected to abide by this Code of Conduct, and prospective members must agree to the terms of the Code of Conduct as a condition of acceptance into the POSSUM Collaboration. POSSUM members are granted membership privileges at the discretion of the POSSUM PIs, and such privileges may be revoked by the POSSUM PIs upon reasonable grounds, including but not limited to violations of this Code of Conduct.

Any member of POSSUM with a concern about a violation of the Code of Conduct for POSSUM-related work may make a formal complaint to or undertake confidential consultation with one of the POSSUM PIs. The PIs can be contacted individually (see Profiles for the list of current PIs), or be contacted as a group by sending email to

In the case of a formal complaint, the POSSUM PIs will designate two members of the POSSUM Executive to hear both sides of the complaint, and if appropriate, consult witnesses. The POSSUM PIs are responsible for ensuring the timely resolution of any formal complaints. If the grievance process could affect normal working group activities, relevant working group or survey group chairs will be notified of the investigation in confidence. If the complaint is upheld, the POSSUM PIs will have a range of actions at their disposal to remedy the situation, up to and including removal from POSSUM. In addition, the POSSUM PIs reserve the right to remove a member from POSSUM without formal investigation based on sanction or censure by the member’s department, institution, or professional society for activity that constitutes a violation of the POSSUM Code of Conduct or places POSSUM members at risk. The POSSUM PIs will communicate the outcome of any investigation only to the complainant(s), the respondent(s) and working group or survey group chairs (if relevant).

If the Code of Conduct violation relates to a POSSUM PI, this should be reported to any member of the POSSUM Executive (see Profiles for the current list of Executive members). The POSSUM Executive will then convene an independent committee (not POSSUM PIs or POSSUM Executive members) who will be afforded the power to investigate and make recommendations to the POSSUM Executive for resulting actions.

Retaliation toward a POSSUM member who pursues any of these options, or toward anyone assisting either in the reporting process or in the investigation of a formal complaint, is a violation of this Code.

In no circumstance does the POSSUM Code of Conduct supplant laws or institutional policies or requirements to which members of POSSUM or home institutions are subject, including reporting requirements these individuals or entities may have. It is understood that POSSUM members may report allegations of violations to home institutions, government agencies, or local authorities for investigation per applicable laws, regulations, and policies. The POSSUM PIs are available for confidential consultation about any POSSUM-related issue or concern.

This Code of Conduct shall not be construed as creating any employer-employee, joint venture, partnership, duty, trust, obligation to pay, or other relationship between POSSUM, member institutions, grantors, funding institutions or agencies, home institutions, or members, including the POSSUM PIs or any POSSUM committees or groups. Although POSSUM encourages all members to abide by this Code of Conduct, POSSUM remains a voluntary member body, and members and their affiliated institutions waive any and all claims, liabilities, or damages against POSSUM, member institutions, grantors, funding institutions or agencies, home institutions, and POSSUM members involved in implementing the Code of Conduct arising from the enforcement of, or failure to enforce, this Code of Conduct