FAQ

Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding AGU’s scientific integrity and professional ethics activities.

1.  What were the activities of the task force?
2.  How do I report an allegation of misconduct?
3.  How does AGU define “conflict of interest?”
4.  What standards are applied to determine scientific misconduct?
5.  What happens when a finding of scientific misconduct has been made?
6.  What can I do if I am accused of scientific misconduct?
7.  Can only AGU members bring forth complaints of misconduct?

1.  What were the activities of the Task Force?
Click here for the Task Force activities to revise and update the AGU policy on Scientific Integrity and Professsional Ethics.

2.  How do I report an allegation of misconduct?
To report an allegation of misconduct, click here.

3.  How does AGU define “Conflict of Interest”?
Conflict of interest is defined as any financial or nonfinancial interest that conflicts with the actions or judgments of an individual when conducting scientific activities because it

  • could impair the individual’s objectivity,
  • could create an unfair competitive advantage for any person or organization, or
  • could create the appearance of either item listed above.

For more information, please see AGU’s “Conflict of Interest policy.

4.  What standards are applied to determine scientific misconduct?
A finding of scientific misconduct requires that:

  • There is a significant departure from accepted practices of the relevant research community; and
  • The misconduct be committed intentionally, or knowingly or recklessly; and
  • The allegation must be proven by a preponderance of evidence.

5.  What happens when a finding of scientific misconduct has been made?
If a finding of scientific misconduct has been made, the Board of Directors will decide the action to be taken.  These may include appropriate sanctions, correction of the publication record, and/or recommendations for education or training.  Sanctions, in increasing severity, may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Written reprimand or warning.
  • Removal from AGU volunteer position.
  • Publication of “errata” notices.
  • Withdrawal/retraction of presentations, publication, or posters.
  • Placement of an author or reviewer on an AGU Editor’s watch list.
  • Suspension from publishing in AGU journal(s) for a specific period, including permanently.
  • Suspension from making presentations at AGU sponsored meeting(s) for a specific period, including permanently.
  • Temporary suspension of membership.
  • Permanent expulsion from AGU.
  • Notification to respondent’s home institution.
  • Notification to other journals.
  • Publication/notification to members of incident in Eos or other AGU publication.
  • Public statement regarding the scientific misconduct.

6.  What can I do if I’m accused of scientific misconduct?
Once the Board of Directors has made a decision with respect to actions to be taken against the Respondent, the Respondent has sixty (60) days to file an appeal of the sanction and/or the finding.   An appeal must be based on new evidence or reconsideration of evidence and include a narrative justification for the appeal.  The Board of Directors will meet in Executive Session at its next scheduled meeting to review the appeal and sustain or revise its decision on the sanction or refer the appeal to the Ethics Committee for reconsideration of the finding.  That action will be documented for the record and will be communicated to the Respondent and the Ethics Committee within 10 working days following the Board of Directors meeting.  The Ethics Committee may then have up to 90 days to reconsider the finding and any new evidence from the Respondent and may ask the Board for an extension of time for gathering additional information.

7.  Can only AGU members bring forth complaints of misconduct?
Allegations of misconduct do not have to originate with AGU members.   Allegations of scientific misconduct may be submitted to AGU when the alleged action is directly connected to a program operated under the direction of AGU, including its publications, presentations, and meetings; or its AGU members in other official duties.