To fulfill our mission of supporting biophysicists across the world, the Biophysical Society (BPS) adheres to high ethical standards, as defined below, and expects all of our members to comply with these Ethics Guidelines. By committing to ethical behaviors, we live the BPS values, demonstrate respect for each other, and hold ourselves responsible for the trust the public places in us.

BPS members should exhibit appropriate professional conduct in their interactions with all individuals whom they encounter in connection with their professional roles, including colleagues, students, researchers, support staff, grantors, administrators, and others in the academic or research community. Non-members of BPS involved in BPS activities must also exhibit professional conduct in connection with those activities.

Inappropriate professional behaviors include but are not limited to:

  • Discrimination against or harassment on the basis of an individual’s race, age, religion, creed, color, ancestry, citizenship, national or ethnic origin, disability, military or veteran status, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or any other classification protected by applicable local, state or federal law. 
  • Physical contact that is uninvited and, in the situation, inappropriate, and unwelcome or coercive sexual attention;
  • Intimidation, stalking, abusive or threatening behavior, or bullying; 
  • Retaliation against individuals who raise conduct concerns.

BPS reserves the right to assess whether an individual’s behavior is consistent with these conduct expectations and, based on that assessment, the right to bestow, deny, revoke or limit participation in BPS-sponsored activities (e.g., meeting attendance, publication in BPS journals, recognition, and service on committees or in BPS leadership roles) or eligibility for membership or honors. Any action taken against an individual for violation of this policy shall be in accordance with BPS policies and procedures and other governing documents. This policy also applies to the behavior of BPS members towards other BPS members, BPS staff, event attendees, speakers, exhibitors, or event venue staff at any BPS-sponsored conference or meeting as well as BPS-sponsored social events. Violations of BPS’s Code of Conduct may also be considered to violate these Ethics Guidelines.

BPS may impose sanctions for violations of these Ethics Guidelines, which may include revocation of society awards and/or termination of membership. Lack of awareness or misunderstanding of these standards will not excuse a finding of unethical conduct.

Scientific Integrity

Scientific integrity represents the foundation of our profession and is intrinsic to the scientific excellence to which we aspire. Maintaining the highest standards of rigor and transparency safeguards the quality and objectivity of research results. BPS defines scientific misconduct as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. Allegations of such misconduct reported to BPS will be shared with the institution where the research was performed. Institutions that support research bear the responsibility to investigate allegations of misconduct. In addition, funding agencies, scientific journals, and other bodies abide by ethical codes, which they publicize and enforce. BPS may impose sanctions under these Ethics Guidelines based on a determination of scientific misconduct by a research institution, funding agency, scientific journal, or other body.

Respectful and courteous conduct

BPS expects its members to interact with respect and courtesy as described in the BPS Code of Conduct. As a global organization, BPS thrives from the diversity of its members, and aspires to create an inclusive and equitable community in which members collaborate and cooperate. Moreover, BPS aims to support the education and development of future generations of biophysicists and takes seriously its responsibility of creating a safe environment, especially for individuals who are particularly vulnerable due to a minority status, or a power differential. BPS will not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind, whether verbal or physical. BPS strongly encourages its members to report allegations of discrimination, harassment or assault. BPS will act to ensure that such allegations are promptly investigated and addressed.

If the alleged violations of misconduct or harassment relate to conduct that occurred outside of BPS events or activities, BPS may, in its sole discretion, defer review of or action on the complaint unless and until the allegations have been investigated by a third-party entity with jurisdiction over the actions and greater investigative authority than BPS, such as the member’s home institution or a court. BPS reserves the right to act on members who have been found guilty of misconduct by these other bodies

Professional Ethics

As a professional organization, BPS expects its members to abide by the highest and most current norms of professional ethics. As our society and culture change, professional norms also evolve. BPS will maintain and disseminate materials to support its members to acquire the knowledge, understanding, and skills necessary to behave professionally at all times. A collection of helpful resources can be found here. Lack of awareness of professional ethics and standards will not be accepted as a legitimate defense for a breach of professional ethics.

Complaints and Process

Complaints of violations of these Ethics Guidelines may be submitted through BPS’s EthicsPoint reporting service or sent in writing to BPS’s Executive Officer.  All complaints must contain contact information for the complainant and should describe the specific facts giving rise to the complaint.  Investigations of the complaint may be deferred until resolution of a third-party investigation or may be investigated and a decision rendered in accordance with the procedures set forth in BPS’s Code of Conduct.