Code of Conduct

The short version

If you have a question about the code of conduct or wish to report misconduct, please email [email protected].

Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down others. Behave professionally. Remember that harassment and sexist, racist, or exclusionary jokes are not appropriate for the Society of Research Software Engineering. 

All communication should be appropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate.

The Society of Research Software Engineering is dedicated to providing a harassment-free community for everyone, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and parenthood, race, religion or belief (or lack thereof), gender identity and expression, sex, sexual orientation, technical choices, experience level or any other dimension of diversity. We do not tolerate harassment of community members in any form.

Thank you for helping make this a welcoming, friendly community for all.

About the Code of Conduct 

The Society of Research Software Engineering is dedicated to building a community and raising awareness of the role of Research Software Engineers. We are committed to creating a welcoming and supportive environment for all of our members. All participants in our events and communications are expected to show respect and courtesy to others. 

This Code of Conduct should be honoured by everyone who participates in the RSE community. It should be honoured in all Society activities, by anyone claiming affiliation with the Society, and especially when someone is representing the Society in any role (including as an event volunteer, organiser or speaker).

This Code of Conduct outlines our behaviour expectations as members of the RSE community in all Society of Research Software Engineering activities, both offline and online. Everyone’s participation is contingent upon following these guidelines in all activities associated with the Society including but not limited to:

  • Conferences, workshops, and webinars
  • Email lists and online forums like Slack, Twitter, GitHub, and LinkedIn
  • Representing the Society at public events

The Society of Research Software Engineering Code of Conduct committee is responsible for enforcing the Code of Conduct and all reports about misconduct will be dealt with promptly and in accordance with the Enforcement Manual. 

Behaviours that are disrespectful to our members or events’ attendees and sponsors, or intimidate, exclude or cause discomfort to others will not be tolerated. We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment based on characteristics that include, but are not limited to, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and parenthood, race, religion or belief (or lack thereof), gender identity and expression, sex, sexual orientation, technical choices, experience level or any other dimension of diversity.

The Society of Research Software Engineering Code of Conduct committee is responsible for the enforcement of this Code of Conduct and for dealing with misconduct or violations to this policy. Trustees, conference chairs, and workshop facilitators are expected to assist with the enforcement of the Code of Conduct in their respective capacities. By participating, individuals indicate their acceptance of the procedures by which the Society of Research Software Engineering resolves any Code of Conduct incidents, which might include storage and processing of their personal information.

Expected behaviour

All participants in our events and communications are expected to show respect and courtesy to others and all interactions should be professional, both online and in-person. 

The following kinds of behaviours in all Society events and platforms are encouraged:

  • Focussing on what is best for the community
  • Showing courtesy and respect towards every member of the community
  • Being respectful of different viewpoints and experiences
  • Gracefully accepting constructive criticism
  • Using welcoming and inclusive language
  • Adhering to the Code of Conduct
  • Being direct, but professional
  • Asking for consent and respecting people’s boundaries
  • Being aware of the dynamics of power and privilege (be mindful of how much time and space you are taking up)

Unacceptable behaviour

Examples of unacceptable behaviour include:

  • Publication of private communication without consent
  • Excessive swearing
  • Improper gestures
  • Use of stereotypes
  • Incitement to violence, suicide or self-harm
  • Sustained disruptions of talks, workshops events or communications
  • The display of violent images
  • Causing someone to fear for their safety through stalking, following, intimidation, or threatening
  • Unwelcome and repeated flirtations, propositions, advances, or other sexual attention – including gratuitous or off-topic sexual images or behaviour
  • Non-consensual or unwelcome physical contact
  • Sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, or exclusionary jokes
  • Continuing to initiate interaction with someone after being explicitly asked to stop
  • Offensive, insulting, derogatory, or degrading remarks
  • Demands for sexual favours in exchange for favourable or preferential treatment
  • Advocating for, or encouraging any of the above behaviours

Consequences of Unacceptable Behaviour

Participants who are asked to stop any inappropriate behaviour are expected to comply immediately. This applies to any event or platform, either online or in-person. If an event participant engages in behaviour that violates this code of conduct, the organizers may warn the offender, ask them to leave the event or platform (without refund), or engage the committee to investigate the Code of Conduct violation and impose appropriate sanctions.

Incident reporting guidelines

If you believe that someone is violating the Code of Conduct, please report this in a timely manner. Code of Conduct violations reduce the value of the community for everyone. The committee takes reports of misconduct very seriously and is committed to preserving and maintaining the welcoming nature of our community.

All reports will be kept confidential.

Any violations to the Code of Conduct during Society events should be immediately reported to the event host, organiser or the designated incident person/people. The people handling the incident report should also make a direct report to the Code of Conduct committee by emailing to [email protected]. If you are uncomfortable emailing to the Code of Conduct email, incidents can also be reported directly to any of the committee members using the email addresses published in this document (see the code of conduct committee section).

If the violation occurs in an online space, reports should be emailed directly to [email protected].

All reports will be reviewed by the Code of Conduct Committee and will be kept confidential.

In your report, please do your best to include:

  • Your contact information
  • Identifying information of the reported person 
  • The behaviour associated with the Code of Conduct violation
  • If possible, where the Code of Conduct violation happened
  • The approximate time of the behaviour (if different than the time the report was made)
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident
  • Other people involved or that witnessed the incident
  • If there is a publicly available record (i.e. email thread, Slack messages, Twitter threads)
  • If you believe this is an ongoing situation, please let us know
  • Any additional helpful information

What to do if someone is in physical danger?

If you believe someone is in physical danger, please ask a committee member, staff member or volunteer to contact appropriate emergency responders. All event organizers should, before the event, determine who would be appropriate to contact in case of an incident and make sure this information is available at all times over  the duration of the event in question.

Once the incident has been resolved, we ask that it be reported to the Code of Conduct committee in the same way as all other incidences.

Enforcement manual

The following section details the enforcement manual followed by the Society of Research Software Engineering Code of Conduct committee. It is used when we respond to an issue to make sure we are consistent and fair on every instance. Enforcement of the Code of Conduct should be respectful and not include any harassing behaviours.

The Code of Conduct committee

All responses to report of conduct violations will be managed by the Code of Conduct committee, which is designated by the Society trustees and should be comprised of at least three members.  The committee members will be rectified or selected on an annual basis by the Society trustees after the AGM has taken place and any newly elected members are confirmed. 

The current Code of Conduct committee is formed of Paul Richmond (President, [email protected] ), Claire Wyatt (Vice-President, [email protected]), Mozhgan Kabiri Chimeh (Diversity Inclusion and Accessibility Co-lead, [email protected]) and Jo Leng (Diversity Inclusion and Accessibility Co-lead, [email protected]).

How will the committee respond to reports?

When a report is sent to the Code of Conduct committee they will reply to the report to confirm receipt within 24 hours. If a report does not contain enough information, the committee will attempt to obtain all relevant data before acting, including contacting any individuals involved to get a comprehensive account of events.  Once a report has been filed one of the committee members will be assigned as the main acting member responsible for any communications with the involved individual(s) and the Society trustees.

The Code of Conduct committee is also empowered to act if any of its members becomes aware of ongoing behaviour that, taken as a whole over a long time period, is disrupting or harassing. Such behaviour might not be “over the line” in any single incident, and thus may not generate a report.

Immediate response

The initial response to an incident is very important. Depending on the severity and details of the incident, an immediate response  may be required. 

In situations involving physical danger or involving a threat to anyone’s safety, any member of the Code of Conduct committee may – and should – act immediately to protect the safety of the individual(s) in such situation. This can include contacting law enforcement or crisis resources.

In situations where an individual committee member acts immediately, they must inform the other committee members as soon as possible, and report their actions to the committee for review within 24 hours.

Ongoing incidents

If the action is ongoing, whether in person or online, any committee member may act immediately and employ any of the tools available to the community member to diffuse the situation including bans and blocks. In situations where an individual committee member acts immediately, they must inform the other committee members as soon as possible, and report their actions to the committee for review within 24 hours.

Less-urgent situations

Once a report is filed, the committee will review the incident and determine, to the best of their ability:

  • Whether this is an ongoing situation
  • Whether there is a threat to anyone’s physical safety
  • What happened
  • Whether this event constitutes a code of conduct violation
  • Who, if anyone, was the bad actor
  • Whether any communications should be made to the wider community

This information will be collected in writing, and whenever possible the committee’s deliberations will be recorded and retained (i.e. email discussions, recorded voice conversations, etc).

The Code of Conduct committee should aim to have a resolution agreed upon within one week. In the event that a resolution can’t be determined in that time, the committee will respond to the reporter(s) with an update and projected timeline for resolution.


The Code of conduct committee must agree on a resolution by consensus of all members investigating the report in question. If the committee cannot reach a consensus over the one week period, this matter will be presented to all of the Society trustees for a final resolution.

Possible outcomes may include:

  • Taking no further action (if it is determined that there was no violation).
  • A private reprimand from the committee to the individual(s) involved. In this case, the Society Chair will deliver that reprimand to the individual(s) over email, cc’ing the committee.
  • Ending a talk that violates the Code of Conduct early
  • A public announcement of an incident, ideally in the same venue that the violation occurred.
  • Immediately ending any event volunteer responsibilities and privileges the individual(s) hold(s).
  • An imposed suspension from the Society platforms. The Society Chair will communicate this suspension to the individual(s). They’ll be asked to take this vacation voluntarily, but if they don’t agree then a temporary ban may be imposed to enforce this vacation.
  • A permanent or temporary ban from some or all Society spaces.
  • Assistance to the complainant with a report to other bodies, for example, institutional offices or appropriate law enforcement agencies.

Once a resolution is agreed upon, but before it is enacted, the Code of Conduct committee will contact the original reporter and any other affected parties and explain the proposed resolution. The committee will ask if this resolution is acceptable, and must note feedback for the record. However, the committee is not required to act on this feedback.

Finally the committee will make a report to the Society trustees. The Code of Conduct committee will never publicly discuss the details of the issue; all public statements will be made by the Society Chair.

Conflicts of interests

In the event of any conflict of interest (a committee member, their family member, or someone with whom the committee member has a close academic or employment relationship is involved in a complaint), the committee member must immediately notify the other members, and recuse themselves if necessary.  

Rules and Etiquette for Responsible Corporate Engagement on our Web Platforms

The UKRSE online community is first and foremost an open and inclusive community for RSEs to engage in open conversation in line with our charitable objectives.

The community is open to all however if you are not joining from a pre-approved institution then you are expected to fill in our request for access form. 

The online community is not an appropriate place for recruiters, marketing professionals or sales executives. Our members have expressed this preference and we ask you to respect this. Please do not be offended if your request for access directs you to this section of the CoC to confirm you have understood how to engage with the community.

If you are joining as an industrial member we ask that you abide by the following rules and etiquette.

  1. Do not use the community channels to advertise products or services associated with your organisation. I.e. Please do not use the channels for sales.
  2. Do not directly approach members about products or services unless invited by a member to discuss them.
  3. Sharing of events and training opportunities is encouraged however any events should be promoted in the #events channel and should be of specific interest to the RSE community (ideally organised with RSE involvement).
  4. Do not advertise corporate led communities and or certification schemes. Instead contact our membership team to find the best channel for promotion e.g. inclusion via our members benefit program. 

It is considered good practice to introduce yourself in the #introductions channel. This way our community will know to tag you in conversations where you can assist the community in a mutually beneficial way.

If in any doubt about conduct or behavior then please reach out to [email protected]  and we will be happy to provide any guidance that you need.

If you wish to promote specific products or services then please contact [email protected]. We would be happy to promote items of mutual benefit via our opt-in member benefits program. We also have opportunities for promotion at events such our annual conference which can be discussed with Claire Wyatt, the RSE Community Manager.


We would like to thank the individuals, communities, and projects whose work significantly contributed to this Code of Conduct: