WHAT WE DO
As detailed above, we have chosen to restrict the scope of our Ethics Committee activities to the conference itself, namely its community of stakeholders: participants, organizers and service personnel. We therefore aim to make recommendations for an acceptable code of conduct:
- For the decision-makers (e.g., selection committees, reviewers, etc.)
- For the users (on-site participants and remote participants)
- For the providers of goods and services (e.g., catering, logistics, etc.)
For each item we will try to devise an appropriate set of recommendations – or enforce a code of conduct where deemed necessary – that ensures that our practices reflect our values toward each other, in particular:
- Respect for each person with regard to values such as Fairness, as well as Inclusivity toward the actors within our community who have traditionally been unfairly marginalized
- Transparency and Accountability
These are the topics that we have identified as being within our scope (click to open):
- Recommendations regarding personal data collection
- Attention to the CO2 footprint of the 18th ICC
- Choice of service providers
- Selection criteria for the content of the scientific program of the conference
- On-site code of conduct
You can follow our progress over time by consulting this Ethics Committee log
Recommendations regarding personal data collection
Why do we collect personal data
In a spirit of self-improvement, and in order to enable the ICC to track its progress over time with regard to aspects that are deemed important (e.g., accessibility, bias toward segments of our community, CO2 footprint, etc.), it appears to be appropriate to collect data from participants and from submitting authors.
How do we collect personal data?
We have made a unanimous decision to collect information on a strictly voluntary basis.
What personal data do we collect?
The questions to be asked (e.g., age? gender? country? first-time presenter? job title, professional status? number of years of experience in research…?) are currently under review.
How will we use your personal data?
The anonymized data will be publicly accessible here after the conference. It will be officially presented to the IACS board and transmitted to the next ICC chairmanship in order to contribute to the monitoring of progress, transparency and accountability.
Attention to the CO2 footprint of the 18th ICC
Our commitment to be sensitive to the issue of CO2 emissions also raises ethical questions.
Remote access to the conference
Providing access to ICC content without creating associated CO2 emissions linked to transport appears to be a strong argument in favor of allowing remote access. (The digital footprint of the remote option has not been computed.) We also believe that providing remote access is a sensible option for preventing bias toward the members of our community who, for personal or professional reasons, have privileged access to travelling options.
Why have a large conference at all?
One could raise the question of why there should be a very large scientific gathering at all. We believe that in-person exchanges within the community help forge bonds and collaborations and therefore improve the overall science that we collectively produce. We therefore believe that the existence of such a gathering - a relatively rare opportunity, which occurs every four years, is capable of attracting a very wide cross-section of the community, and is recognized as a “high point” for the catalysis community - is still very valuable. This is why we have opted for the possibility of remote participation without (yet) going for a fully hybrid solution. We understand that the participants, especially those who are particularly attentive to their own CO2 footprint, might be rather selective regarding the conferences that they attend. We hope that the quality of the interactions we will offer will be worth their time and the extra ICC-related CO2 emissions.
Including valuable on-site experiences to make travelling more worthwhile
Choice of service providers
- by promoting PL and KN speakers to interact with participants throughout the entire conference
- by including program events that are best appreciated on site (round tables, short symposia, lively and extended panel discussions, exhibition events,…)
Selection criteria for the content of the scientific program of the conference
The construction of the scientific program for the ICC is a complex endeavor. It ranges from the choice of plenary speakers and session topics to the selection of orals and the nomination of chairpersons - to cite just a few examples - and entails thousands of evaluations performed by hundreds of actors. Here we will share some recommendations in the aim of ensuring that the overall procedure reflects our values.
On avoiding biases
In order to counter recognized sources of injustice, we recommend that each decision-maker be exposed to training on selection bias mechanisms. The content proposed (e.g., video, text, etc.), along with the mechanism by which this exposure will be encouraged, monitored and enforced, is under review (e.g., pop-up text on biases before reviewing, explicit consent upon accepting to join the pool of referees?).
The fairness of a selection procedure also relies on explicit criteria and processes known and agreed upon by the relevant bodies before the selection takes place. The following section contributes to these efforts in favor of transparency:
For plenary lectures:
The Steering Committee carries out the selection of PL, KN and Topics based on inputs from the IACS and the National Board. In March 2022, the Steering Committee recalled the ethical objectives to be remembered by IACS members when making nominations for lecturers and keynote speakers. The text was the following: “We would like you to remember the values of Fairness & Inclusivity when making nominations. We invite you to submit several nominations in order to better reflect the strength of our diverse community.” At the time of the selection meeting, the Ethics Committee did not have material to recommend for the training of decision-makers regarding unconscious bias. The recommended selection criteria for plenary speakers were:
- Significant contribution to their respective field.
- Representative of our communities (topic, geography, gender).
- Balanced selection between contributions that will mostly favor intergenerational transmission of experience with those that will showcase the emergence of new concepts and methods.
- Prior PLs are not considered for PL.
On-site code of conduct
Ethics Committee log
We believe that openness and transparency can be constructive founding values for a community-serving scientific endeavor. They can also be useful tools for inviting feedback and improving our own behavior. In keeping with this philosophy, we have summarized below the activities of the Ethics Committee that we deem to be most relevant.
|> June 23, 2022: First meeting of the Ethics Committee
> April 2022: The ICC website goes live with an “Ethics” tab. The content consists of five lines: “We are setting up an Ethics Committee to make sure that our practices reflect our values towards science and towards each other: fairness, respect of each person, inclusivity, transparency, accountability,… The objective of the Ethics Committee is to help the Steering Committee devise the best practices for the selection of speakers and reviewers, the allotment of student grants, and so on, and for the establishment of an on-site code of conduct, etc.”
> March 2022: DF sends a letter inviting members of IACS to join. All positive feedback is accepted. Further individual invitation reminders are sent in an attempt to broaden the diversity of the committee (mostly in terms of age, gender and geographic origin).
> March 2022: The Steering Committee recalls the ethical objectives to be remembered by IACS members when making nominations for lecturers and keynote speakers. The text is the following: “We would like you to remember the values of Fairness & Inclusivity when making nominations. We invite you to submit several nominations in order to better reflect the strength of our diverse community.”
> July 2020: France proposal secures the nomination as organizer of the next edition of the ICC during the 17th edition in San Diego. The pitch included an idea promoted by the ICC chairmanship regarding the existence of an ethics committee.