The Arkansas River near Larned, KS. Photo: Sam Zipper

Lab Values, Code of Conduct, and Expectations

Table of Contents

HEAL@KGS values

HEAL@KGS is unequivocally committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at an individual and collective level; we are anti-racist and anti-discrimination. Our mission is to improve understanding of water resources and the societies they support, which requires respecting and working with diverse communities. Regardless of our scientific goals, working to advance DEI is also a moral imperative.

As part of #ShutDownSTEM, Sam identified six specific, actionable steps he has taken or will take to advance these values:

  1. Just like scientific research, upholding our DEI goals requires a sustained investment of effort. I will integrate DEI actions into my own Individual Development Plan (IDP) and the IDPs that each lab member completes and revisits throughout their time in the group to ensure we are continually making effort and progress.
  2. Racial and gender bias affects academic hiring decisions. I will minimize bias in hiring for all positions (undergraduate, graduate, postdoc, intern) by writing inclusive job descriptions, standardizing interview questions, using an evaluation rubric, and having a diverse group participate in the interview process. ( source)
  3. Preventing discrimination and harassment in the workplace is all of our jobs. I will complete bystander intervention training and put the practices we learn to use.
  4. Volunteer research experiences exclude people who cannot afford to work for free, which disproportionately disadvantages minorities and other groups currently underrepresented in the sciences. We will write in salary for all necessary employees to grant budgets, and if we cannot afford to pay an employee, we will not find someone to work for free.
  5. In academia, citations are how we show someone’s work is important and useful, and are often used in hiring/promotion decisions. My own citations are heavily skewed male. I will seek out diverse voices through various platforms (such as social media and conferences), read their published work, and cite it where relevant.
  6. Individual actions, while meaningful, can only go so far. I will work with other KGS staff and scientists to develop specific, actionable steps that we can take at as an organization.

I acknowledge that I am still learning and, as a white scholar from an upper-middle class background, can never fully understand the experiences of Black, Indigenous, immigrant, and other people of color. Nevertheless, I will continue to educate myself, listen, and change.

Code of conduct

We value the participation of every member of our community and want to ensure an that everyone has an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Accordingly, everyone who participates in any HEAL@KGS project is expected to show respect and courtesy to other community members at all time.

Sam Zipper, as head of HEAL@KGS, and all lab members, are dedicated to a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion, or any other factor. We do not tolerate harassment by and/or of members of our community in any form.

To make clear what is expected, we ask all members of HEAL@KGS and our collaborators to conform to the following Code of Conduct.

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of discussions, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Members of the community who violate these rules will be approached by Sam and asked to do better. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. If inappropriate behavior persists after a discussion with Sam, the contributor will be asked to discontinue their participation in HEAL@KGS projects.

To report an issue - please contact Sam. All communication will be treated as confidential. However, please know that Sam (along with most other KU employees) is a mandatory reporter and is therefore legally required to report incidents of discrimination and sexual harassment to the KU Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access (IOA). IOA maintains a list of confidential support resources if you have an issue you would like to discuss without reporting to the IOA.

Expectations for lab members

To make sure that everyone has a positive, challenging, and rewarding experience, in HEAL@KGS we set mutually-agreed-upon goals about research, learning, and professional growth. The following expectations are meant to encourage mutual accountability and make those goals reality. . We will go through and discuss these expectations at the beginning of your time in HEAL@KGS to make sure we are in agreement and modify if necessary.

Everyone

Lab Leader (Sam)

All of the above, and I promise to also…

Lab members (postdocs, students, visiting scientists, etc.)

All of the above, and you will also be expected to…

Lab policies and guidelines

Authorship

Authorship is an important consideration, particularly for lab members pursuing academic careers, so it is important to have clear standards to help us decide who will be an author, and in what order. All authors must have contributed intellectually to the work, provided critical and constructive review of manuscript drafts prior to submission, and must be able to explain and defend the work to colleagues or the public.

Our goal is to be be inclusive of all project participants, to offer junior members leadership roles on papers, and to freely share our data. If you are leading a study or publication, you should provide opportunities for other people to contribute. If you are contributing to a publication, you should expect to be a co-author if you meet at least two of the following criteria:

In the words of Steve Carpenter, “author is a verb”.

Data management

An estimated 17% of scientific data ‘disappears’ per year due to inadequate data archiving and documentation. We do not want any of our data to be included in that number. We use a broad definition of ‘data management’ to include raw data, processed data, code, model input/output files, written documents, and any other product that could conceivably be useful to someone else at any point in the future.

In the grand scheme of things, your work isn’t science if it’s not reproducible. Everyone’s data and code organization approach will be different based on the needs and approach of their work. However, as a big-picture goal, we are working towards the idea of a ‘clickable paper’. What does this mean? If someone is interested enough in our results to want to dig into the data, we need to make that as easy as possible for them. Within 1 hour, they should be able to download all data and code and re-make any figure on their own machine. Within 2 hours, they should be able to change any step in the analysis workflow to see how that impacts the results.

Some key principles and notes for data management in HEAL@KGS:

Work/life balance

Lab members are welcome to work flexibly for any reason. There are some activities which require coordinated schedules (i.e,. group meetings and meetings with Sam/other group members/collaborators). Other than these, we are each welcome to work when it is best for us bsaed on our diverse personal situations. This may mean people send work-related emails during non-traditional work hours (evenings, weekends), but remember that you are not required to read or reply outside of your own typical work hours. It is helpful if other lab members know generally when you will be working to avoid bothering you during your time off.

Graduate school/postdoctoral positions are like a full-time job, so taking vacations is normal and encouraged. In additional to official holidays, the North American standard of 2 weeks/year is a minimum and additional time is possible if you are making sufficient progress. You are expected to keep track of your own vacation time and let Sam and any collaborators know when you are going to be gone prior to your departure. You can use your vacation time during breaks in the academic calendar (such as spring break) if you want but you don’t just get that time off from work.

If you struggle with working flexibly - working too much, working too little, feeling directionless - let Sam know and we can develop a work plan together.

To understand how much I (Sam) am working and whether I am using my time effectively, I track all my work hours. There are things I am good at (not working much in evenings/weekends) and things I still need to improve (I often check my email or do little tasks on weekends when I should be relaxing). I encourage everyone to track their own hours since it is very interesting and can help diagnose problems such as ineffective time management.

Credit and sources

This document is a work-in-progress and will likely evolve through time - see the website repository for version history. Material on this page is partially derived from and/or inspired by multiple sources:

The HEAL@KGS Values, Expectations, and Code of Conduct are licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0 license by Sam Zipper. Feel free to use/adapt, with attribution.