Geoethics and Professionalism: The Responsible Conduct of Scientists

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David W. Mogk


The primary focus of geoethics has traditionally been on the responsible conduct of science: issues such as plagiarism, fabrication or falsification of data, and topics related to the doing of science.  Equally as important to the success of the scientific enterprise are the personal attributes required of being a scientist and the responsible conduct of scientists in their personal interactions with colleagues and the public. In this contribution, numerous aspects of professionalism are addressed, which encompass behaviors and attitudes that impact the ability of scientists to do their work in the social environment of the workplace and with the public. Principles of professionalism have their foundations in concepts related to power, trust, respect, and responsibility. These are topics that are typically not directly addressed in day-to-day workplace communications or in classrooms, but they are essential in providing a safe, inclusive and productive work environment. Administrators, faculty, staff, students, managers and co-workers may encounter all manner of interpersonal conflicts that may affect the safety and productivity of their work environment. In particular, recent revelations about instances of sexual harassment and bullying in the geoscience workplace are of immediate concern and dictate that there must be changes in the geoscience work culture. Know how to recognize the signs of potential trouble, intervene early to prevent a bad situation, know the rules, and have a plan in place about how to respond to and mitigate impacts of unprofessional behaviors.

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How to Cite
Mogk DW. Geoethics and Professionalism: The Responsible Conduct of Scientists. Ann. Geophys. [Internet]. 2018Jan.8 [cited 2024Feb.21];60. Available from:
SPECIAL ISSUE: Geoethics at the heart of all geoscience