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Global Ethics Observatory (GEObs)

Database 5: Codes of Conduct

Find a code of conduct

There are currently 151 codes of conduct registered in the database.

Geographical coverage of the code
Profession and/or discipline
Nature of the code
Field of activity
External principles
Internal principles

Definitions of terms used in the database on codes of conduct and codes of ethics related to science and technology

  • Codes

    The following criteria have been used for the collection of codes: provider, addressee and content. All criteria must be fulfilled for every code to be included in this analysis.

    1. Provider of the Code

      The code must be issued by an entity which deals with science and technology issues, with the intention to regulate/inspire/educate the behavior of its own members (individuals and/or institutions) or addressing scientists in general. Examples of such providers are professional associations, companies, national commissions and academies of science. Regulations which are issued by legislative bodies (laws, legislative codes etc.), and thus which address all citizens, have been excluded from the collection.

    2. Addressee of the Code

      The code must concern professionals within scientific professions or disciplines, within any area of science. As mentioned above, the addressees should be members/employees of the organisation which has provided the code or scientists in general. Codes which exclusively concern non-professionals, for example students, have not been included in the collection.

    3. Content of the Code

      A code must have a normative content: ethical principles, values, norms, rules of conduct.

  • Geographical coverage (national/regional/global)

    Global: the coverage has been defined as global for codes issued by organizations which are represented in many (but not necessarily all) countries around the world.

  • Profession and/or Discipline

    It refers to the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO-88) of the International Labour Organisation.

  • Nature of the code

    Aspirational: a statement of ideals to which practitioners should strive. Instead of focusing on notions of right and wrong, the emphasis is on the fullest realisation of human achievement.

    Educational: a code that serves to enhance understanding of its provisions with extensive commentary and interpretation demonstrating how it can be helpful in dealing with ethical problems associated with professional practices.

    Regulatory: a code that includes a set of detailed rules to govern professional conduct and to serve as a basis for adjudicating grievances. Such rules are presumed to be enforceable through a system of monitoring and the application of a range of sanctions.

  • External principles: relate to social context and responsibility towards society.

  • Internal principles: refer to scientists' individual professional behavior related to ethical issues.

For further information or questions about the GEObs, please contact the Secretariat at geobs@unesco.org or call +33 (0)1 45 68 39 45.