Ethics Updates

Update on Ethics Policy Changes [13 January 2023]

In 2019, the Geological Society of America (GSA) introduced the Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct (Code of Ethics), which for the first time in the Society’s history set forth mandatory standards of conduct that may be enforced against GSA Members. Since 2019, GSA has received 15 formal complaints against Members. Six were found to have violated GSA’s Code of Ethics and resulted in sanctions. The remaining cases were dismissed without any findings generally because GSA did not have access to necessary witnesses and/or documents.

In October 2022, the GSA Council voted on two policy changes, which take effect in January 2023. First, GSA’s Code of Ethics now applies to award recipients who may not be Members of the Society. This change recognizes that awardees, like GSA Members, have a responsibility to meet commonly held standards of professional ethics and scientific integrity, including those set forth in GSA’s Code of Ethics.

Second, the GSA Council approved the new Enforcement Policy & Procedures – Code of Ethics. As detailed in this policy, GSA will no longer offer to investigate misconduct unless it occurs at a GSA-sponsored event or activity. Going forward, any Member seeking to enforce the Code of Ethics must submit an Enforcement Request Form with supporting evidence showing that a credible body has issued an adverse finding against a GSA Member or Awardee. Although GSA will continue to investigate complaints arising at its own events and activities, GSA recognized that it could not effectively investigate claims arising at other institutions or locations outside its control.