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All members of the APS are expected to meet standards of professional scientific integrity as described in the APS Ethics Guidelines. Violations of these standards may disqualify candidates from consideration for Fellowship, Awards and Prizes, or consideration for official positions. Determination that a member has violated these standards may lead to revocation of awards and prizes, removal from official positions, or revocation of APS membership. Some ethical violations may lead to exclusion from APS meetings.
Members of the American Physical Society (APS) support its mission, which is to “advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics for the benefit of humanity, promote physics, and serve the broader physics community” by providing “a welcoming and supportive professional home for an active, engaged, and diverse membership.”
Fellows of the APS “may have made advances in physics through original research and publication, or made significant innovative contributions in the application of physics to science and technology. They may also have made significant contributions to the teaching of physics or service and participation in the activities of the Society.”
The APS grants Prizes, Awards, and Dissertation Awards for outstanding leadership or achievement in various fields of physics.
The APS has a variety of elected officers in official positions, as described on the Society Governance page.
In the rare cases where a member or awardee of the APS does not meet expectations of ethical behavior, the following guidelines describe procedures to request revocation of awards and prizes, removal from official positions, revocation of APS membership, or exclusion from one or more APS meetings.
“Revocation” will refer to any of the following: revocation of prizes, awards, APS fellowship, APS membership, removal from official positions, or exclusion from one or more APS meeting sessions or meetings.
“Respondent” will refer to an APS member or individual holding an APS honor accused of a breach of professional ethics.
“Official leadership position” refers both to society-wide offices, and also official leadership positions within units and appointed committees.
APS will, in its sole discretion, consider revocation in cases of proven scientific misconduct or serious breaches of professional ethics. All revocation requests will be handled in accordance with the procedures provided herein.
Breaches of professional ethics might include fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, sexual misconduct, racial discrimination, misuse of public funds, or other ethical violations. Sexual harassment or retaliation against someone for declining, objecting to, or reporting harassment or other sexual conduct may constitute a serious breach of professional ethics. This policy covers professional activities wherever they take place. This includes, but is not limited to, academic buildings, laboratories, field sites, research stations, field course venues, professional meetings, or any such professional settings. This policy includes interactions with persons such as, but not limited to, colleagues, subordinates, students, teaching or research assistants or others with whom the Respondent interacts as part of their professional activities.
A request for revocation must include an investigative report that documents findings, sanctions, or actions taken from an independent organization or agency, an organization affiliated with APS, or APS itself. Alternatively, a public announcement of the information in a report, or actions that have been taken, may be submitted. Media reports alone may not be sufficient to support a revocation request. APS will only consider requests for revocation filed within ten years of publication of the report or announcement of the finding, sanction, or action, and will not consider requests when the member is deceased.
Proviso: The ten-year time limit for submitting revocation requests will be waived until December 31, 2022.
Proviso: The Ethics Committee will report on actions taken under this policy at each Council meeting.
Proviso: The Ethics Committee will review this policy and bring forward to the Council not more than two years after the policy is in effect any proposed changes to this policy.