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Code of Conduct for HSE University Academic Staff

HSE Life publishes the full text of the code

The Code of Conduct is an important document for HSE University, so both employees and students should participate in its discussion. You can send your suggestions and comments via email to ethics@hse.ru.

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 Vadim Radaev on the Importance of an HSE Code of Conduct

HSE University (hereinafter, the “University”), as a community of academic and teaching professionals, is guided by the highest academic and ethical standards for professional activities and communications. We have shared values and are eager to ensure the best conditions for all members of our team to thrive in. Each of us adheres to the norms of academic ethics and is committed to cultivating them in staff and students alike, while also putting every effort possible into preventing ethical offenses at the University.

This Code of Conduct for HSE University’s academic staff (hereinafter, the “Code”) is a collection of academic and social norms, setting out what is acceptable and unacceptable at our institution. These norms govern our personal behaviour, relationships with other co-workers and learners, and actions within the University and towards society in general.

This Code is founded upon the provisions found in HSE University’s Statement of Values. Moreover, it aims to further develop these provisions and give due consideration to best practices found in the codes of conduct followed by the world’s top universities. The Code shall guide the activities of each academic staff member (e.g., teacher, researcher, analyst, expert, etc.), regardless of their position, including part-time staff.

1. Academic Integrity and Commitment
2. Academic Freedom
3. Personal Integrity and Responsibility
4. Honesty and Preventing Misconduct
5. Mutual Respect and Collaboration
6. Equality and Non-discrimination
7. Prevention of Violence and Sexual Harassment
8. Always Thinking about the University’s Development and Reputation
9. Political Neutrality and Discretion in Public Statements
10. Actively Engaging with the Public
11. Liability for Failing to Comply with the Code of Conduct

Academic Integrity and Commitment

The goal of our professional activity is the pursuit of scientific truth. Scholarly research lies at the core of all of our activities, in which we are devoted to further comprehend and explain natural phenomena and societal processes. Scientific knowledge overrides our personal interests and predilections. With this in mind, we do our best so that our research and teaching activities underpin the search for truth and its further dissemination.

In their research and teaching activities, each of us conforms to a certain system of values. At the same time, we understand that our views may not be shared by everyone. While we do not have to hide or obscure our personal values and opinions, we can effectively reign in their influence on the outcomes of our research work and how they are interpreted.

Academic Freedom

Our search of the scientific truth is centered on academic freedom. In other words, in their professional dealings, our researchers and teachers have the opportunity to make independent choices with respect to their research trajectories, provided they apply objectivity and academic rigour to the methods and approaches used.

Every researcher has the right to independently develop their own topic, employ and develop the necessary approaches and methods, as well as select colleagues and form groups for joint activities. At the same time, we see it as essential for us to make sure that our choices agree with the interests of our peers. Each teacher is entitled to independently decide on the content and format for conducting courses within established educational standards, curricula and the University’s rules. Teachers may select and develop methods and instructional materials, thereby ensuring high-quality education for learners. In addition, academic freedom may be maintained as part of one’s job duties, as well as beyond them. In turn, HSE University makes sure that each of us has the right to use their initiative to carry out their scholarly, project and educational activities.

We are not tied to any particular school of methodology and approaches. Moreover, in the University’s analytical and applied research activities, no one, even project initiators and clients, cannot force our hand to rely on one particular method, or compel us to steer results and conclusions towards a particular party or point of view.

Academic freedom is the ability to speak openly on professional issues. With this in mind, we value the opinion of each member of our community and believe that the right to free expression of one’s point of view to be integral, as long as this right does not violate the law or generally accepted ethical norms, nor does it damage the University’s reputation.

Personal Integrity and Responsibility

Exercising academic freedom requires a high level of self-discipline and an understanding of one’s professional responsibility. We always must look at the outcomes of our professional activities with a critical eye and not let complacency seep in after we have achieved an initial stage of success. As a result, we keep enhancing our research and teaching qualifications, with a view to consistently improving the quality of our research results. Moreover, we share experience and best practices, thereby providing sterling examples to the students under our charge.

In particular, we rely on global academic and professional standards in research, the provision of degree programmes and expert/analytical activities. In those situations where no global standards or best practices are in place, we are guided by principles of good faith and transparency.

We make sure to carry out our academic, research, educational, methodological, organizational and other types of activities in a manner that is efficient and timely, while also following HSE University’s own rules and regulations.

Furthermore, we assume responsibility for all aspects of our work – the quality of the training of the University’s graduates, the quality of research and the reliability of its outcomes, as well as the validity and tenability of expert solutions we put forward. We admit our mistakes when we make them and immediately inform our superiors and colleagues about such instances, while also undertaking appropriate measures to minimize any possible negative consequences.

Honesty and Preventing Misconduct

One’s professional accountability is directly related to acting in good faith and combatting any kind of fraud, double standards and hypocrisy.

HSE University staff always demonstrate objectivity and careful judgement when assessing the educational outcomes of students, by rigorously identifying and avoiding breaches of academic rules and standards. We encourage our undergrads and doctoral students to pursue studies and obtain knowledge in good faith. Forgeries, copying, fraud, falsification, collusion and plagiarism of data and research findings are never acceptable under any circumstances at the University. By strictly subscribing to these principles, we can exemplify diligent academic professionalism for learners.

It is our responsibility to prevent breaches of intellectual (copyright, related, patent, etc.) rights. This includes refraining from plagiarism and making sure that both staff and students are held accountable for such indiscretions. HSE University has a system in place to immediately identify instances of plagiarism in any type of creative work – student, scientific, or expert/analytical.

We fully observe compliance obligations (i.e., prevention of possibly illegal actions), which includes fighting against any corrupt acts, which is understood as the illegal use of one’s public office and power to obtain, directly or indirectly, personal or collective reward or advantage from third parties or outside organizations. We also aim to avert any acts of bribery from being committed by others.

While executing our job duties and functions, we do whatever is possible to avoid any conflicts of interest (personal, proprietary or financial) and situations, when our personal involvement and partiality and the interests of other parties, including our relatives and friends, can impact on the objectivity of our professional judgement and the course of our work activities. Should a potential conflict of interest arise, we must immediately and directly inform our supervisors and involved colleagues. Such conflicts shall be resolved as per the established procedure at HSE University.

We welcome the development of academic dynasties at HSE University, but, nevertheless, consider favouritism based on nepotism entirely unacceptable. Joint activities carried out by persons who are relatives and also linked in terms of functional or direct supervision are only permissible as long as such activities are not in violation of Russian legislation, and terms for disclosure of such circumstances are properly followed. Furthermore, such activities should receive the permission of the University’s administration.

We recognize staff members’ right to engage in job and entrepreneurial activities, as well as take part in projects outside of HSE University. Nevertheless, such activities must be done in one’s free time outside of their working hours. Moreover, such activities must not be detrimental to the University and its interests, nor utilize its resources, such as its copyrighted materials or brand.

It is our job to provide verifiable information, even if this information includes bad news. When our actions do not generate the desired results, we do not shift the blame onto others. When we are successful, we shall not take credit for the work and contributions of others, but highlight the work of those who have helped us attain our goals.

Mutual Respect and Collaboration

We are focused on cultivating relationships with co-workers and students on the basis of mutual respect and trust, collaborating with them in all aspects of our activities.

We eagerly support the free exchange of opinions and ideas, which rests on the principles of strict academic integrity, mutual respect and collaboration. We consider the positions of our colleagues and learners, are open to discussing with one another all critical and debatable issues, and aim to encourage a comfortable setting where each of us can express their opinions. When holding discussions, we may openly voice our criticism, but it shall always be presented in the spirit of cooperation and remain sound, accurate and impartial. We never make debates or disputes “personal”, but, instead, maintain respect for others and their opinions and ideas. Instead, it is our goal to find the positive sides of our counterparts’ positions and be ready to adjust our standings on a given subject if appropriate arguments have been given.

We aim to be respectful and courteous in all of our dealings with staff and learners, including face-to-face meetings and any type of correspondence. Any coarse, derogatory or overtly familiar forms of communication must be avoided. Furthermore, we value the time of our colleagues and students, and hence inform them in due time if any changes are made to planned joint activities.

We shall not permit any action or expression, which may be deemed offensive by others. It is our duty to duly apologize if such acts or utterances have taken place, whether intended or not.

We maintain confidentiality in discussing and resolving personal problems faced by the University’s staff and learners. This means, amongst other things, not divulging their personal data.

It is very important that we pay due respect and consideration to the customs and traditions of the many nationalities of the Russian Federation, as well as those of other countries, paying particular attention to the cultural and other features of ethic, social and religious groups. This respect for diversity is essential as it contributes to the attainment and retention of international and multicultural integration.

Providing mutual and selfless professional assistance is a core factor of academic life. We treat each query of our co-workers with due care, regardless of their position, and learners, if they come to us for professional advice or assistance. Moreover, we aim to promptly reply to fellow staff’s and students’ questions and enquiries, whether this means giving consultations, guidance, commentaries or other feedback in accordance with academic norms and the rules in place at HSE University. If a request or enquiry is outside of our competencies, or if we cannot provide assistance owing to other reasons, we shall take all necessary actions to refer students to the proper HSE University staff capable of providing necessary aid.

HSE University promotes a healthy lifestyle among its students and staff. This means that we try to maintain good physical health and take proper care of the safety and health of staff and learners. If sick, we do not come to work if there is a clear risk of infecting others. Furthermore, smoking is not permitted on the premises of the University’s buildings.

We are eager to cultivate the best possible conditions for effective work and study at the University for fellow staff and students alike. We are there to help those colleagues who experience difficulties in their work and studies, as well as those who might find themselves facing challenging situations in life.

Equality and Non-discrimination

We are committed to treating all staff members and learners equally and without bias. Subjective value judgements should never impact on our decision-making and actions.

We do not permit prejudices and incidences of discrimination based on gender, race, skin colour, nationality, language, origin, social class, family background, status or occupation, age, sexual orientation, place of residence, religious views (or lack thereof), political beliefs, involvement or non-involvement in public organizations and social groups, as well as any other characteristics when hiring, conducting appraisals, providing incentives and promotion opportunities for staff members and in all types of interactions among members of the HSE University community.

Furthermore, we will not tolerate any instances of discrimination for all aforementioned traits in interactions with learners. As teachers, we are eager to be as objective as possible when evaluating students’ knowledge by relying on transparent and accessible criteria: our grading system is the same for all students within the same degree level. It is our belief that an efficient admission system at HSE University ensures the recruitment of best talent, and it is our task to make sure their qualities flourish and develop further.

Prevention of Violence and Sexual Harassment

We will never tolerate any types of intimidation, hostile or aggressive behaviour (e.g., mobbing, bullying, etc.), while also being resolutely opposed to any form of physical or psychological abuse, especially if coming from a position of authority. We avoid at all times any amoral action, which may cause harm to other staff members and learners.

Moreover, in our dealings with fellow staff and students, sexual harassment, assaults or coercion into sexual behaviour, as well as exposing others of the same or the opposite sex to unwanted attention and physical contact, are always unacceptable. We avoid any unethical action, which may violate an individual’s sexual integrity and freedom. We may not enter into romantic and sexual relations with students, whom we instruct or may instruct in the future, as per curricula, or for whom we serve or may serve as academic supervisors or examination/thesis board members. If such relationships start, or if they occurred in the past, we immediately disengage from any type of educational, academic or administrative interaction with a said student.

Always Thinking about the University’s Development and Reputation

In addition to observing current legislation and the University’s own internal bylaws, we also actively try to avert their violation by all means available to us. If a given issue is not governed by law or our internal regulations, we are guided by the principles of honesty, transparency and common sense when approaching such problems.

In every way possible, we facilitate the implementation of the University’s Development Programme and its other projects, as well as enhance its academic and business reputation. To this end, staff members list their affiliation with HSE University in publications or public releases of the findings which have been attained in the course of our professional and research activities at the University.

We make sure to keep abreast of the University’s publications with information about its operations, as well as help disseminate this information. Moreover, staff proactively engages in updating and amending all information and news that may relate to their own job activities as it is posted on the University’s portal and the respective websites of its subdivisions so that it is up-to-date, accurate and posted in a timely fashion. In addition, we use HSE University’s corporate e-mail for academic, professional and educational correspondence, both within and outside of our institution.

In a timely fashion, we learn to use and utilize the digital resources and software available at HSE University in our activities as deemed appropriate.

It is our task to discuss all important issues relating to the University’s activities in an open format, as well as deal with problems and conflicts with the involvement of our colleagues and learners internally, without unilaterally bringing in third parties and outside organizations.

We do not engage in any actions, which may hurt HSE University’s business reputation, as well as that of its staff and learners. This would include not distributing information, which may tarnish its reputation (with the exception of instances of illegal and unethical behaviour), in particular, through mass media and social networks.

We follow proper rules of decorum and try to refrain from behaving or looking in a way that may be deemed to be provocative or offensive, whilst on the University’s premises. HSE University staff should avoid using foul language (unless it is a subject of research), obscene or rude words, expressions or images while in public spaces, or in published materials for distribution in mass media and social networks, or while using corporate e-mail for correspondence and when in contact with staff and students, as well as third parties. This is especially important when we identify as University staff, with or without listing our affiliation.

Furthermore, we do not use the University’s brand, symbols, emblems, trademarks or its designations for commercial, advertising or political purposes, without the direct permission of subdivisions and officers, duly authorized to do so.

We do not engage in any commercial and political advertising (either its own, or those of third parties or outside institutions) within the University, nor shall we use the University’s communications resources and channels for commercial or political purposes outside of HSE University.

In addition, HSE University staff do not disturb public order or hamper the operations of the University, its administration, subdivisions and officials. Students, learners and doctoral students shall have the ability to pursue studies and extracurricular activities at HSE University unfettered and without disruptions.

Effective use of the University’s resources is crucial for us. This includes not wasting resources or using them for our personal needs. Vandalism and causing damage to University property is to be combatted.

Political Neutrality and Discretion in Public Statements

As citizens of the Russian Federation and other countries, we undoubtebly have diverse political views, as well as are free to express them. Nevertheless, when exercising our civic and political rights, we must do so to the full letter of the law.

Therefore, we do not pursue political activities within the University. It is not our place to take advantage of learning processes and academic discussions for political campaigning. All discussions of politics at our institution must be impartial, draw on research outcomes and sustain the search of substantiated arguments.

HSE University staff members do not make public statements and release publications on behalf of the University or its subdivisions, as well as on behalf of unidentified HSE University’s employees and/or learners, through mass media outlets and social networks, without the explicit permission or consent of duly authorized subdivisions or officers at the University.

In public presentations and publications, including postings on social networks, touching on pressing social, religious and political issues, it is our duty not to use expressions or statements, which may stoke conflict, encourage hatred, enmity or affront the public at large or certain social groups. Such statements and publications may seriously damage HSE University’s reputation. In such instances, we must refrain from indicating affiliation with the University. Or, we may include a preamble specifying that such statements are one’s personal opinion and do not reflect the position of HSE University.

Actively Engaging with the Public

Observing political neutrality at HSE University nonetheless does not contradict our active civic position. We are participants in Russian society not just as observers but parties driving its dynamic development.

We seek leadership in our chosen fields and fully recognize our mission and duty, that is, fostering new opportunities for society, assisting other academic institutions in their development, and having our part in Russia’s overall progress. Therefore, we play an active role in formulating economic, social, cultural and educational policies, as well as supporting the development and work of professional associations.

HSE University is an active supporter of environmental efforts and is enthusiastic to reduce its overall ecological impact by doing such things as decreasing electricity and heat consumption, lowering water usage, using paper resources sparingly, etc. Responsible handling of garbage is supported by proper recycling measures and waste disposal technology.

We wish to make our research and academic products available to all Russian universities and members of the public. With this in mind, we ensure open public access to information about our operations and its results, with the exception of those situations when restrictions are legally imposed by third-party organizations.

We channel our professional and organizational experience and potential in the efforts to disseminate accumulated knowledge and practices, with a view to providing access to our research outcomes and best learning materials to the entire society.

By remaining open for the public at large, it is our responsibility not to divulge non-public information, such as the personal data of staff and learners, logins and passwords to corporate information systems, industry secrets, know-how and other confidential information.

Liability for Failing to Comply with the Code of Conduct

This Code of Conduct is not an HSE University internal bylaw. Rather, it is a convention (e.g., a general agreement), which out staff members subscribe to as the basis for both individual and collective actions. A violation of the ethical norms stated herein shall not necessarily result in disciplinary sanction, but may be condemned on the part of the University community. Therefore, conscious or persistent breach of the Code’s provisions, as a form of disrespect towards the University’s staff and its interests, may serve as the grounds for making administrative decisions. If there are legal grounds with respect to staff members, who do not follow the provisions of this Code, disciplinary measures may be undertaken, as per the labour legislation of the Russian Federation and the University’s own internal bylaws.

Furthermore, we do not tolerate any action that is in violation of ethical norms. If such breaches occur, it is necessary to immediately pursue actions to rectify them, and if it is impossible to do so, we must inform our direct supervisors about the situation as soon as possible. In addition, it is our duty to assist HSE University in its enquiries into alleged violations, while also maintaining confidentiality with respect to staff and students who may have been subjected to inappropriate actions or behaviour.

April 14, 2020