Collaboration & Ethics
C-CoMP promotes high ethical standards in the conduct of research, regardless of a researcher’s position or level of responsibility. The Center responds to potential misconduct in accordance with academic due process and accepted practices within the scientific community. The Collaboration & Ethics committee manages concerns related to ethics and responsible conduct of research and resolves them in a timely manner, in consultation with the Executive Committee.
Committee members: Sonya Dyhrman (chair), Rogier Braakman, Mariel Pfeifer, Samuel Miller, Hanna Anderson, Yuting Zhu
C-CoMP Guiding Principles for Collaboration
Our “Collaboration Agreement” identifies a set of guiding principles for the Center. These guiding principles highlight expectations and the document both outlines best practices and provides tools to thoughtfully and intentionally foster healthy collaborations. By establishing this document early in the life of C-CoMP, we aspire to outline our philosophy of collaboration and facilitate the development of the culture and norms within which we pursue our work. As such, the agreement is a living document, whose evolution is guided by our collective experiences. Here we highlight the importance of communicating, building trust, fostering access, and acknowledging all types of Center contributions as they relate to a positive collaborative environment. Finally, differences will arise and working through these differences will build a stronger sense of shared purpose and community in the long-term. This executive summary highlights core aspects of the Collaboration Agreement which contain more detail and resources for implementation. Click the embedded link to access the full C-CoMP Guiding Principles for Collaboration document (opens in new window).
Guiding Principle for Interpersonal Dynamics
Guiding Principle for Interpersonal Dynamics: In our collaborations, we will strive to build trust and intentionally design processes and supports for team members to do their best work to achieve our Center goals. Taking time to develop positive working relationships and trust with our colleagues is essential for enabling effective teamwork. As we build collaborations, we should aim to initiate, develop, and sustain collaborations that are productive and trust-building. Building our awareness of how teams form and using strategies to help us establish guidelines for collaborative work will help us reach our scientific and interpersonal goals. As we build collaborations, we need to be aware that members of our teams will have different physical and cognitive needs that may fluctuate over time. Perhaps you have an injury making it hard to type, maybe there are time constraints due to an illness in your family, or perhaps you synthesize information best when reading. We can call these differences “access needs.” Access needs affect how we approach our work and our collaborations. As we create collaborations within C-CoMP, we should strive to create spaces in our collaborations for team members to share their access needs. Once we are aware of access needs in our collaborations, we should intentionally design processes and provide supports that enable team members to do their best work to achieve our collective goals.
Guiding Principle for Team Dynamics & Team Science
Guiding Principle for Team Dynamics & Team Science: In our collaborations we will prioritize communication by intentionally listening to our colleagues, acknowledging and responding to different communication styles, and supporting each other to communicate equitably and effectively. We strive to be at the forefront of team science, serving as a model for others building new collaborations. Productive and respectful scientific collaborations are based on effective communication. Prioritizing communication within our collaborations, intentionally listening to our colleagues, and developing awareness of the communication styles present in the group can help us become more effective communicators. Explicit awareness of communication styles can create a comfortable environment in which to freely share ideas. Team meetings should incorporate time for introductions, access check-ins, and recurring opportunities to learn more about our team members, as this works to build trust.
Guiding Principle for Attributions
Guiding Principle for Attributions: As a Center, we emphasize that all contributions of ideas and products should be attributed in appropriate ways in accordance with the C-CoMP open data handbook guidelines. The Center values and acknowledges the wealth of diverse contributions that help us work towards our goals. Good communication and documentation practices are advised for all meetings, as it is valuable for open science, and for us to ensure transparency and acknowledge contributions from meeting participants. The Authorship Guidelines recommend communicating early and throughout the work, listing the requirements for attribution of authorship, and advising individuals to take accountability for all aspects of the published work. Other activities and outcomes, including, but not limited to, education and outreach, workshops, and data products, are valued by C-CoMP and should be acknowledged properly; it is recommended that attributions in this context are documented and publicly displayed.
Guiding Principle for Resolutions
Guiding Principle for Resolutions: In our collaborations, we acknowledge that conflicts are a normal part of teamwork. We will strive to reduce conflicts by working to build trust, aligning expectations over time, and properly attributing credit for products and outcomes. We will strive to effectively navigate differences by listening actively, focusing on joint interests, engaging jointly in problem solving based on agreed-upon, interests-based criteria, and checking in to evaluate and refine ways forward as needed. As a diverse team, everyone in C-CoMP should be aware that differences in opinion can arise. Those in leadership roles should demonstrate Center norms in their actions and help foster positive communication among team members. It is important to communicate early about expectations when starting new activities, releasing any products and properly attributing credit regarding outcomes. A key component to communication and problem solving is listening to gather information, reframe differences, and work jointly to resolve differences of opinion. Resolving differences can further benefit from focusing on joint interests, and by acknowledging that differences are not personal and that everyone wants a positive outcome for the collective good. Ideally, a solution will arise that is acceptable to all stakeholders and that will leave everyone with the feeling that team goals and efforts are the better for principled discussion. Ultimately, acknowledging our differences and working toward resolution in the spirit of the Collaboration Agreement will help strengthen our collaborations.
Tools and Resources
Tool 1. Access check-ins
A tool used to establish and maintain accessibility within our working groups. Ensuring the accessibility of our meetings and collaborations is a form of ongoing self-evaluation and an ethical standard of behavior. Access check-ins are done either before or right at the start of a meeting to make sure that everyone in the meeting has what they need to fully participate in the conversation and collaboration. Learn more about access check-ins in the access check-ins supplement to the C-CoMP Guiding Principles for Collaboration.
Tool 2. thinkLets
thinkLets (Briggs & Jan de Vreede, 2001) are activities that are designed to help teams problem-solve. There are many different types of thinkLet activities that teams may use given the nature of the problem they seek to address. thinkLets are particularly effective in they open lines of communication between members of the group, enabling problem solving. Learn more about thinkLets in the thinkLets supplement to the C-CoMP Guiding Principles for Collaboration.
Team Dynamics and Team Science
- 5 Stage Model of Team Development | MIT Human Resources
- Online Assessments of Communication Styles
- CRediT standard | tenzing tool. Learn more about these tools in the CRediT supplement to the C-CoMP Guiding Principles for Collaboration
- Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals
Contact the C-CoMP Collaboration & Ethics Committee
If you would like to contact the C-CoMP Collaboration & Ethics Committee, please use the form below.