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IOP Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct sets out expectations of behaviour that the IOP requires to be upheld and which all members are expected to adhere to.


1 Introduction

1.1 This Code of Conduct (this Code) is published by the Council of the Institute of Physics (IOP) in accordance with its Bylaws and applies to all members of the IOP. It sets out expectations of behaviour that the IOP requires all members to adhere to.

1.2 This Code also applies to non-members in the circumstances set out in paragraph 2.3 below.

1.3 Any breach of this Code by a member shall be subject to the disciplinary procedures set out in the Regulations and referred to in paragraph 10 below.

2 Overview and applicability

2.1 Every member of the IOP, regardless of their role and area of responsibility, must uphold the IOP’s values of:

(a) being objective, led by evidence;
(b) being rewarding, open and engaging to work with;
(c) confronting barriers to inclusiveness and participation wherever encountered; and
(d) exemplifying the highest standards in all that they do.

2.2 This Code applies to all members, at all times, whether or not undertaking IOP business or attending an IOP event. Without limiting the generality of the above, it will apply to a member acting on behalf of, or promoting the work of, the IOP, including, for example, members who volunteer for the IOP and members who engage in any form of online activity for the IOP. The IOP also requires the standards set out in this Code to be upheld by its members in all interactions with colleagues and members of the public, including at conferences, meetings, events, and other social activities (including at accommodation venues for any such activities), regardless of the capacity in which the member is attending.

2.3 In addition to members, the provisions of paragraph 5 (Treating all with dignity and respect) and paragraph 9 (Confidential reporting and self-reporting) of this Code apply also to non-members who attend meetings, conferences and other events, either hosted or sponsored by the IOP, or who otherwise engage with the IOP or its members.

Non-members who fail to comply with this Code as required above may (as appropriate):

(a) be asked to leave an event and potentially be prevented from attending any future meetings, conferences or other events hosted or sponsored by the IOP;
(b) be prevented from applying in the future for IOP membership or any IOP professional registration;
(c) be prevented from applying for any grants or awards administered or supported by the IOP; and/or
(d) be reported to IOP Group companies (including IOP Publishing Limited), any relevant other professional body, and any regulator relevant to that non-member.

3 Professional conduct

3.1 Members are encouraged to:

(a) promote the study, application and understanding of physics;
(b) promote the work of physicists at every appropriate opportunity in their professional lives; and
(c) promote IOP’s drive for greater diversity in physics.

3.2 Members must:

(a) treat others with dignity and respect, act with integrity, and not intentionally bring the IOP, its staff or members, into disrepute;
(b) ensure that any professional activities do not unnecessarily put at risk the health, safety or welfare of any person, and must have due regard for the effects on the environment and for the sustainability of any resources;
(c) support a colleague or any other person for whom they have a duty of care who in good faith raises any concern about a danger, risk, malpractice or wrongdoing that affects others;
(d) strive to be objective, unbiased and truthful in all aspects of their work, exercising all reasonable due diligence, in presenting quality work to the best of their ability, by critically assessing the likelihood of experimental, methodological, systematic or human errors and avoiding bias or unfair influence;
(e) properly acknowledge and correct any technical errors in their work at the earliest opportunity, and never plagiarise nor claim the credit or benefit for the work of others, nor fabricate, falsify or misrepresent data or results;
(f) record the source material of their work in an auditable trail for the purposes of any professional scrutiny or quality-based verification, and ensure that those who have made a significant contribution to any piece of work are appropriately acknowledged;
(g) exhibit honesty, integrity and transparency when applying for grants, financial funding or project approval; and
(h) exemplify professional behaviour in relation to any content that they publish in the public domain, including, without limitation, articles, blogs, and all forms of social media.

4 Professional development

4.1 All members are required to undertake continuing professional development (CPD) activities to maintain and develop their competence and should encourage persons working under their direction, management or supervision to do likewise. Recording evidence of CPD undertaken and being prepared to submit this to the IOP on request is mandatory for all members who want to retain their professional registration(s).

4.2 The use of designatory letters by any person to which they are not entitled is prohibited. Members may state that they are a member of the IOP and are professionally registered, but must not use the IOP logo, the coat of arms or seal, or state or imply that they are acting on behalf of, or with the authority of, the IOP, except where they have express permission from the IOP to do so.

5 Treating all with dignity and respect

5.1 All members and non-members must treat everyone with dignity and respect and must not use their position, personal belief, or opinion, to bully, abuse, victimise, harass or unlawfully discriminate against any other person for any reason whatsoever, whether physically, verbally, through electronic means or in any other way.

5.2 The IOP will not tolerate harassment on any basis, including that which relates to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation, neurodivergence, social status, background, or actual or perceived intellect. Harassment is unacceptable even if it does not fall within any of the categories or examples set out in this Code.

5.3 Harassment can take many forms:

(a) Under the Equality Act 2010, it is defined as:

(i) unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual; and
(ii) unwanted conduct of a sexual nature or that is related to gender reassignment or sex.

(b) Harassment can be physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct and includes, but is not limited to, abusive spoken or written words, offensive emails, tweets or comments on social networking sites, offensive images or graffiti, and physical gestures or jokes. It also includes treating someone less favourably because they have submitted, or refused to submit, to such behaviour in the past.

5.4 Members and non-members must not recklessly or maliciously damage, or attempt to harm, directly or indirectly, the reputation, prospects, businesses or property of others.

5.5 Members and non-members must not advertise, nor write or publish in any manner, whether in physical copy or in a digital/multimedia format, any material that brings, or may bring, the IOP into disrepute, is derogatory, or could reasonably be expected to cause offence to any individual member or community of members, or to the dignity of their profession. Members and non-members must also not authorise any such material to be written or published by others.

6 Providing guidance or an opinion

6.1 Members who are called upon to give an opinion in their professional capacity must, to the best of their ability, give an opinion that is objective and based upon the best available knowledge and information, and must state clearly any limitations or qualifications to such opinion.

6.2 Members who believe that they have a professional or personal conflict of interest that may impair their ability to make objective judgment, must disclose such interests, where relevant, to their employer, the IOP and any relevant authority.

6.3 Members must not claim expertise or skill in any area of knowledge or professional practice in which they have insufficient qualifications or experience.

7 Council and other IOP elections

Any breach of the nomination, canvassing or election rules for the IOP Council elections or any other IOP election, and any false or misleading information in a candidate statement or election statement, or in a nomination form, shall be deemed to be a breach of this Code.

8 Other memberships and criminal convictions

8.1 A member who has had membership of another professional body terminated as the result of a disciplinary procedure must inform the IOP and must provide such information relating to the matter as the IOP may require.

8.2 A member convicted of a criminal offence, or in receipt of an adverse civil court or tribunal judgment related to any aspect of this Code, anywhere in the world, must inform the IOP, and must provide such information concerning the conviction or judgement as the IOP may require. This does not apply to an offence that is regarded as ‘spent’ within the meaning of the UK Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 or equivalent legislation elsewhere.

9 Confidential reporting and self-reporting

9.1 If any person (member or non-member) becomes aware of a breach of this Code, they may report the matter to the Head of Membership of the IOP who (in the case of a breach by a member) shall address such matter in accordance with the disciplinary procedures in the Regulations and (in the case of a breach by a non-member) shall address the matter in accordance with paragraph 2.3 above.

9.2 Where a breach by a member of this Code is also a breach of their employer’s internal code of conduct, or the law, that member must inform the relevant employer/authorities of such a breach.

9.3 Where a member has breached their own employer’s code of conduct and that is also a breach of this Code, the member must self-report such breach to the Head of Membership of the IOP. Failure to make a self-report is, in itself, a breach of this Code.

9.4 If an individual feels that they have been harassed or discriminated against by a member or volunteer, or by an attendee at an IOP conference, meeting, or event (including, but not limited to, at the venue, accommodation and/or during any related social activities), or has witnessed this occurring, they are encouraged to report this to a member of the IOP’s staff at the conference or to the Head of Membership of the IOP, as soon as reasonably practicable. Any report will be treated sensitively, appropriately, and in a timely fashion.

9.5 Conference, meeting or event participants asked to stop any harassment or discriminatory behaviour are required to comply immediately. If a participant engages in harassment or discriminatory behaviour then, in addition to any other sanctions under this Code or the Regulations, the IOP/event organisers may take any necessary action including expulsion from the conference, meeting or event with no refund and/or refusal of future registration.

10 Disciplinary procedures

The IOP’s disciplinary procedures, as set out in the Regulations, outline the process that will be followed in the event of this Code being breached by a member. The procedures have been created to ensure that all members are treated in a fair, reasonable and consistent manner. The procedures set out examples of misconduct, examples of issues which fall outside the remit of the Disciplinary Committee, and the action the Disciplinary Committee may take if a complaint is upheld. Further details about discipline and expulsion can be found in the Regulations.

Last updated: March 2023