The Northern Bioinformatics User Group (NBUG) is a network of bioinformaticians and users of bioinformatics services in the north of England. As a community of researchers and others using big data in biology we aim to promote, support and train in both the widespread application of computational approaches to a large variety of biological questions, and the storage, mining and visualisation of biological and medical data. The goal of our quarterly user groups meetings, supported by The Genetics Society, is to consolidate and share information and resources relating to the latest research and training in computational biology approaches and the application thereof. These aims are best achieved if there is mutual trust based upon honest behaviour and the fostering of a welcoming and inclusive environment throughout the community.

The below guidelines are not meant to be an exhaustive list of expected and unacceptable behaviours. NBUG expects all members to adhere to high standards of honesty and integrity in their actions within and outside of the user group itself.

Conduct Guidelines

We expect and encourage the following kinds of behaviours in all NBUG platforms (forums, websites, email distribution lists etc) and events:

  • Use of inclusive language
  • Respect for different viewpoints
  • Respectful delivery, and gracious acceptance, of constructive criticism
  • Commitment to creating a friendly and respectful place for learning, teaching and contributing
  • Courtesy and respect shown to all members of the community regardless of expertise, background, race, gender, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, national origin, ethnicity, or religion

To make all NBUG platforms and events welcoming and respectful to all participants, it is unacceptable for members to exhibit demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behaviour, conduct and speech, such as:

  • Any action directed at an individual that (a) interferes substantially with that person’s participation; or (b) causes that person to fear for his/her personal safety. This includes threats, intimidation, bullying, stalking, or other types of abuse
  • Any conduct that discriminates or denigrates an individual on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, citizenship, nationality, age, sexual or gender identity, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law
  • Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours or other verbal/physical conduct of a sexual nature
  • Excessive swearing
  • Continuing to initiate interaction (including photography or recording) with someone after being asked to stop
  • Publication of private communication without consent

Violations of the Code

Observing or Reporting a Violation

All NBUG community members should feel empowered to enforce the Code of Conduct. Any violations of the code, whether experienced directly or witnessed, should be dealt with promptly. Ideally, we would all be able to defuse an incident by having behaviour challenged in relation to the Code. However, if people are not comfortable dealing with issues as they arise, or feel that they need to be highlighted upon reflection, incidents or ongoing unacceptable behaviour can instead be communicated to any senior member of the northernBUG Steering Committee. If the issue being raised involves a member of the steering committee, alternative members can, instead, be approached directly (a list of steering committee members and their email addresses is included TBA). All complaints will be taken seriously and responded to promptly and confidentiality will be maintained to the extent that it does not compromise the rights of others.

If the situation feels or seems imminently unsafe, please use a nearby phone and ask for security (if at an event venue) or contact the emergency services, where warranted, immediately.

Consequences of Unacceptable Behaviour

Individuals who are asked to stop any inappropriate behaviour are expected to comply immediately. This applies to any NBUG events and platforms, either online or in-person. If a participant engages in behaviour that violates this code of conduct, the organisers may warn the offender, ask them to leave the event or platform or engage the Northern Bug Steering Committee to investigate the Code of Conduct violation and impose appropriate sanctions, such as being asked to leave the community.