Code of Ethics

On 29 July 2004, the SCB Board of Governors approved this text for approval by the membership, who accepted it at the Members Meeting on 1 August 2004.

Read about how this document came to be.

The mission of the Society for Conservation Biology, a global community of conservation professionals, is to develop the scientific and technical means for the protection, maintenance, and restoration of life on Earth, including species, ecosystems, and the processes that sustain them. To meet this goal, we encourage all conservation scientists and practitioners to adhere to the following:

  1. Actively disseminate information to promote understanding of and appreciation for biodiversity and the science of conservation biology.
  2. Advocate the use of reliable information, rigorous scientific methodology, and credible inference in management decisions affecting biodiversity.
  3. Recognize that uncertainty is inherent in managing ecosystems and species and encourage application of the precautionary principle in management and policy decisions affecting biodiversity.
  4. Recognize their responsibility to conservation and scientific honesty, and inform other scientists, the public, and prospective clients or employers of this responsibility.
  5. Avoid actions or omissions that may compromise their responsibility to conservation and science.
  6. Be willing to volunteer their services for the public good at a level appropriate to their financial abilities.
  7. Perform professional services or peer reviews only in their areas of competence, cooperate with other professionals in the best interest of conservation, and refer clients to other professionals with appropriate expertise.
  8. Refuse to allow personal interests, compensation, or personal relationships to interfere with their professional judgment or advice.
  9. Scrupulously avoid plagiarism; acknowledge the limitations of their research design, data, and interpretation of results; disclose conflicts of interest; honestly discuss their findings; and attempt to correct misrepresentation of their research by others.
  10. Claim authorship of a publication or report only when they have contributed substantially to the conception, design, data collection, analysis, or interpretation, or have helped draft or revise the article, and approve of the published version.
  11. When working professionally, especially outside their region of residence, interact and collaborate with counterparts, present seminars, confer regularly with appropriate officials, share information, involve colleagues and students in professional activities, contribute to local capacity-building, and equitably share the benefits arising from the use of local knowledge, practices, and genetic resources.
  12. Treat colleagues and professional contacts respectfully and support fair standards of employment and treatment for those engaged in the practice of conservation biology.
  13. Work to ensure that no colleague is unjustly deprived of his or her job, reputation, ability to publish, or scientific freedom as a result of his or her conservation efforts.
  14. Protect the rights and welfare of human subjects used in research and obtain the informed consent of those subjects.
  15. Adhere to the highest standards for treatment of animals used in research in a way that contributes most positively to sustaining natural populations and ecosystems.