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Code of Conduct

Updated: August 28, 2020.

This Code of Conduct outlines our expectations for all attendees, including organisers, facilitators and staff, of the eLife Innovation Sprint, in activities in relation to the event. This code also details steps for reporting unacceptable behaviour. Organisers will enforce this code throughout the event. We expect cooperation from all participants to help ensure a safe space for everybody.

Why have this Code of Conduct?

The goal of the eLife Innovation Sprint is to drive change in research communication and culture through the development of open tools and prototypes and bringing a community of passionate innovators together. 

Our event, projects and community gain strength from diversity. We believe that Sprint prototypes and tools will benefit from creativity and ideas from a diverse group of contributors, and that our community members can best learn and grow through sharing with and listening to folks with diverse perspectives.

We prioritise creating a space and platform that is safe and productive for everyone in the Sprint community, regardless of their background, family status, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, native language, age, ability, race and/or ethnicity, caste, national origin, socioeconomic status, religion, physical appearance, geographical location, work experience, or any other dimension of diversity. 

We recognise that if people experience harassment, and/or feel unsafe or unwelcome, it can jeopardise their ability to work and participate in the Sprint.

With this Code of Conduct, we expect all attendees at the Sprint to help create and maintain a safe and productive space, and prevent and avoid behaviours that will make people feel unsafe or unwelcome. We ask all participants to join us in supporting and empowering others to contribute responsibly in a way that lifts others up, and to protect (where possible) the people who help us to do this by using and supporting the enactment of this Code of Conduct.

What is it not?

This code of conduct does not replace existing legal mechanisms. For any incident where a crime may have been committed, we will support the victim to report this if they feel comfortable to do so.

When and where to use this Code of Conduct

Your participation is contingent upon following this Code of Conduct in all eLife Innovation Sprint activities, including but not limited to:

  • Participating in collaborative work and discussions during the Sprint, on Qiqochat, Slack, Zoom, GitHub, Google Suite, Miro and social media such as Twitter
  • Participating in pre-Sprint workshops, trainings, community calls, mentorship meetings and other Sprint-related interactions and correspondence

Behaviours that will not be tolerated

The following behaviours from any attendees of the eLife Innovation Sprint, including those with decision-making authorities, are considered to be harassment and unacceptable under this Code of Conduct: 

  • Verbal and text comments that reinforce social structures of domination related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion or work experience.
  • Use of sexual or discriminatory imagery, comments, or jokes
  • Deliberate intimidation, stalking or following
  • Sustained disruption of talks or other interactions
  • Posting (or threatening to post) other people’s personally identifying information (“doxing”)
  • Spamming or trolling
  • Unwelcome sexual attention
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behaviour

For more information and examples about what constitutes harassment, please refer to OpenCon’s Code of Conduct in Brief and the Gathering for Open Source Hardware’s examples of behaviour.

Online Trolls: With the move to a fully virtual event, the risk for online trolling has increased. This behaviour is unacceptable, and the Sprint Safety Officers and Facilitators will be monitoring the various online platforms during the Sprint and its associated events, and will act decisively and swiftly to end behaviour they deem trolling. Anyone exhibiting trolling behaviour will be immediately kicked out of the event platforms. If you believe you were accidentally kicked out, please contact the Sprint Facilitators, who will work with the Safety Officers to review reinstatement. 

Procedures for Code of Conduct Violations


If someone makes you or anyone else feel unsafe or unwelcome, please report it as soon as possible. 

You can make a report either personally or anonymously. All reports will be handled with discretion.

Anonymous report

You can make an anonymous report by filling in this form.

We can’t follow up an anonymous report with you directly, but we will fully investigate it and take the actions necessary to prevent a recurrence.

Direct report using Slack

You can indicate that you would like to make a direct report to a Safety Officer on duty using direct messaging on Slack. The Safety Officers on duty and their Slack handles are detailed below (all times below in UTC):

  • September 2, 2020:
    • 5-9am: Aleksei Tikhonov (@Aleksei Tikhonov), Emmy Tsang (@Emmy)
    • 9am-1pm: Chas Nelson (@Chas Nelson), Helena Pérez Valle (@Helena)
    • 1-5pm: Chas Nelson (@Chas Nelson), Renuka Kudva (@Renuka Kudva)
    • 5-9pm: Gabriela Nogueira Viçosa (@Gabriela Nogueira Viçosa), Jenny Baum (@Jenny Baum)
    • 9pm-12am (+1): Gabriela Nogueira Viçosa (@Gabriela Nogueira Viçosa), Raniere Silva (@Raniere Silva)
  • September 3, 2020:
    • 5-9am: Aleksei Tikhonov (@Aleksei Tikhonov), Emmy Tsang (@Emmy)
    • 9am-1pm: Chas Nelson (@Chas Nelson), Helena Pérez Valle (@Helena)
    • 1-5pm: Jenny Baum (@Jenny Baum), Renuka Kudva (@Renuka Kudva)
    • 5-9pm: Jenny Baum (@Jenny Baum), Raniere Silva (@Raniere Silva)
    • 9pm-12am (+1): Gabriela Nogueira Viçosa (@Gabriela Nogueira Viçosa), Raniere Silva (@Raniere Silva)

The direct messaging is only intended to be used as a “hand-raising” function– the Safety Officer receiving the direct message will ask you to proceed with making a full direct report via video/audio conferencing on Zoom. 

This method of reporting can be useful when your report will cause a conflict of interest for one or more members of the Safety Team. Directly reporting to a Safety Officer, indicating the member(s) of the team that should be recused, will prevent the member(s) in question from seeing the report or participating in any parts of the handling

Report via email

You can make a personal report by emailing elife-sprint20-support [at] protonmail [dot] com.

In your report, please do your best to include:

  • Your contact information
  • Identifying information (e.g. names, nicknames, pseudonyms) of the participant who has violated the Code of Conduct
  • The behaviour that was in violation
  • The approximate time of the behaviour (if different than the time the report was made)
  • If possible, where the Code of Conduct violation happened (which channel)
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident
  • Other people involved in the incident
  • If you believe the incident is ongoing, please let us know
  • If there is a publicly available record (e.g. mailing list record, a screenshot), please include a link
  • Any additional helpful information

After you file a report, Safety Team members (please see below) will contact you personally to review the incident and follow up with any additional questions.

Handling and reviewing Code of Conduct violations

We will enforce this Code of Conduct when we receive a report of a violation, or when any of the organisers, facilitators or Safety Officers witness a violation. 

Who will read and handle reports?

All anonymous and personal reports will be read and handled by the Sprint’s Safety Team, which is composed of following people:

  • Before and after the event (up to and including Sep 1, and Sep 4 to Dec 31, 2020): Emmy Tsang (Innovation Community Manager, eLife; emmytsang [at] protonmail [dot] com), Lena Dowdall (Office & HR Manager, eLife; hr [at] elifesciences [dot] org)
  • During the event (Sep 2–3, 2020): the Sprint’s Safety Officers and Facilitators:
    • Jenny Baum
    • Dasapta Erwin Irawan
    • Renuka Kudva
    • Chas Nelson
    • Gabriela Nogueira Viçosa
    • Miranda Nye
    • Helena Pérez Valle
    • Raniere Silva
    • Aleksei Tikhonov
    • Emmy Tsang
    • Micah Vandergrift
  • We will close the anonymous form and Protonmail account for personal reports after December 31, 2020 and will no longer monitor Code of Conduct Violation reports.  

If any Safety Team member has a conflict of interest with a report, they will be recused and will not have access to the content or process of the report followup. Please note that all named people will have access to every initial report submitted using the anonymous form and the Protonmail account. To keep this first report confidential from any of the Safety Team members, please submit your first report by direct messaging on Slack/direct email to any of the Safety Team members you are comfortable disclosing the information to, and be explicit about which Safety Team member(s) you do not consent to sharing the information with.

If your report concerns Emmy, please report directly to eLife’s Human Resources (hr [at] elifesciences [dot] org).

Triaging and reviewing reports

After receiving the report, the Safety Team will first triage the incident to determine whether immediate action is required, for example, whether there is immediate threat to participants’ safety. The Safety Team will also assess whether there is sufficient information to determine whether the report constitutes a Code of Conduct violation, and/or for the Safety Team to make a decision on actions. In the case where there is insufficient information, the Safety Team may contact the reporter, reported or any other attendees to obtain more information. 

Once additional information is gathered, the Safety Team will collectively review and decide on the best course of action to take, if any. The Safety Team retains the right to not act on a report. 

Confidentiality and data policy

All in-person and anonymous reports, and any additional information and data included, are collected and stored solely for the purpose of enforcing this Code of Conduct. 

This information is only shared with the Safety Team (excluding any persons recused) and eLife staff members handling appeals. All of these individuals have been given guidelines on how to safeguard the data, to use it only for the aforementioned purposes, and not to disclose it to any other parties without our consent. Some of these individuals are outside of the European Economic Area (EEA). We will not share any of the harassment victims’ personal information beyond discussions between Safety Team without victims’ affirmative consent. 

All data is stored in a private Google Drive folder owned by eLife, which access will be limited to members of the Safety Team. We retain the data for as long as we need to for the aforementioned purpose and up to three years.

You may request a copy of any personal data that eLife holds about you. To exercise these rights, please contact You may complain about our retention and processing of your personal data to the Information Commissioner’s Office, the supervisory authority for data protection issues in England and Wales.


Actions the Sprint’s Safety Team may take include and are not limited to:

  • Asking anyone to stop a behaviour; the person asked is expected to comply immediately
  • Asking anyone to leave the event and online spaces either temporarily, for the remainder of the event, or permanently
  • Removing anyone’s access to the event spaces that we manage either temporarily, for the reminder of the event, or permanently
  • Communicating to all participants to reinforce our expectations for conduct and remind what is unacceptable behaviour; this may be public for practical reasons
  • Communicating to all participants that an incident has taken place and how we will act or have acted– this may be for the purpose of letting event participants know we are aware and are dealing with the incident; this communication may include naming any person who has been asked to stop or leave– this would be for the purpose of enabling us to enforce the action
  • Banning anyone from participating in eLife-managed spaces, future events and activities, either temporarily or permanently.
  • No action

Please note that there are spaces and platforms on which the Sprint’s Safety Team has no way to control access. These include but are not limited to:

  • Social media platforms, e.g. Twitter, Facebook
  • Public GitHub repositories

In these venues, in addition to some of the other actions we can take above, we can:

  • Be the ones who/support participants to report issues to the venue
  • Support and encourage participants to block people

Appealing a Decision

To appeal a decision, contact Lena Dowdall ( with your appeal and eLife will review the case.


For questions about codes of conduct, we recommend you check the Code of Conduct FAQ.


This Code of Conduct is adapted from many other sources, including: