ELIXIR Hub Code of Conduct for events

The ELIXIR Code of Conduct has been created so all participants at ELIXIR events organised and/or funded by the ELIXIR Hub can interact with each other in a respectful and safe environment and have avenues to turn to in case they believe there has been a breach to this Code of Conduct.


The ELIXIR Code of Conduct is applicable to all events organised and/or funded by the ELIXIR Hub. In addition to the event itself, the Code of Conduct also applies during the event social activities and any online forums associated with the event, such as (but not limited to) GitHub, Slack and Twitter or conference Apps such as Myia, or Sli.do.

Events organised and funded by an ELIXIR Node aren’t governed by this Code of Conduct. However, we encourage ELIXIR Nodes to establish their own Code of Conduct or adopt this version, and put the necessary procedures in place to follow through on the implementation.

The Code of Conduct is referred to on the respective event web pages and linked to from the Eventbrite registration page.

By participating in an ELIXIR event, participants indicate their acceptance of the procedures by which ELIXIR resolves any Code of Conduct incidents, which may include storage and processing of their personal information.

Our values: a place to feel respected, a place to feel safe

The opportunity to bring together differing perspectives is one of ELIXIR’s greatest assets. ELIXIR wishes to attract and develop a diverse pool of talent, and to leverage the rich variety of experience, skills and potential of all employees associated with ELIXIR Nodes, users and communities. Therefore it is prerequisite that ELIXIR provides for a safe environment that allows everyone to feel respected and included, and receive equitable treatment by others. 

ELIXIR works to maintain a modern, inclusive environment where people value diversity, foster dignity and respect, take each other’s perspectives into account and feel comfortable being themselves – regardless of characteristics including sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age or working experience, physical or mental challenges, physical appearance, body size, pregnancy, familial status, ethnicity, national origin, race, citizenship, language, socio-economic status, technical choices, experience level, political or other opinion, religious beliefs (or lack thereof) or educational or social background.

As a statement of principle, ELIXIR rejects discrimination based on any such factors. In addition, ELIXIR opposes all forms of bullying including threatening, humiliating, coercive, or intimidating conduct that causes harm to, interferes with, or sabotages scientific activities, reputations and careers. Discrimination, harassment (in any form), and bullying create a hostile environment that reduces the quality, integrity, and pace of the advancement of science by marginalizing individuals and communities. It also damages productivity and career advancement, and prevents the healthy exchange of ideas.

ELIXIR strongly believes that given the multicultural background of participants to its events, transgressions of the present Code are more likely to be both a) more frequent and b) unintentional. It therefore calls upon its participants to speak up where they lack the necessary respect and/or feel discriminated and allow for corrective action.

Expected behaviour

All participants in our ELIXIR Hub organised and/or funded events are expected to show respect and courtesy to others. All interactions should be professional regardless of platform: either in-person or online. In order to foster a positive and professional learning environment we encourage the following kinds of behaviours at our events:

  • Use welcoming and inclusive language
  • Be respectful of different viewpoints and experiences
  • Foster scientific and technical rigour and curiosity with constructive and facts-based critique
  • Gracefully accept constructive criticism
  • Focus on what is best for ELIXIR
  • Show courtesy and respect towards other ELIXIR members and guests
  • Be mindful of your own biases and do not let them get in the way of respectful interaction
  • Speak up if you believe the spirit of the Code has not been upheld. Ideally, where feasible, directly address the issue with the person who committed the transgression 
  • Adjust the behaviour where it was seen to be short of the requirements indicated in this Code. 

Unacceptable behaviour

Examples of unacceptable behaviour by participants at any ELIXIR Hub organised and/or funded events include:

  • written or verbal comments which have the effect of excluding people on the basis of membership of any specific group
  • causing someone to fear for their safety, such as through stalking, following, or intimidating
  • violent threats or language directed against another person
  • the display of sexual or violent images
  • unwelcome sexual attention
  • nonconsensual or unwelcome physical contact
  • sustained disruption of talks, events or communications
  • insults or put downs
  • sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, or exclusionary jokes
  • excessive swearing
  • incitement to violence, suicide, or self-harm
  • continuing to initiate interaction (including photography or recording) with someone after being asked to stop
  • publication of private communication without consent
  • deliberate false accusations - the purpose of this Code of Conduct is to protect participants against misconduct, it is not in place to resolve personal disagreements. 

Application of the Code of Conduct

The ELIXIR Code of Conduct Allies Group (CoCAG) are responsible for enforcing the Code of Conduct with the aim of avoiding all incidents of assault, harassment or any other form of inappropriate and uncivil behaviour. 

The ELIXIR Code of Conduct Allies Group is supported by “ELIXIR Allies”, usually individuals employed by the ELIXIR Hub, who are assigned responsibility for an individual event. The ELIXIR Ally will always be identified at the start of the event, or in cases where there can’t be an ELIXIR Ally present, this will also be communicated at the beginning. In these cases the event host may also take responsibility for ensuring adoption of the Code of Conduct.

If an individual experiences or witnesses any unacceptable behaviour, they should, to the extent possible, inform the alleged offender about which behaviour has impacted or is impacting them in which respect and ask to stop.

As an alternative, or if approaching the alleged offender was unsuccessful the individual may contact: 

All complaints will be treated seriously and reviewed and responded to promptly by the Code of Conduct Allies Group and will be kept confidential. While the ELIXIR Hub is not an adjudicating body, an ELIXIR Ally can help participants to contact venue security, provide escorts, help seek out appropriate authorities or local law enforcement to further handle any form of harassment or assault where needed, or otherwise offer advice and support or assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the event. 

The ELIXIR Ally will report the incident to the ELIXIR Code of Conduct Allies Group using the dedicated email address or you may report the incident yourself. Confidentiality will be maintained unless disclosure is legally required.

If an event participant engages in any of these harassing behaviours, the on site ELIXIR Ally, in consultation with the ELIXIR Code of Conduct Allies Group, may take appropriate action to stop the misbehaviour at once and/or reduce the likelihood that the misbehaviour will happen again in the future. Such action could include, for example, a warning to the offender or expulsion from the ongoing or future events. The ELIXIR Code of Conduct Allies Group also reserves the right to take further action as deemed appropriate. 

Concerning ELIXIR Hub members of personnel, EMBL’s regulatory framework is applicable, meaning its internal policies as well as its disciplinary regime. 

We note that this is a good standard to uphold in all professional circumstances.

We value your attendance.


This document is adapted from guidelines written for The Carpentries Code of Conduct which itself  is adapted from guidelines written by the Django Project, which was based on the Ada Initiative template and the PyCon 2013 Procedure for Handling Harassment Incidents with additional language added by Otter Tech from the PyCon U.S. 2018 Code of Conduct (licensed CC BY 3.0). The Carpentries Code of Conduct is released under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. This document  also borrows language from the ISCB Code of Conduct, 2018.

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The ELIXIR Code of Conduct is available for reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.