As participants in the Indaba Mentorship Programme, you are asked and expected to comply with the code of ethics and conduct outlined here. We ask that you recall a central principle of African philosophy, whether you know it as ujamaa (Swahili), umuntu (Chichewa), ubuntu (Zulu), unhu (Shona), djema’a (Arabic), or through the many other words used across our continent: the philosophy of familyhood and unity.
This code of conduct and ethics outlines what the expected standards of behaviour on all Indaba platforms and events are. It is every participant’s responsibility to uphold, and is how we maintain an environment that keeps everyone safe and welcome. This document consists of two parts, the Code of Conduct and the Code of Ethics.
Code of Conduct: Every participant is responsible for promoting and creating a safe experience for all participants, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, nationality, age, religion, or socioeconomic status.
Code of Ethics: Every participant is tasked to comply with the following ethical principles: Contribute to society and to human well-being; Uphold high standards of scientific excellence; Avoid harm; Be honest, trustworthy and transparent; Be fair and take action to avoid discrimination; Respect the work required to produce new ideas and artefacts; Respect privacy; Honour confidentiality.
Code of Conduct
Our duty as an Indaba community is to create a familyhood of people and cultures and learning, built on the principles of collective personsonhood, freedom, equality and unity; and towards the aim of strengthening African machine learning. We best serve each other when we allow each other the freedom to be as we are; only on the basis of equality – between genders, nationalities or other differences – can we work together cooperatively; and when we are united as a society can we work towards the good of all.
Every participant of the Indaba Mentorship Programme must fiercely defend these principles, and make it their responsibility to uphold this spirit of togetherness.
We are committed to creating a safe experience for all participants in the Indaba Mentorship Programme, and will not tolerate harassment of participants in any form. Participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled permanently at the discretion of the organisers.
Forms of harassment and discriminatory behavior include, but are not limited to:
- Sexual language and imagery,
- Sexist, racist, and exclusionary jokes, and acts that insult or belittle other participants in any way.
- Offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status;
- Sharing sexual images;
- Deliberate intimidation;
- Stalking and following;
- Unwarranted photography or recording;
- Sustained disruption of event programming;
- Unwelcome sexual attention;
- In any way, creating a sexualised environment.
These acts are unacceptable at any and all Indaba events and programmes, whether organised by the Indaba organisers, sponsors of the Indaba, or by participants themselves.
Reporting an Incident
You can report an incident or concern in two ways:
You can make an anonymous report by completing this form or at https://deeplearningindaba.com/about/code-of-conduct/ . This is an anonymous form that does not require an email address or other identifying information.
We can’t follow-up an anonymous report with you directly, but we will fully investigate it and take whatever action is necessary to prevent a recurrence.
You can make a personal report by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, through the Baobab platform contacts, or by directly contacting an Indaba organiser. In your report, please include all relevant information so that we can handle the case appropriately.
When making a personal report, the organisers will ensure your report is kept confidential. They may involve other staff/organisers/partners to ensure your report is managed properly.
Enforcing our Standards
Any participants of the Indaba Mentorship Programme that are asked to stop any harassing or discriminatory behavior are expected to comply immediately. A response of “just joking” or “teasing” or “playful” will not be accepted; behavior can be harassing without an intent to offend.
If a participant engages in behaviour that breaks this code of conduct, the Indaba organisers retain the right to take any actions needed to keep the Programme as a welcoming environment for all participants. This includes:
- A formal or informal warning to the offender,
- Expulsion from the Programme,
- Reporting the incident to the offender’s home institution or funders, or
- Reporting the incident to local law enforcement.
- We expect participants to follow these rules at all event venues and event-related social activities (organised by us, by sponsors, or independently), and when using any online and virtual platforms. We encourage people to follow these rules outside of event activities too!
Code of Ethics
The Mentorship Programme will involve various forms of scientific, technical and professional exchange which should adhere to general ethical principles which we outline in this Code of Ethics. This Code is applicable to both individual researchers and to organisations that carry out, fund, host, or are otherwise involved in research, and associated with the Indaba. The Code should not be seen as prescriptive but as a set of principles to guide ethical, responsible research, participation and engagement.
Contribute to Society and to Human Well-being
- Researchers must acknowledge that all people globally are stakeholders in computing, and that we should use our skills for the benefit of society, its members, and our natural environment.
- Research should minimise negative consequences, including threats to health, safety, personal security, and privacy. In order to do so, it must take into consideration a multiplicity of socio-economic factors and geographies.
- When the interests of multiple groups conflict, the needs of those less advantaged should be given increased attention and priority.
- Researchers should consider whether the results of their efforts will respect diversity, will be used in socially responsible ways, will meet social needs, and will be broadly accessible.
Uphold High Standards of Scientific Excellence
- Researchers and organisations should strive for excellence when conducting research and aim to produce and disseminate work of the highest quality. This implies a commitment to open enquiry, intellectual rigor, integrity, and collaboration.
- Findings must be reported accurately and honestly. Researchers must not make deliberately false or misleading claims, fabricate or falsify data, or misrepresent results. Methods and results should be presented in a way that is transparent and reproducible.
- Where human subjects are involved in the research process (e.g., in direct experiments, or as annotators), the need for ethical approvals from an appropriate ethical review board should be assessed and reported.
- All contributions to the research must be acknowledged, and agreements relating to intellectual property, publication and authorship must be complied with.
- Here, “harm” means negative consequences. Well-intended actions, including those that accomplish desired outcomes, may lead to harm.
- When that harm is unintended, those responsible are obliged to undo or mitigate the harm as much as possible. Avoiding harm begins with engaging with application domain experts, engagement with the communities that the research is intended to serve, and a careful consideration of potential impacts on all those affected.
- When harm is an intentional part of the system, those responsible are obligated to ensure that the harm is ethically justified.
- Harm to the natural environment, whether in the process of producing research or in its application, should also be considered. In all cases, ensure that all harm is minimized.
- The consequences of data aggregation and emergent properties of systems should be carefully analyzed, including those that can become integrated into the structure of society. Researchers have an additional obligation to report any signs of system risks that might result in harm. For reporting, see the section at the end on Concerns and Remediation.
Be Honest, Trustworthy and Transparent
- Researchers should be honest about their qualifications, and about any limitations in their competence to complete a task.
- Researchers should provide full disclosure of all pertinent system capabilities, limitations, and potential problems to the appropriate parties, including any party that may deploy the system.
- Researchers should be open and transparent about any circumstances that might lead to either real or perceived conflicts of interest or otherwise tend to undermine the independence of their judgment. Researchers must consider their competing interests, including from sources of the funding, and report any possible conflicts.
- Researchers should not misrepresent work that might be competing or related, and should not misrepresent an organization’s policies or procedures.
Be Fair and Take Action not to Discriminate
- The values of equality, tolerance, respect for others, and justice govern this principle. The Indaba Code of Conduct provides additional details of expected behaviour at the Conference or when using its online platforms.
- Fairness requires that even careful decision processes provide some avenue for redress of grievances.
- Researchers should foster fair participation of all people—in their research, at the conference and generally—including those of underrepresented groups.
- The use of information and technology may cause new, or enhance existing, inequities. Technologies and practices should be as inclusive and accessible as possible and researchers should take action to avoid creating systems or technologies that disenfranchise or oppress people.
Respect the Work Required to Produce New Ideas and Artefacts
- Researchers must show respect for colleagues, research participants, society, ecosystems, cultural heritage and the environment.
- Developing new ideas, inventions, creative works, and computing artefacts creates value for society, and those who expend this effort should expect to gain value from and receive credit for their work.
- Researchers should therefore credit the creators of ideas, inventions, work, and artefacts, and respect copyrights, patents, trade secrets, license agreements, and other methods of protecting authors’ works.
- The responsibility of respecting privacy applies to machine learning research in multiple ways. Researchers should be familiar with the various definitions and forms of privacy and should understand the rights and responsibilities associated with the collection and use of personal information.
- Data should be used in ways consistent with their licences. Researchers should only use personal information for legitimate ends (e.g., those consistent with approval from an ethics review board) and without violating the rights of individuals and groups.
- The ethical considerations in this Code should supersede technical legality in the use of data and technologies, i.e. researchers must go beyond the minimal ethical requirements (avoid ethics shirking). This requires taking precautions to prevent re-identification of anonymized data, unauthorized data collection or data collected without consent, ensuring the continuous accuracy of data, understanding the provenance of the data, and protecting it from unauthorized access and accidental disclosure.
- Data should be collected under appropriate ethical approvals and such approvals must be acknowledged in papers and other contributions.
- Researchers and reviewers are often entrusted with confidential information such as trade secrets, client data, non-public business strategies, financial information, research data, pre-publication scholarly articles, and patent applications. Researchers should protect confidentiality except in cases where it is evidence of the violation of law, of organizational regulations, or of the Code.
- In these cases, the nature or contents of that information should not be disclosed except to appropriate authorities. Researchers should consider thoughtfully whether such disclosures are consistent with the Code.
The Indaba strives to create a positive and inclusive environment. As such, the Indaba organisers periodically review this Code of Conduct and Ethics (at least annually) to ensure that it continues to align with the philosophy of familyhood and unity, and addresses the needs of our community. The Indaba organisers welcome feedback. All feedback can be sent to us by email at email@example.com.
This Code of Conduct was written by adapting the wording and structure from the Geek Feminism Wiki, the We Rise Tech Conference, the Conference on Neural and Information Processing Systems, and the ICLR Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics.