The American Mathematical Society adopted ethical guidelines in January 2005 that are addressed not only to AMS members, but to the entire mathematical research community. These guidelines concern mathematical research and publications, the social responsibility of researchers, the value of degrees and scientific publishing.
We offer here a synthesis of this document.
Mathematical research and publications
In this first paragraph, the AMS focuses on the honesty of mathematical research. Thus, the AMS asks mathematicians to:
- reject plagiarism
- correctly allocate search results
- stay informed about their field and in particular about work related to their research
- properly reference and credit the documents used
- not to publish results before the research is completed
- not to misappropriate the work of others
- correct or withdraw an erroneous result in time
- only list as authors those who have made a significant contribution to the content
Social responsibility of mathematicians
The AMS supports the unrestricted dissemination of mathematical knowledge. This means that everyone’s skills must be respected regardless of race, gender, ethnic origin, age, sexual orientation, religious belief, political conviction or disability.
Researchers must reject conflicts of interest. If a researcher is caught in such a situation, he or she should withdraw from the decision-making process. On the other hand, the anonymity of the authors must be respected when evaluating the articles. If conflict is unavoidable, the AMS recommends keeping evidence of the irregularity of the decision-making process.
The AMS also recommends that researchers resist the excessive confidentiality sometimes demanded by institutions.
If mathematical research is to have consequences for public health, safety or general welfare, researchers must inform their employers and the public.
Finally, the working conditions offered must be acceptable, both in terms of salary and workload.
The institutions awarding doctorates guarantee the high standard and originality of the thesis work.
Editors of mathematics journals also have responsibilities. Thus, the AMS emphasises that the editor is responsible for reviewing articles in a timely manner and should evaluate them according to the state of knowledge at the time of publication. Thus, it must respect the publication deadlines and notify the authors in case of delay. The published article must indicate the dates of submission and revision.
The editor must also respect the chronology of scientific results and postpone the publication of an article citing an article submitted but not yet published.
The AMS also recalls that the editor must take scientific responsibility for its journals.
Finally, in addition to respecting the anonymity of readers, editors and reviewers must respect the confidentiality of submitted articles and not appropriate ideas from them.