Adopted October 14, 1989; Amended July 15, 2020
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society is dedicated to the betterment of humankind through the scientific inquiry into and application of those principles that relate to the interface of humans with their natural, residential, recreational, and vocational environments and the procedures, practices, and design considerations that increase a human's performance and safety at those interfaces. To promote and sustain the highest levels of professional and scientific performance by its members, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society has adopted this Code of Ethics. No special oath to these Articles is necessary; its provisions are incumbent on all classes of membership of the Society.
No such code can be expected to completely anticipate all of the various and complex arrangements that professionals create, nor can it fully explore the many ramifications of these arrangements. The following Articles, then, are a guide and serve to set the tenor of professional behavior. The details must be left to the conscience and goodwill of the elected and appointed officers of the Society who must administer adherence to this code.
Article I – Professional Qualifications
Human factors scientists and engineers have the responsibility of factually representing their professional qualifications as well as those of the institution they represent.
Members limit their practice to those areas of human factors wherein they maintain a competence by virtue of training and/or experience and not extend their endeavors beyond their realm of competence. They enter into additional areas of human factors practice and teaching only after sufficient professional preparation or with proper professional oversight.
Where a brief or summary statement of qualifications would be deceptive or misleading, members present their educational background in the detail and with the additional explanation necessary for an accurate interpretation of their area of study and the level of attainment achieved. Members do likewise with their representations of their work experience so that there is little chance for a misunderstanding of the extensiveness or intensiveness of their work achievements.
Members represent their employers' capabilities and interests accurately so as not to mislead their clients or potential clients or damage the business interests or reputation of their employers.
Members, when representing their professional affiliations, factually represent their current or past affiliations with any institution or organization as well as factually represent the aims and purposes of those institutions or organizations.
Members do not use their affiliation with the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society or its Chapters for purposes not consonant with the stated purposes of the Society, nor do they announce their affiliation with the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society in such a way as to falsely imply sponsorship or approval by that organization.
Article II – General Conduct
Human factors scientists and engineers have the responsibility of comporting themselves in a manner consistent with that generally expected of the professional community.
In the conduct of their professional activities, members do everything necessary to reflect personal integrity as well as to convey the integrity of their profession.
Members avoid sensationalism, exaggeration, and superficiality that constitutes deception, and must similarly avoid any misrepresentation in all public statements, presentations, and submissions to mass media.
Members avoid all situations that contain elements of conflict of interest or must provide full disclosure of those conflicts to all potentially affected parties.
Members do not use a position as a teacher, a granting or contracting official, an employer or employee, or any other position of influence to coerce or harass others.
Members do not use race, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, socio-economic status, beliefs, or national origin as a consideration in hiring, promotion, or training or in any research or application where such consideration is irrelevant to the situational demands for performance.
Members factually represent all aspects of an employment offer, fully disclosing the terms and conditions of work, the length of employment, research projects and facilities available, work assignments, and opportunities for advancement.
Where responsible for design, members include considerations for the safety of person and property, and, through the appropriate source, notify those concerned when a hazardous condition exists.
Members clearly present the adverse safety and health consequences to be expected from deviations proposed if their technical judgment is overruled by technical or administrative authority.
Article III – Publications
Human factors scientists and engineers generally have the obligation to report their work to the general scientific community and to give credit to those who have contributed on a professional level to that publication.
Members give credit, proportional to their contribution, to all those responsible for the formulation, experimental design, analysis, or other treatment of the material if their contribution was on a professional level. Such credit should be extended by a listing of all contributors' names in the publication. That listing can be in the form of joint authorship with the name of the most substantial contributor listed as senior author, or by a footnote or introductory statement when the contribution is minor. This Principle deals with credit for professional contributions only and in no way affects copyright ownership.
Members ensure that their work is reported factually, bearing professional responsibility for all elements of their reportage, including the accuracy of analysis, quotation from other works, and conclusions drawn. Members maintain the highest standards of scientific experimentation and analysis.
Members maintain a position of objectivity when editing publications and reviewing papers that reflect views other than their own, as well as papers that present data in conflict with those they themselves may have previously published. Members do not represent the work (words, graphics, and ideas) of another person, in whole or in part, as their own - a practice commonly referred to as plagiarism. Exact wording from another is properly indicated by the use of quotation marks, and conceptual or paraphrased material from another is acknowledged through source citation. (Adapted from Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th Edition [p. 349], by American Psychological Association, 2001, Washington, DC: Publisher. Copyright ©2001 by the American Psychological Association. Adapted with permission.)
Article IV – Subject Precautions
Human factors scientists and engineers have the responsibility of treating both human and animal subjects humanely and in accordance with federal, state, and local laws or regulations, as well as the generally accepted procedures within the scientific community.
Members determine, through consultation with colleagues or institutional review committees, that the exposure of human or animal research subjects to hazards, stress, divulgence of history or preferences, or tedium is commensurate with the significance of the problem being researched.
Members determine the degree of hazard present in the exposure of human or animal research subjects, avoiding any exposures to human subjects that may result in death, dismemberment, permanent dysfunction or extreme pain, and utilize the lowest levels of exposure to both human and animal subjects consistent with the phenomenon under consideration.
Members ensure the ethical treatment of human and animal research subjects by collaborators, assistants, students, and employees.
Members establish an informed consent with human research subjects when required by institutional, state, or federal codes or regulations, making explicit in plain language the terms of participation, particularly with respect to any elements of risk or stress involved, and adhere to those terms throughout the experiment. One of these terms must be that the subject has the right to terminate participation at any time without prejudice.
Members do not coerce potential human research subjects to participate as subjects, nor do they use undue monetary rewards to induce subjects to take risks they would not otherwise take.
Members preserve the confidentiality of any information obtained from human research subjects that, if divulged, may have harmful effects on those subjects.
Article V – Forensic Practice
Human factors scientists and practitioners do not allow the adversarial system of jurisprudence to affect the quality or integrity of their practice.
Members provide testimony objectively and without bias; their testimony is based on credible data and/or scientific principles; they are prepared to identify the merits and limitations of the data and principles as well as their own capability to interpret those data and apply those principles.
Members avoid impugning the integrity of other expert witnesses without a factual, reasonable, and substantive basis.
Members do not accept fees on a basis contingent on the outcome of the matter.
Members accept that the client is the attorney who engaged them and not the client of that attorney who is party to the suit.
Except where required by the Federal Rules of Evidence, members avoid discussing the suit with others in a manner that would disclose the caption of the suit or parties involved, absent the permission of the engaging attorney, until the suit is absolved.
Members participating in a suit do not make public statements likely to influence or prejudice the judicial proceedings during their pendency.
Following suit resolution, members do not reveal information detrimental to the litigants' or client's interests, except where they believe silence would breach the greater duty of protecting public health and safety.