Science Writer’s Statement of Ethics

Published: 4.12.21 / Last updated: 4.15.21

Summary: The following is a list of ethical principles that I follow in my journalistic, nonfiction writing. You can count on these when reading my work or when working with me as an interviewee, editor, co-writer, and so on.

Background: 99% of the professional writing experiences I have had have been fine from the standpoint of ethics. Almost all issues that arise between writer and writer, writer and editor, and so on, fall within standard ethical and professional boundaries.

That being said, I have had one or two experiences that helped me think more about the importance of ethical standards in science writing and reporting.

Aside from lending confidence to those who read my work or who I work with, I hope that this statement can help inform future collaborations, set up notice of ethical boundaries in advance, and make it clear that I hold myself accountable for upholding ethical standards in my writing.

  1. Truth in reporting. When I quote someone in an article, I will use their words, allowing only minor changes to correct grammar and obvious mistakes, unless otherwise stated. I will seek to separately compartmentalize the process of writing and obtaining quotes as much as possible, so that quotes in my writing are what they seem to be: direct transcriptions of another person’s verbal (or written) statements.
  2. Truth in writing. I will make all efforts to ensure that the substance of my writing is accurate and truthful. I will not knowingly mislead my audience or make factual misstatements that go against my own understanding of the truth.
  3. Diligence in writing. I will perform due diligence for my writing, performing research as needed. I will adhere to this research in any writing that purports to provide substantive understanding.
  4. Disclosures of conflicts. I will be upfront in disclosing any conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise, that pertain to my writing.
  5. Corrections for veracity. I will always remain open to requests to correct or revise mistakes in published work. Due to the nature of publishing, it is not always possible to make these corrections; but I will diligently work to resolve any issues that are brought to my attention, when I deem that resolutions are needed.
  6. Disclosure of spin. When writing material that is explicitly geared towards the financial success of a corporation or business, I will be clear about my affiliations, and ensure that financial interests are clear.
  7. Proper attribution. I will diligently provide attributions to relevant prior work and contributions.