Code of Practice - Procedures


Revised on 27th October, 2020

The following procedures will guide the considerations of individual cases that are brought to the attention of the Ethics Committee.


The Committee will consider only cases that are formally submitted to it by persons or bodies that are involved in claims of unethical behaviour. The Committee will not consider cases submitted by those who have no standing in a dispute, and the Committee will not itself seek out instances of apparent unethical behaviour.

The Committee may decline to act on any case that is brought to its attention. The Committee will not reconsider a case after a decision has been made unless substantial new information which could lead to a different decision is made available.

The Committee normally only considers submissions they regard as current. Other issues will be considered at its discretion.


Cases for consideration should be communicated to the Chairman of the Committee.

Although the Committee will not act until a formal complaint is lodged, earlier informal enquiries may be addressed to the Chairman.


The Committee expects that before submitting a case a complainant will have already sought to address the issues involved and, in the case of published works, will have utilised the procedure for dealing with ethical issues formulated by the publishers.


The Committee will not consider any case in which formal legal proceedings have been instigated, and may cease to consider a case if such proceedings are commenced. The Committee will not consider any case that is a matter of direct dispute between a mathematician and the institution that employs that person.


The normal procedure of the Committee when it receives a formal complaint will be as follows.

First, the Committee will determine whether it is appropriate to consider the complaint and whether a prima facie case exists.

If it does so determine, the Committee will then seek to discover the underlying facts of a case. As part of this process, the Chairman will write privately to the accused person or bodies, and invite them either to act quickly to accept the complaint and make appropriate amends, or to explain to the Committee why they do not deem it appropriate to act in this way.

In the latter case, or when the accused party does not respond, especially when accusations of plagiarism are made, the Committee will normally ask some experts, each unconnected to the various parties, to study the accusations and advise the Committee whether they are justified. On receipt of this advice, the Committee will form a view on the merits of the case, and will then communicate its findings privately to all parties.

The Committee expects that any party deemed to have acted unethically will make appropriate and timely amends.


In the case where the party deemed to have acted unethically remains obdurate, and the Committee is convinced that unethical behaviour has occurred, the Committee will make a formal finding, which will be sent by the Chairman to the President of the European Mathematical Society.

The President, after consultation with the Executive Committee, may communicate the findings, for example by informing the Head of the Institution that employs the party deemed to have acted unethically, the relevant Heads of Department of people involved, relevant editors and publishers, as appropriate.

The European Mathematical Society may publicise the findings of the Ethics Committee in a particular case.


The Committee will report regularly on its activities and summarise its findings, without identifying persons or institutions involved in specific cases, in the Newsletter of the European Mathematical Society.

Members of the Ethics Committee will adhere to the following principles.

  • Each member of the Committee will excuse himself or herself from the discussion of and any participation in the decision concerning any case submitted to the Committee if they have any conflict of interest (or anything that could give an appearance of a conflict of interest) related to the submitted case. Such a Committee member should inform the Chairman in advance, and then he or she will not receive any papers or information related to the relevant case.

  • All members of the Committee will keep all cases confidential until a decision has been made public; all internal discussions and information received concerning individuals will remain confidential.

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Code of Practice

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