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ASME requires ethical practice by each of its members and has adopted the following Code of Ethics of Engineers as referenced in the ASME Constitution, Article C2.1.1.
Engineers uphold and advance the integrity, honor and dignity of the engineering profession by:
The ASME criteria for interpretation of the Canons are guidelines and represent the objectives toward which members of the engineering profession should strive. They are principles which an engineer can reference in specific situations. In addition, they provide interpretive guidance to the ASME Board on Professional Practice and Ethics on the Code of Ethics of Engineers.
Responsibility: Council on Member Affairs/Board on Professional Practice and Ethics
A statement of the Board on Professional Practice and Ethics Of The American Society of Mechanical Engineers May 24, 1991
Policy Statement On Publication Of Professional/Technical Articles, Papers And Reports
ASME's Board on Professional Practice and Ethics (BPPE) and other professional engineering bodies have considered cases involving ethics violations of publication rights and authorship of papers. These and similar ethics cases are of serious concern to BPPE because strict adherence to soundly-based ethical standards is essential to the engineering profession if it is to attain professional status in our society and publicly.
Not all universities and industrial research facilities have definitive and clearly written procedures covering the subject of publication rights and authorship. This lack of clear direction has led to misunderstandings and confusion among students performing research and supervising faculty, as well as supervisors and researchers in industry.
In one ASME ethics case, a professor wrote a technical paper based on the thesis work of his graduate student and listed the former student as a junior co-author without the consent, or prior knowledge, of the student. The former student assumed that the professor had used the student's thesis work as his own and, consequently, lodged an ethics complaint against the professor.
The BPPE supports the recognition of joint contributors to professional/technical publications. Persons making substantial or key contributions to a project or work on which such publications are based should receive credit commensurate and appropriate to their contributions. This credit may include co-authorship or acknowledgment. Co-authors listed on proposed and accepted publications should have entered the joint authorship arrangement by mutual consent prior to submittal of the document for publication and should have received written permission to use any unpublished work of others which serves as the major basis or key component of the publication.
To avoid situations tending to suggest an ethics violation, technical communications for publication (articles, papers, reports, or the like) which are based on research involving more than one individual (including students and supervising faculty, industrial supervisor/researcher, or other co-workers) should adhere to clearly defined and appropriately disseminated guidelines on authorship. These guidelines should be publicized in corporate, university or other employer policies and should take cognizance of professional/technical society recommendations.