Ethics in Astronomical Research
[This is crossposted by request from the aavso-discussion mailing list. -Matthew]
The following is not directly related to variable star astronomy per se, although it does relate to one aspect of scientific research, and so is relevant to the purposes of the aavso-discussion list.
I have recently been reviewing the AAS Ethics Statement that was released back in January of this year. It is a document developed by a working group within the American Astronomical Society, and approved by the AAS Council at the winter meeting. Many of the things in the document are probably intuitive to most, but it is still important to have them presented in a formal way. Science is a social endeavor, and it requires an ethical foundation to function best.
Their statement makes for interesting reading for me both as a professional astronomer and as a member of the AAS, but it occurred to me that it might be of interest to the AAVSO member and observer communities as well. Here is the link if you are interested in reading it:
To my knowledge, this is the only statement of professional ethics that relates specifically to the field of astronomy, although most of the statements of principle are relevant to all of the sciences. The IAU does not have its own statement, but refers to that of the International Council for Science:
I'd be interested to hear opinions by members and observers on how such statements are relevant to the AAVSO, and whether the AAS statement is comprehensive or remains incomplete. You're welcome to contact me privately although I think it would be an interesting conversation for the list.
Addendum: Lee Anne Willson pointed out to me that there is a thread in the AAS blog that contains some discussion of the AAS statement prior to its publication that might also interest people: