Code of Conduct

Experimental Micromechanical Characterisation Research Group Code of Conduct

Last reviewed - TBB 28/03/2018


We value the participation of every member of our community and want to ensure everyone has an enjoyable and fulfilling experience, both professionally and personally. Accordingly, all members of Experimental Micromechanical Characterisation Research Group (ExpMicroMech) are expected to show respect and courtesy to others at all times. We create our culture and our culture is inclusive.

Please note that this code of conduct supplements, and does not trump, Department and College level policies for your level of employ or study.

Outputs and open science

Where possible, all outputs will be published ‘Open Access’ (OA) (preferably Gold or Diamond OA; for definitions, please see the Open Research Glossary), and we will aim to upload manuscripts to a relevant pre-print server at the point of journal submission, review, and ultimate publication. Where Gold OA is not possible, the manuscript should be made publically available via Green OA and must be placed in the Imperial College’s ‘Symplectic’ system within three months of acceptance. For details on submission to Symplectic, or to discuss publishing options, please contact Ben Britton.

Data to support a paper, at a minimum the CSVs of tabulated data, image figures, and associated videos, for each paper will be collated together with a metadata file (to describe the attached files) and uploaded to a repository, often via and associated within the manuscript with a data statement. Where possible, we will release codes and scripts to assist the community, but this is tempered with our careful need to manage the intellectual property requirements of our group, sponsors and collaborators. Release of data and information should be discussed first with Ben Britton.

Authorship on any manuscript or presentation will be openly discussed in lab meetings and we aim to be inclusive of everyone who has made a significant contribution to the work being presented. A “significant contribution” can include but is not limited to, interpretations of primary data and development of ideas presented in the work; it need not include data curation or financial contribution to the work undertaken. The order list of authors will typically follow the Physical Sciences conventions of the lead author (who will often lead writing of the document) who takes the first position, and significant up-front positions are are dictated by the approximate percentage contribution made by each author (see here for further information). Latter author positions are often held by supervisors of the work. Where conflict arises, Ben Britton will facilitate discussion to help resolve this. As a group, we will endeavour to encourage an open dialogue about this, and ideally authorship check-ins will occur several times over the lifetime of the study. Where possible, we will include an author contribution statement as part of a paper.

Intellectual Property

We work with a range of funders and collaborators, and the management of intellectual property is critical to the smooth running of our research. It is important that we discuss IP at the start of projects, and each researcher maintains their own IP register for each project they are involved with.


All computers should be backed up, daily, to at least two locations external to your main PC (e.g. a PC-attached USB hard drive, your H: drive, or the Diskserver). In addition, weekly backups can be made to an off-site, ‘cloud’-based storage system such as Box, Google Drive or DropBox.

Upon completion of a project and where data confidentiality allows, all data should be placed on an appropriate repository with a DOI. A curated version of all datasets used during a project should be provided to made available on the Diskserver and the quality of the curation should be verified with Ben Britton. All group members must also adhere to Imperial College’s Research Data Management Policy.

The group operates numerous ICT resources (e.g. the shared group computers, and the dongle server). These shared resources should be respected and not abused, if you need more computation resource then please discuss your requirements with Ben Britton (and we can often purchase or find arrangements to suit your needs).

Flexible working hours & intergroup communication

The exact hours members of the lab choose to work is up to them; however, being on campus between 1000 and 1600 most days will help facilitate collaborative working and, we hope, lead to a more fulfilling research experience.

Typically, we host a weekly group meeting at 0930 on Friday’s and members are expected to attend if they are not otherwise engaged in research business (e.g. at conference, attending training or a lecture, or using a central facility). The EA-Micromechanics Group meeting, hosted in partnership, with Professor Fionn Dunne, is an excellent forum for updating colleagues on project progress, developing research skills, and widening our collective understanding.

Please inform Ben Britton of holidays or notable absences in advance (there is a group calendar that you can use). Permission for holiday is rarely required, but please respect key deadlines within the calendar year and respect that we work in a research group. It is important to take holiday, respect weekends (or time in lieu) and establish a sustainable work-life balance. It is also important to respect the time and efforts of others, and the contribution of funders, and to note that effective working will improve the quality of your research. Where there are key time pressures, it is important to prioritise work. If you struggle with establishing a sustainable work life balance, please discuss this with Ben Britton at an early stage.

Where possible, avoid sending work-related email outside of 0800 and 1800 on Weekdays. Outlook provides functionality for saving an email as a draft. There are also scripting methods to assist in good email management (i.e. such that you can complete tasks on the weekend, but not burden others until the weekday).

The majority of intergroup communication occurs via Slack ( It is suggested that you install the desktop client on your PC, and that you install a client on your mobile. For the mobile install, disable push notifications. Often questions about the lab can be quickly and easily answers in public channels, or via direct messaging on Slack.

For most Monday’s, there is a weekly catch up via Howdy. Please endeavour to reply (between 1030 and 1730) as this is a useful feedback mechanism to assist in prioritising group activities, and to provide focus for your own work.

For all communication methods, Please respect people’s working patterns, and remember that other people will have different priorities and focus. Please give consideration to the timing of your correspondence with respect to what the recipient needs to do; for example, try not to send a message at 1759 for something that is required for a 1000 meeting the next day. No lab members are required nor should feel obliged to reply to messages outside of their typical work hours. However, prompt replies to messages, within these times, is helpful.

You should also be a member of the and Outlook groups. Please remember that these groups have a large subscriber base, and that emails to the groups (especially) should be polite, informative and respectful.

In your work related life, you may wish to engage with social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). Please be considerate of others when using these platforms, and respectful for how others may wish to use them. For instance Ben uses Twitter in a personal and professional nature, and his account has a wide audience (including the Head of Materials, prospective students, his parents, funders, and other academics) and it is important to bear in mind they very public nature of interactions on social media, and that many people (who may not be on a specific platform) will read and hear of online correspondence. In contrast, Ben is also on Facebook but he does not use this for work and may only friend group members once they have left the lab. We are not compelled to engage with any social media, or use any media for work related purposes and we will never pressure each other to ‘friend’ or ‘follow’ each other.

If you experience any challenges related to flexible working or communication within the ExpMicroMech, please do not hesitate to contact Ben Britton. All discussions will be treated as confidential.

Inclusivity and diversity

All group member are dedicated to a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age or religion. We do not tolerate harassment by and/or of members of our group in any form, and we ask all members of the community to conform to the following Code of Conduct:

    • Be kind to others, and do not insult or put down other group members. We acknowledge that we will grow as a team, and learn from each other.
    • Behave professionally. Remember that harassment and sexist, racist, or exclusionary jokes are not appropriate.
    • Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of discussions, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.
    • Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.
    • Online communication may be public, such as in social media or via (purposeful or inadvertent) forwarding of emails. It is often sensible to be explicit if you require items to remain confidential, though note that we will try to be discrete where possible.
    • Group members are not responsible for policing content of social media and members are individually responsible for considering the impact of the communication on others.
    • It is often best to resolve issues through direct communication, rather than embarrassing people publicly (e.g. via a twitter mob)

Ben Britton will discuss the code of conduct with lab members who violate these rules, no matter how much they have contributed to the ExpMicroMech, or how specialised their skill set. If inappropriate behaviour persists after this initial discussion, formal processes, in line with Imperial College’s work practise policies, will commence. To report an issue, please contact Ben Britton; all communication will be treated as confidential. If you do not feel comfortable contacting Ben directly, you may find discussions with Professor Dunne or the appropriate members of academic staff (e.g. the Tutor for Women, the Post Graduate Tutor, or the Post Doctoral Staff Representatives).

Thanks, and please enjoy your time in the ExpMicroMech!

This Code of Conduct (CoC) borrows heavily and is modified from several existing CoCs: (i) BasinsIC (ii) BahlaiLab CoC; (iii) WhitakerLab; and (iv) Hill Lab.

This CoC is released as CC-BY 4.0