TOS Ethics Committee


The TOS Ethics Committee is responsible for investigating alleged scientific misconduct and making recommendations to the TOS Council as described in Section 4.1.4. of the TOS Policy on Professional Integrity, Ethics, and Conduct.


The Ethics Committee is a standing committee of volunteers comprised of a Chair and six TOS members, none of whom are current members of the TOS Council.

Rick Murray (Chair), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Emmanuel Boss, University of Maine
Elva Escobar-Briones, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico
Nick Record, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science
Elisabeth Sikes, Rutgers University
Jason Sylvan, Texas A&M University

Interested in joining the committee? Scroll down to the “JOINING THE COMMITTEE” section and learn more.


In addition to convening one annual meeting, the Ethics Committee will meet on an as-needed basis to evaluate issues or complaints formally presented to the committee. Meetings will take place virtually unless otherwise noted.


The TOS Values Statement guides Council and Committee activities, and all members abide by the TOS Policy on Professional Integrity, Ethics, and Conduct. All meetings are conducted adhering to “rules of engagement” detailed below.


In addition to the formal TOS Policy, members of this group abide by the following “rules of engagement” (inspired by suggestions from Unlearning Racism in Geoscience deliverables and the Inclusive Scientific Meetings guide prepared by 500 Women Scientists).

1. We strive to dismantle imbalances of power and privilege during our interactions. Such examples include, but are not limited to, imbalanced dynamics that may occur between:

a. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and white committee members
b. Late and early career committee members
c. Those that are comfortable expressing their opinions and those that are not
d. People of different genders and gender identities
e. Members facing audio/visual/mobility challenges and those who do not

2. We strive not to invalidate anyone else’s story with our own spin.

3. We assume that everyone has good intentions and yet that they can still unintentionally hurt others with their statements.

4. During meetings, we strive to be conscious of body language and non-verbal responses that may indicate feelings of disrespect or harm, and we strive to create welcoming and accessible synchronous and asynchronous meeting spaces so that committee members can contribute fully and to the best of their abilities.

5. We recognize and respect that stories, opinions and reflections shared in committee meetings can be very personal and make individuals vulnerable.

6. We agree to maintain confidentiality to protect and value every committee member’s vulnerability. All stories and opinions shared during committee meetings and deliberations cannot be shared, posted, or copied outside the committee without permission by the person who shared the story or opinion.

7. We strive to create a culture of independent decision-making and respectful dissent. To this end, committee members are encouraged to respectfully challenge assumptions and ideas without personal attack, and communicate without being defensive.

8. We are open to being held accountable to our actions and words.

9. We agree that openly and passively aggressive interactions have no place in this committee. This applies to all modes of communication – in person, virtual meetings, email, Slack, etc. Examples include sarcasm, feigned surprise, speaking over others, centering whiteness, or other similar harmful behavior. Anyone engaging in such behavior will be respectfully, but firmly, counseled by any committee member to desist, regroup, and reflect. We agree to pause and address such warning signs.

10. We strive to speak from our own experiences instead of generalizing (i.e. “I” instead of “they”, “we”, “you”)

11. We will strive to listen actively and respect others when they are talking; and to ensure that all individuals have an opportunity to have their voice heard.

12. While we will strive to agree, we recognize that the goal is not agreement, but rather to gain a deeper understanding together.

13. We will remind ourselves of these ground rules at the start of each year.


The Oceanography Society provides opportunities for members to gain valuable leadership experience while supporting the society’s mission and values by appointment to the TOS Ethics Committee. Committee members are appointed, and terms of service vary according to each group.


The self-nomination process for Committee appointments begins in the summer. Review and election/selection occurs in the fall. The terms of committee members begin on January 1 of each year; rotation is staggered to provide continuity.

All TOS members are eligible to nominate themselves for consideration for committee positions. Persons who are not TOS members are eligible with the understanding that if appointed, they must become a TOS member.

Applications will be scored according to the evaluation rubric.

Apply online to be considered for selection.

Current committee chairs and members review and score applicants according to the evaluation rubric. Committee chairs send a ranked list of persons to the Council for approval, and the Council issues invitations to new committee members.

Please contact Jenny Ramarui, TOS Executive Director.

Background photo credit: Lewis Burnett/Ocean Image Bank

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