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Filtered survey data for: AOS professional ethics committee


Walsh, Jennifer (2022), Filtered survey data for: AOS professional ethics committee, Dryad, Dataset,


In response to a growing need to foster ethical behavior within scientific societies, the American Ornithological Society’s (AOS) professional ethics committee conduct a survey of members in spring 2021 to identify the primary challenges and ethical conduct concerns. The survey indicated that the AOS has a strong culture of professional ethics and highlighted areas needing improvement. Participants identified discrimination and lack of inclusivity (44%), scientific fraud and abuse in data and publications (35%), and sexual harassment (31%) as the highest potential risks for unethical behavior in our organization. Moreover, approximately one-third of respondents (34%) had personally witnessed or experienced unethical behavior as an AOS member. A smaller proportion (16%) felt pressure to compromise their work standards in ornithology. These findings are likely representative of broader patterns that professional, scientific societies face as they seek to provide safe, welcoming, and thoughtful environments for researchers to share their work, gain valuable feedback, and develop collaborations. The survey results also create a framework for workshops, training opportunities, and disseminating information within the AOS and, ideally, with the broader, international community of ornithologists.


The survey consisted of 13 questions, six of which were designed to collect demographic data from survey respondents. The online survey was open from March 4 to April 4, 2021, and weekly reminders and requests for survey participation were sent to our general membership via email for the duration of the survey period. In total, 479 individuals participated (approximately 19% of our current membership). Based on these results, we estimate that our response rate is a large enough sample size to put us within a 5% margin of error (  Raw survey data were filtered to remove missing responses separately for each question. For open-ended questions, we categorized responses to facilitate interpretation.

The data shared here are for filtered, close-ended questions only. We have removed demographic data, as well as detailed open-ended responses to preserve the anonymity of the respondents. While the responses were already anonymous, we wanted to be extra vigilant about filtering out any information that could possibly be traced back to an individual.