The guidelines below are a living document. We are aware they can be improved, have received feedback for suggested improvements, and will incorporate them in the next version. We are working to make them increasingly better. Thank you for your patience.

Ethics Statement

The Human Ecology Laboratory at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, directed by Prof. Isabel Rivera-Collazo, recognizes that collaboration, problem-solving, and co-learning are dynamic processes that become more impactful through collaboration and community partnerships. In doing so, we strive to balance the power differentials between the principal investigator, the lab members, and the communities we partner with. Essential to the success of such collaborations is a commitment from all participants to engage in just, ethical, equitable, respectful, and socially responsible ways.

When partnering with the Human Ecology Laboratory, all members pledge to respect the following Guidelines of Ethical Values and to work to continually improve them for the equal benefit of the Lab members and our partner communities.

Ethical Guidelines 2020

Guidelines and Values

Knowledge and Research

  1. Acknowledge ownership of information or knowledge
    • Respect privacy, and honor the work of others.
  2. Respect and equality
    • Honor the communities and individuals we interact with while considering their values and perspectives.
    • Share knowledge, understand others, and be transparent and truthful.
    • Make our expertise available to those who welcome it and can benefit from it.
  3. Mindfulness
    • Consider the implications of our work at personal, communal, and academic levels.
    • Be mindful of our individual and group actions.
    • Respect contextual nuances and avoid oversimplification.
  4. Reduce Harm
    • Minimize refuse and negative impacts.
    • Build and maintain relationships of trust.
  5. Maintain Best Practice
    • “Do the best you can until you know better, and when you know better, do better.” -Maya Angelou
    • Be ready to share or explain the logic behind our actions, plans, and goals.
    • Stay current with appropriate methodology and theory to ensure high quality work.
    • Take care of our mental and physical well-being.

Indigenous, Native, and Local Communities

  1. Land Acknowledgement

    Honor how the communities we work with want to be recognized and become familiar with their historical and social contexts.

  2. Acknowledge that the archaeologist is not the only stakeholder

    Recognizing that Archaeology and many other Cultural Heritage organizations are the product of colonialism, and that heritage practitioners often interact with communities in a dismissive and oppressive manner, the SIO Human Ecology Laboratory states and acknowledges that archaeologists are not the owner of material culture nor the sole holders of knowledge. We will strive to develop horizontal and equitable relationships that value other voices and include the archaeologists as one of the multiple possible specialists able to understand, learn from, and share the past.

  3. Commitment to community development

    Co-production of knowledge establishes a long-term relationship with communities. We acknowledge and respect the value inherent in that relationship. We are committed to consulting, considering, and building consent with communities for the development of locally relevant research that contributes and moves forward their goals and needs. We will also be accountable to the communities and all parties involved, acknowledging local expertise and contributing to community development in their own terms.

  4. Consideration of time and cultural priorities

    All decisions will consider the implications for time requirement and how these impact other activities (including family time, leisure, work, and other community and personal life ways). All collaborations will be mindful of time and effort investment and will openly address how these will occur. We will be mindful of our role towards current and future generations and will work to nurture them to the best of our abilities. In order to be able to continue our work, we will also be mindful of our own mental and physical health.

  5. Commitment to ending institutional injustice

    We acknowledge the continued systematic oppression of Native, Indigenous and Local Communities. As such, research will be conducted only with support of the communities and cultural stakeholders of the studied location. Research will also recognize lived experiences, respecting and honoring the histories of local and descendent groups.

  6. Acknowledgement of Indigenous Peoples’ power to modulate research relationships

    When interacting with indigenous peoples, local communities, or other interested members of the public, the Human Ecology Laboratory recognizes their power over the modulation of all research processes. The conditions of the relationship between the interested parties and the laboratory (as a group or as individual members) will be discussed before the beginning of a project, and an agreement will be developed in writing (in the original language of the group and translated into English and any other relevant language) detailing the rights and responsibilities of each party.