Overview

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 the Sedimentary Basins Research Group (SBRG) 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 is not a legal document, supplementing, but not trumping, Department- and/or College-level policies for your level of employ or study.

Inclusivity and diversity

Enjoyable, high-quality research can only be conducted when you feel safe, secure, and supported. All group members are thus dedicated to a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, and/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:

  • All communication, be it online or in person, should be appropriate for a professional audience, and be considerate of people from different cultural backgrounds. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate at any time.
  • Be kind to others and do not insult or put down other group members.
  • 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.
  • Contribute to discussions in meetings with a constructive, positive approach.
  • Be mindful of talking over others when discussing in groups and be willing to hear out the ideas of others.

Besides making group members feel safe and secure, diversity and inclusivity has many benefits to us all. The greater the mix of people in our group, the greater the mix of skills, experiences, perspectives, and ideas we can collectively draw on. But we cannot fully achieve the benefits of diversity and equality without creating an inclusive environment.

Davide will discuss the Code of Conduct with lab members who violate these rules, no matter how much they contribute to the SBRG, or how specialized or needed their skill set. If inappropriate behavior persists after this initial discussion, formal processes, in line with UL Lafayette’s work practice policies, will commence. To report an issue, please contact Davide Oppo; all communications will be treated as confidential and according to UL Lafayette policy. If you do not feel comfortable contacting Davide directly, please feel free to contact whom you think is more appropriate according to the specific case. Some useful information on how to report a discrimination can be found here and you can contact the Title IX Coordinator here. Here you can find a list and details of UL Lafayette policies.

Mental Health

There is increasing evidence that certain attributes of academic research, including graduate studies, may challenge your mental health. Specific factors driving this include:

  • Low pay and quality-of-life issues
  • Feelings of isolation in your research; e.g. everyone has their own topic and it can often feel as if you are working on your own
  • Uncertainty in your research, although it should be noted that, in research of all kinds, it is not just the outcomes that are uncertain, but the questions themselves!
  • Uncertainty in your future career
  • So-called “negative results”; i.e. at some point in your research it is likely that certain questions will be more challenging to answer than anticipated, or that you will feel you have spent days/months/years toiling with little to show
  • Burnout; i.e. feeling the need to work endless hours to make up for the above issues, and the subsequent exhaustion

All graduate students students come across most of these issues at some level. I strongly encourage everyone in the group to take an active and preemptive approach towards the maintenance of their mental health. I assure you that you have the time and resources needed for a highly successful Master or PhD. If there is anything that is placing undue stress, or preventing you from performing at your potential, please do not hesitate to let me or any of the postgraduate coordinators in the department know how we can help. You should also be familiar resources on campus such as https://counselingandtesting.louisiana.edu/. Every effort will be made to help you access the right support networks.

Outputs, publication expectations and standards, and open science

Publication of papers and conference abstract submission must be discussed with Davide Oppo before any action is taken.
Where possible, all research outputs (e.g. papers) will be published ‘Open Access’ (OA) (preferably Gold or Diamond OA; for definitions, please see the Open Research Glossary), with manuscripts also uploaded to a relevant pre-print server (e.g. EarthArXiv) prior to journal submission, review, and (hopefully) publication. Where Gold or Diamond OA is not possible, the manuscript should be made publically available via Green OA. Please also note that, despite UL Lafayette is not a signatory of the Declaration of Research Assessment (DORA), I am personally committed to the principles of DORA. This implies that I am committed to: (i) eliminating the use of journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, in funding, appointment, and promotion considerations; and (ii) assessing research on its own merits, rather than on the basis of the journal in which the research is published. I encourage you to think broadly about your choice of publication venue. It is my personal view that the key guiding principle for choosing a journal is that it is thematically appropriate for the work you wish to publish.

Authorship on any manuscript or presentation will be openly discussed in group meetings and should, if possible, include everyone who has contributed significantly to the work. 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 of authors on a manuscript or presentation should be dictated by the relative contribution made by each author (see here for further information); in the case these contributions are equal, authors should be listed alphabetically by surname. Where conflict arises, Davide Oppo will facilitate discussion to help resolve this. I encourage an open dialogue about this matter, ideally via authorship ‘check-ins’ that will likely occur several times over the lifetime of the study. To help inform Editors, reviewers, and readers of our papers, we will include an author contribution statement as part of a paper.

Papers must be shared to and receive formal approval from all co-authors (both inside and outside of UL Lafayette) prior to submission;this is consistent with guidance provided by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), who states that all authors must approve the submission of works bearing their names. Please give co-authors at least two weeks to comment on paper drafts; at busy times of the year, they may need longer. We also strongly suggest that the paper receives reviews from at least two colleagues prior to submission to your supervisors; this will help improve the final product, as well as providing a training opportunity. Also note that many SBRG members are using confidential, company-provided datasets; our confidentiality agreements clearly state that we must obtain permission from these companies to publish their data and that they must have at least 28 days to provide approval. Explicit permission must be sort for every paper; i.e. images approved for one paper may not be approved. for a different paper. If you require any guidance regarding paper drafting and submission, please speak to Davide. Upon acceptance, review, or rejection of your paper, you must inform all coauthors of the outcome as soon as possible. If accepted, ensure that all co-authors get a chance to look at and comment on page proofs (N.B. many errors can be introduced into manuscripts by the journal at this stage). Note that after paper acceptance, final text and graphics files must be sent, in raw format (e.g. docx, ai.) to all co-authors for their records/use within 14 days, with an accepted version (the so-called ‘Author Accepted Manuscript’ or ‘AAM’) uploaded to an appropriate online archive (e.g. EarthArXiv).

Confidential and proprietary data should not be copied on unauthorized drives (refer to Davide for guidance) and taken outside the UL Lafayette offices without authorization by Davide. Upon completion of a project, a curated version of all datasets used should be provided to Davide on a hard drive. Sharing (or showing) any part of confidential data with people not included in the NDA is a breach of the contract between UL Lafayette and the data owner, and the person responsible may be legally accountable for any damage. Anyone working with proprietary data must obtain authorization by Davide before involving external people in their work. The SBRG workstations have restricted login access and you should not share your credentials.

Conferences

Logistics

You will be supported (financially and otherwise) to attend and take part in conferences related to your PhD/MSc research. You must direct me towards any of your needs at least 2-3 months before the conference to allow UL Lafayette authorization time. To reduce the load on your finances, I will pay in advance your expenses (e.g. flights, conference fee, etc…) and will charge on my Credit Card the hotel room if I’m travelling to the conference too. Consider that UL Lafayette and the State of Louisiana have strict regulations in matter of travel; always ask before doing anything or you risk not to be reimbursed. In any case, you are expected to register for the conference as a student and in advance to get discounted registration fees. You will fly economy class and book the cheapest accommodation possible. You are expected to share hotel rooms if travelling with colleagues, even if they are from outside of SBRG. You must book no later than 1 month before the conference, and preferably earlier to get the lowest cost travel costs and accommodations.

Note that we will typically aim to attend conferences ‘en masse’, such that accommodation costs can be shared and, based on experience, a more significant group ‘impact’ can be achieved. We can make exceptions for conferences specific to your area of study and/or interest.

Expectations and requirements

Conference abstracts must be shown to all co-authors (both inside and outside of UL Lafayette) at least one week before the abstract deadline. Upon acceptance (or rejection) of your abstract, you must inform all coauthors of the outcome as soon as possible. You must also send a final draft of your presentation or poster to all co-authors (both inside and outside of UL Lafayette) at least one week before the date of presentation. Ideally, a near-final draft should be completed two-weeks before the date of presentation, so that it can be presented at a SBRG weekly meeting.In this way, you will be able to receive feedback from your colleagues. Presentation and publishing ethics, both of which are at least partly captured by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), state that all authors must approve submission and presentation of work bearing their names. The same applies to papers (see above). Note that after material has been presented at a conference, this must be sent, in raw format (e.g. .ppt, .ai) to all co-authors and data providers for their records/use within 14 days; if appropriate, this material can be uploaded to an appropriate online archive (e.g. FigShare, EarthArXiv) where it will be assigned a DOI, and will be useable and citable by the scientific community.

Working hours

I recognize that many of you have personal responsibilities and obligations besides your studies. I appreciate that it can be difficult to balance those demands, and that a classic ‘9-to-5’ day may not be optimal. Because of this, the exact hours you choose to work is up to you. Being on campus between 10 am and 4 pm most days may, however, help facilitate collaborative working and, we hope, lead to a more fulfilling research experience. Where possible, meetings and events will not be arranged outside these hours to allow participation by all SBRG members.

Meetings

Group meetings: Group meetings are typically held at 9:30 am in HH109 on Wednesday’s; all group members are expected to attend if they are not otherwise engaged in other research-related activities (e.g. at conference, attending training or a lecture, etc). The SBRG meeting is an excellent forum for updating colleagues on project progress, developing research skills, and widening our collective understanding. Meetings provide a forum for the presentation of results, such as ‘dry-runs’ of conference talks, and more informal discussions around research topics arising. As part of your professional training, you will be expected to lead a group discussion on a topic of your choice at least once per term. During the meeting, al members will present a short 5-10 slides PowerPoint that should ideally contain an overview of: (i) what your plans were for the last week; (ii) work undertaken; (iii) issues arising; and (iv) a forward plan for the next week.

Individual meetings: These will occur on an ad hoc basis as personal situations require. These will give you an opportunity to discuss your progress and any administrative issues that you need addressed. I encourage you to send a short agenda ahead of and to come fully prepared for individual meetings; in this way, we can focus discussions such that all concerns are addressed. Such reports are an important way to self-monitor your progress, as well as keeping your supervisor(s) informed of both positive and negative developments. They are particularly important for those who have co-supervisors based in other institutions.

Please inform Davide Oppo of holidays or notable absences in advance. Permission for holiday is very rarely required, but please respect key deadlines within the calendar year and the fact 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 to note that effective working will improve the quality of your research. Where there are key time pressures, it is important to prioritize work. If you struggle with establishing a sustainable work life balance, please discuss this with Davide at an early stage.

Communications

Where possible, avoid sending work-related email outside of 8 am and 18 pm. Outlook provides a functionality for saving an email as a draft, such that it can be sent within the hours stated above. Please give consideration to the timing of the email with respect to what the recipient needs to do; for example, try not to send an email at 5:59 for something that is required for a 10 am meeting the next day. No lab members are required nor should feel obliged to reply to email outside of their typical work hours. However, prompt replies to emails, within these times, is helpful. If you experience any challenges related to flexible working within the SBRG, please do not hesitate to contact Davide. All communication will be treated as confidential.
UL Lafayette provides access to Microsoft Teams and SBRG has a chat open with all the members. For exchanges needing a rapid response you can text Davide there.

Social media

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 Davide uses Twitter in a personal and professional nature, and his account has a diversified audience (including the Head of Department, prospective students, funders, and other academics); you must therefore bear in mind the 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. We are not compelled to engage with any social media, use any such media for work-related purposes, and we will never pressure each other to ‘friend’ or ‘follow’ each other.

If you whish to use it, for work-related posts, the Twitter handle of the School of Geosciences is @ULGeosciences, while Davide’s is @risingfluids and the UL Lafayette Grad School is @ULGradSchool

Journals

You should be familiar with recently published material relevant to your project. Below are some academic journals that may be of interest:

AAPG Bulletin; Basin Research; Earth-Science Reviews; Earth and Planetary Science Letters; EGU Solid Earth; Frontiers of Earth Sciences; Geology; Geological Society of American Bulletin; Geophysical Research Letters; Geosphere; Interpretation; Journal of the Geological Society; Journal of Sedimentary Research; Journal of Structural Geology; Lithosphere; Petroleum Geoscience; Sedimentary Geology; Sedimentology; Tectonics; Terra Nova; Marine Geology; Marine and Petroleum Geology; Nature Geosciences

Signing-up to ‘mail alerts’ from specific journals and more general publication ‘feeds’ (e.g. Google Scholar) are highly recommended; by doing this, you can be kept informed of newly published literature related to your studies.

Holidays

You are expected to take c. 25 days per year, beyond official holidays and the University closure at Christmas. I strongly encourage you take this time so you can relax, visit family and friends, and generally unwind from the rigors of study. Although not a formal requirement, it is helpful to inform Davide in advance when you plan to take holidays or if you will not be present at SBRG weekly meetings. 

Thanks, and please enjoy your time in the SBRG!

This Code of Conduct (CoC) borrows heavily and is modified from the CoC of Chris Jackson, running the Basin Research Group at the Imperial College London.

This CoC is released as CC-BY 4.0