Introduction: The open exchange of ideas, the freedom of thought and expression, and respectful scientific debate are central to the goals of Mila and its Partners. This requires a community and an environment that recognizes and respects the inherent worth of every person.
Mila is leading in artificial intelligence and related research and developments. Mila research Partners have been selected based on their sharing of these leadership goals. Being a leader is also inextricably linked with responsibilities. These general rules of conduct summarize and clarify the applicable standards for Partners’ conduct toward other Partners, employees, students, trainees, interns, clients, visitors and the general public. Some of these standards are obvious and self-explanatory. Others need to be outlined to refresh memories. These rules are intended only to provide guidance and promote proper conduct with legal and ethical challenges in nowadays research and working environment. Strict compliance with said standards strengthens the trust of the scientific, business, academic and general public in the activities of Mila and its Partners. Core values examples are: 1) respectful and tolerant treatment of one another, in which each individual’s value and dignity is acknowledged; 2) fair and responsible conducts, researches and publications; 3) avoiding conflicts of interests.
Who: All Partners and employees, trainees, interns, clients and visitors invited by said Partners at Mila or at any Mila’s meetings, recruiting event, scientific event, business events, symposium, congress, conference, workshops, and conference-sponsored social events, are required to comply with these general rules of conduct, both during the event and on official communication channels, including social media. Mila will enforce these rules, and expects cooperation from all of its Partners to help ensure a safe and productive environment and research ecosystem for everybody.
Scope: Mila commits itself to provide an experience for all of its Partners that is free from harassment, bullying, discrimination, and retaliation for anyone. This includes avoiding offensive comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), politics, technology choices, or any other personal characteristics. Bullying, intimidation, personal attacks, harassment, sustained disruption of talks or other events, and behavior that interferes with another’s full participation will not be tolerated. This includes sexual harassment, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention, public vulgar exchanges, and diminutive characterizations, which are all unwelcome in Mila’s community.
Outcomes: Partners asked by any member of Mila to stop any such behavior are expected to comply immediately. If a Partner (or any of its employees, trainees, interns, clients or visitors invited by said Partners) engages in such behavior, Mila may take any action it deems appropriate, including: a formal or informal warning to the offender, expulsion from Mila’s offices, classes, meeting rooms and other spaces rented by or for Mila, with no refund, barring from participation in future events, conferences or their organization, reporting the incident to the offender’s employer, parent corporation, local institution, affiliated universities or research centers or funding agencies, or reporting the incident to local law enforcement and any relevant board of ethics or professional regulators, Ombudsmen or similar concerned authorities.
All Mila Partners shall further respect and promote these fundamental values and principles of Mila:
a) Responsible and ethical behavior in research;
b) Collegiality, academic etiquette and courtesy among Partners, researchers, professors, students, trainees and interns (e.g. even in the absence of an NDA, one cannot claim new ideas freely shared by a Mila member as their own, nor publish about it in a different paper, without first offering to such member to collaborate, etc.);
c) Respect, including the respect of researchers’, professors’, students’, trainees’ and interns’ respective workloads, limited availability, and respect of the fragile but fruitful merger between academia and industry;1
d) Fairly share Mila’s resources such as the meeting rooms with the academics (study, research or mentoring meetings) at the core business of Mila, with all other Partner’s respective expectations and needs;
e) Academic freedom at the heart of the quality of basic research;
f) Conflict of interests full prior disclosure and efficient management (even appearances of such conflict). Mila’s Conflict of interest Policy defines a conflict of interest as “a situation in which a director, officer, professor, student, consultant or employee of Mila has personal interests (financial or other) that could unduly influence the performance of his or her official duties and responsibilities within Mila, or in which the person uses his or her duties for personal gain.“2
g) No aggressive hiring, recruiting or solicitation of talents, despite the competitive hiring landscape and the shortage of human resources;
h) No aggressive commercial, marketing or sales speeches to openly promote, sell or provide its products or services, to any Partners, researchers, professors, students, trainees or interns of Mila;
i) Confidentiality protection and non-disclosure of any deemed confidential or proprietary information exchanged during any research project, among Partners, researchers, professors, students, trainees and interns or during any visits to Mila;
j) Open Sciences principles, particularly Open Access to research results to their scientific publications, no later than 12 months after publication. Partners can provide open access to their work by:
- depositing their peer-reviewed manuscripts in an open-access institutional or disciplinary repository, no later than 12 months following their publication; or
- publishing their manuscript in a journal that provides open access to articles, no later than 12 months following publication.
As an example, refer to the April 1, 2019, The Fonds de recherche du Québec open access policy for the dissemination of research, requiring that all FRQ funding recipients (researchers and students) provide open access to their scientific publications no later than 12 months after publication.
1Mila encourages its Partners who wish to engage in collaborations with members of the Mila academic community or who wish to engage in applied research projets to direct such queries to Mila’s Partnerships Team (firstname.lastname@example.org), who can accompany the Partner in exploring the possibilities of such collaborations, and put the Partner in contact with the relevant members of the Mila academic community or with Mila’s applied research team.
2 For the purposes of the present General Rules of Conduct for Partners, this definition shall apply to the Partners and its employees, consultants, directors and officers who engage with Mila.