At the annual ACH Executive Council meeting in Kraków during the Digital Humanities 2016 conference, the Council discussed a possible conflict of interest policy. The discussion was not motivated by any particular incident but instead by the desire to make explicit the expectations and behaviors that the Officers and members of the Council already believed in. The Council also desired to bring the ACH into line with similar scholarly organizations that had similar policies in place.
Following the meeting, members of the Council drafted a policy, based in part on a similar document shared by the Modern Language Association (MLA). The full ACH Executive Council adopted the policy on 25 September 2016. Each Officer and member of the Council has completed a Conflict of Interest Statement and will continue to do so on an annual basis.
You can read the full policy below.
The Association for Computers and the Humanities
POLICY CONCERNING CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
Adopted by the Executive Council on 25 September 2016
The Association for Computers and the Humanities (“the ACH”) has obligations and responsibilities to its membership and pursuant to various laws. Officers of the organization and members of its Executive Council are elected to ensure that these obligations are met and responsibilities fulfilled. In the course of their service they are called upon to make decisions and take actions which might benefit, or appear to benefit, themselves or other entities and organizations with which they are affiliated. In cases of potential conflict of interest, as in all matters coming before the Executive Council, it is important that unbiased decisions be made and actions taken. Accordingly, the Executive Council is hereby adopting this policy, including procedures to be followed in cases of potential conflict of interest. This policy is intended to ensure that the ACH maintains its legal and professional status and to allow Council members the fullest participation in both ACH affairs and their own professional activities.
Each Executive Council member has a duty to place the interest of the ACH foremost in any dealing with or on behalf of the ACH and has a continuing responsibility to comply with the requirements of this policy. No member of the Council shall use his or her position on the Council or a committee thereof, or the knowledge gained therefrom, in such a manner that a conflict might arise between the interest of the ACH and any opportunity for his or her professional or financial gain.
The conduct of personal business between any Council member or any related party* and the ACH is prohibited unless ratified by the Council. If a Council member or any related party has a professional or financial interest in a proposed transaction with the ACH or in any organization involved in the transaction, or holds a position as trustee, director, or officer in any such organization, she or he must make a full disclosure of such interest before any discussion or negotiation of such transaction.
Any Council member, who is aware of his or her potential conflict of interest with the ACH pertaining to any matter coming before the Council or a committee thereof, shall not be present for any discussion of, or vote in connection with, the matter. Since ACH business largely takes place via email, this may entail individuals temporarily being unsubscribed from the ACH-Executive listserv or discussions and votes taking place off the listserv.
Council members will complete annually a Conflict of Interest Statement and, if not previously disclosed, will make disclosure before any relevant ACH action. The completed forms of these Statements will be reviewed by the President, Vice-President, and Secretary, who will attempt to resolve any actual or potential conflicts as they arise or are reported, on the Statements or by other means. In the absence of resolution, the council will consider the matter; its vote on the outcome will constitute a final decision.
* “Related party” is defined as a member of the immediate family of a Council member, which includes his or her spouse or domestic partner, minor children, and all other dependents; estates, trusts, and partnerships in which such Council member or any member of his or her immediate family has a present or vested future beneficial interest; and a corporation or entity in which such Council member or any member of his or her immediate family is a beneficial owner of more than five percent of the voting interests.