Lab values document

We have been working on a values document to agree what is important to us as a group and define the ways we want to work. We wrote this document as a team based on our experiences loosely using the method described here: https://civiclaboratory.nl/2021/04/29/choosing-lab-values/ and borrowing from other lab values documents which chimed with our own principles. We hope to keep developing and enhancing the values document over time and incorporating views of new lab members.


This document applies to all members of the ABLab group, including the PI and all staff and students for the length of their time with the group. This is a live document containing a set of values to which any lab member can contribute.

Our core values

What the lab will give you

  • A collaborative working environment
  • Adequate support for every role and for new starters (e.g. induction)
  • Ability to let you set their own work schedules
  • Encouragement and tools to support professional/ skill development
  • Encouragement to challenge unreasonable/ unhealthy goals/targets
  • A safe space to voice concerns and to ask for help
  • Opportunity to work on cutting edge and impactful research
  • Commitment to the highest standards of ethics and scientific integrity
  • An interdisciplinary working environment
  • The opportunity to work alongside external partners and commercial institutions
  • An open environment for growth
  • An environment where differences are valued
  • Reasonable adjustments and accommodation to allow everyone to do their jobs
  • Buddy and location-finding systems for work off campus

What I will give to the lab

  • An openness to learn
  • A shared responsibility and accountability for lab culture
  • Contribution to lab activities and the activities of colleagues 
  • Communication with lab members within my core hours
  • Acknowledgement of when help I need help or support 
  • Commitment to shared scientific goals 
  • Support to my lab members as teammates 
  • Consideration for the safety and wellbeing of others
  • Respect and maintenance of research equipment
  • Recognition of any support I receive

Examples of how we express these values

Support 

  • Check in on each other 
  • Build each other up
  • Support each other (e.g attend each others talks)
  • Confidentiality and a respect of personal boundaries
  • Be aware of the work others are doing
  • Do your share and recognise if tasks are damaging wellbeing
  • Be kind

Behaviour towards lab mates

  • Be welcoming to one another, and proactive in opening up discussions or offering assistance.
  • Value different career stages and levels of knowledge
  • Consider the language we use and challenge language that makes others uncomfortable without offence

Communication

  • Have patience, listen and try to understand different perspectives
  • Recognise our unconscious biases and privileges
  • Have the ability to ask and answer questions without judgement (there is no such thing as a stupid question).
  • Acknowledge that people work at times that works for them without expecting response.- 
    • (e.g. email footer  While I may be sending this email outside of normal office hours, I have no expectation to receive a reply outside yours.) 
  • Regularly check Slack during core work hours and use for messaging communication
  • Appreciate that people have different forms of communication and be flexible to different communication styles where possible
  • Show respect and professionalism when working with internal staff and external partners

Feedback

  • Provide constructive rather than critical feedback 
  • Use respectful language even when someone is not present
  • Use non personal language when giving feedback
  • Acknowledge what went well

Working hours

  • Go home or stop work when: physically or mentally ill, exhausted, when overwhelmed or work just isn’t happening today, if it is harming your mental health to continue working rather than taking a break, or if there is a personal emergency.
  • Consider work in the context of home priorities
  • Care and be committed about work but not let it take over 
  • Take back hours of over working
  • Respect working hours, public holidays, and vacations – work in a sustainable way (e.g. don’t reply to emails while on holiday and do not expect others to reply when they are away)
  • Respect other people’s time and deadlines and communicate if you are unable to work to a deadline or complete a piece of work agreed

Successes and Failures

  • Destigmatize failure and celebrate success
  • Acknowledge imposter syndrome 
  • Use language that promotes people rather than being competitive

Standards in our Science

  • Produce and share reproducible, re-usable data manipulation and analysis code, so people can understand our assumptions and workflows, and so future scientists can learn from our efforts without duplicating them, whilst ensuring participant privacy (see below)
  • Make sure to report negative results and have a positive attitude towards negative results 
  • Apply an openScience framework where possible 
  • Resist any pressures to oversell results and findings (e.g. ensuring deliverables and objectives are based on exploration and improving understanding, not necessarily ‘getting something to work’)
  • Be honest about the limitations of what we’ve done
  • Appreciate contributions and be honest about these
  • Have a commitment to disseminate our findings to relevant groups using suitable language and methods  
  • Be committed to see our research through to impact
  • Involve and consider stakeholders within our research (e.g. consulting/codesign of research with end users/individuals who might be impacted by our research)

Research Ethics

  • When working with animals, consider the animal’s perspective (respect the animals and minimize fear and stress in all actions)
  • Be committed to a 3Rs approach and adhere to the ARRIVE guidelines
  • Have concern for an animals wellbeing and promote positive welfare where feasible
  • Rehome research animals whenever possible and appropriate (in best interests of the animal)
  • Respect the privacy of participants/ those involved in research 
  • Consider if there are any ways research could be misused and mitigate against this

Equality and Diversity

  • Provide an inclusive environment within the lab
  • Take action to avoid and minimise discrimination\bias
  • Recognise current and historical discrimination and colonalism in science
  • Zero tolerance of 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. To everyone we interact with in a professional context. 
  • Appreciate that every lab member is unique, respecting differences and accommodating differences 
  • Exclusionary jokes are not appropriate. 
  • The lab is a safe space to respect reproductive choices
  • Do not put people in risky environments including consideration of protected characteristics
  • Support and openness to allow people to report unsafe or exclusionary behaviour/ events
  • If we have chance and feel comfortable to do so we will affect positive change for an inclusive environment

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