Member Code of Conduct


About the British International Studies Association
The British International Studies Association (BISA) was founded in 1975 and is a not-for profit learned society dedicated to promotion and development of International Studies. The Association supports members through our funding awards for research activity. Our conferences and events provide opportunities to network and improve individual visibility to our wider International Studies academic and non-academic community. BISA also provides an important role in representing the voice of scholarly community to Government and the Research Councils.
The BISA code of conduct
The British International Studies Association first produced a code of conduct in 2007, outlining the principles for all BISA members to adhere to and uphold. All individuals associated with BISA should endeavour to maintain the highest standards of personal and professional conduct.  This code does not cover research ethics which are covered by the Respect Code of practice and other funding council/institutional research ethics conduct policies.


Vision and Charitable Objectives

The principles outlined in this Code of conduct are aligned with BISA's Vision and Charitable objectives. This code however does not relate to professional standards (for example, allegations of plagiarism, defamation, corruption etc.) which should be dealt with by and between institutions and individuals.

To be the leading UK learned society in International studies
Strategic and Charitable Objectives:
  • To promote and facilitate international studies in British Universities and other seats of learning and research
  • To advance the teaching and research in international studies in the relevant academic disciplines of such universities and seats of learning
  • To facilitate personal contact and communication among scholars with these interests in the United Kingdom and other countries
  • To support and develop the publication of scholarly material and research papers relevant to international studies and to distribute the results of such research
  • To convene conferences for Members and others who may be invited to attend by the Committee
  • To arrange for the publication and distribution of a journal to be called the British Journal of International Studies or such other journals or papers as the Committee shall decide
  • To organise study groups
BISA Membership
BISA membership is open to all individuals who are:
  • Academic members of staff and practitioners in International studies and related subjects
  • Postgraduates, Researchers, Undergraduates and "A" level students of International studies and related subjects
  • Individuals and organisations who are concerned with the advancement and development of international studies knowledge through research and its dissemination through teaching and application.
  • This code also applies to non members who participate in BISA organised or supported events to whom temporary membership is conveyed during their attendance at such events.
BISA Membership Types and Fees
The BISA membership fees are determined by the BISA Executive Directors. By creating a member profile and providing BISA with your personal information, you consent to the storage and processing of the information provided by you.  Additionally, individuals warrant that the information provided is accurate. This represents a binding contract between the member and BISA.
The membership year runs for a 12 month period from the date the member has joined BISA and their membership is paid for (unless a 3 year membership is paid for and then it is 36 months).  The membership fees should properly reflect the member's status i.e. once you have your PhD you are regarded as eligible only for Full membership, unless you are retired or unemployed, the fees must be paid in full and are non-refundable. Non-payment of membership fees constitutes a breach of the membership contract and will result in cancellation of your membership.  BISA membership is non transferrable.
Renewing BISA Membership
All members are sent a renewal reminder at the end of the month in which their membership lapses, informing them that their membership is due for renewal and will expire in 1 month. Unless a direct debit agreement has been set up then membership fees will be taken automatically.
Cancellation and Termination of BISA membership
The reasons for cancelling or terminating BISA membership are:
  • The member writes to terminate their membership
  • The member does not renew their membership at the end of their membership period
  • The member does not pay their fees within 1 month of joining BISA
  • The member does not pay their fees within 1 month of their membership lapsing.
  • The member has been found to have breached/violated any of the principles stated in this code.
If a breach has occurred, the member's membership will be terminated, following consultation with the BISA Executive and Chief Executive. The member can only be removed from membership by a resolution of the directors that it is in the best interests of the charity that his or her membership is terminated. A resolution to remove a member from membership may only be passed if:
  • that member has been given at least 21 days notice in writing of the date of a meeting of the BISA Executive at which the resolution will be proposed, and the reason why it is being proposed
  • that member or, at the option of the member, the member's representative  (who need not be a member of BISA) has been allowed to make representations to the meeting as to why their membership should not be terminated.

The Principles of the code of Conduct

All members are expected to act in accordance with the principles outlined in this document.
The code is based on seven key principles outlined below:
1.Responsibility & Accountability
All members should be aware of their ethical, legal and professional responsibilities incumbent to the specific community in which they work and also to this association. All individuals should avoid personal and professional misconduct that might bring the association or the reputation of the profession into disrepute, recognising that, in particular, legal action that reflects on an individual's suitability to operate in the field of international relations may be regarded as misconduct by the association. 
  • Members are encouraged to advance public knowledge and understanding of international Studies and to counter false or misleading statements which are detrimental to the wider community.
  • Members shall encourage and support fellow members in their professional development and, where possible, engage with and mentor new entrants to our academic community.
  • Members shall not speak in the name of the association, its' executive committee or committees, without the authorisation of the Executive committee.
2. Integrity & Honesty
All members should be:
  • Honest and accurate in representing their professional affiliations and qualifications, including such matters as knowledge, skill, training, education and experience.
  • Take reasonable steps to ensure that their qualifications and competencies are not misrepresented by others and to correct any misrepresentation identified. Members must recognise and clarify the limits of their knowledge, skills, training, qualifications, educations and experience. 
  • Be honest and accurate in conveying professional conclusions, opinions, and research findings, and in acknowledging the potential limitations.
  • Not use their BISA membership as a means of conveying a level of competency or professional standards, as BISA is not an accrediting body and there is no assessment of competency to attain/retain membership.
3. Respect and Fairness
BISA is committed to maintaining and promoting a professional environment within which its members treat each other with dignity and respect. All members will not discriminate against, bully or harass others on the basis of: cultural and role difference, including (but not exclusively) those involving age, disability, education, ethnicity, gender, language, national origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sexual orientation, marital or family status and socio-economic status. Respect the knowledge, insight, experience and expertise of fellow members, (regardless of career stage and length of BISA membership) relevant third parties, and members of the general public.
BISA recognises as bullying, behaviour that may be characterised as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient. Bullying does not need to be deliberate; someone may demonstrate bullying behaviour, which falls within the above definition, without intending to. Whichever form it takes, it is unwarranted and unwelcome to the individual and will often cause embarrassment, fear, humiliation or distress to an individual or group of individuals. Bullying often results from a misuse of individual power derived from status/position, physical strength or force of personality. It can also arise from collective power arising out of strength of numbers.
BISA recognises as harassment any unwelcome verbal or physical behaviour, including sexual advances, when the unwanted conduct has the purpose or effect of either violating another person's dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person. Harassment does not need to be deliberate; someone may harass another person without intending to. In some situations, where the unwanted conduct is serious, a single incident may constitute harassment. In other situations, conduct may become harassment if it is repeated or sustained.
The following list provides examples of the types of behaviour which can amount to harassment, although the list is, by no means, exhaustive:
  • Unwelcome physical contact or physical interaction: This may range from unnecessary touching or brushing against another's body, physical assault, coercing sexual intercourse, physical threats, insulting or abusive behaviours or gestures. This may also encompass invading someone's "personal space" by standing very close to him/her where this is unnecessary.
  • Unwelcome verbal conduct: This may include the making of remarks and comments about appearance, lewd comments, sexual advances, innuendo and banter, the making or repetition of offensive or stereotyped comments, jokes or songs, the making of threats or the making of patronising comments.
  • Unwelcome written or visual interaction: This may include sending unwelcome emails, notes or pictures, displaying or sending offensive material on any BISA social-media/websites/blogs etc.
Harassment, bullying and victimisation of members, or by members by electronic methods
Given the degree of current reliance upon electronic means of communication it should be specifically noted that harassment, bullying and victimisation by members by electronic means is also unacceptable. For example, this might involve:
  • Sending e-mails (with or without attachments) which breach the terms of this code
  • Inappropriate copying of e-mails to parties not seen as relevant to the discussion, as a way of intimidating or inappropriately gaining leverage over other members, guests, volunteers or staff
4. Privacy and Confidentiality
All members respect the individual and collective rights to privacy and maintain confidentiality in compliance with UK and International law and regulations.
5. Avoidance of Personal Gain
All members should neither offer nor accept bribes or inducements either on a personal basis or on behalf of BISA.
6. Conflict of Interest
All members should declare to the BISA Executive any competing professional or personal interests that may be pertinent to their activities within BISA and BISA supported events and research groups.  This includes any professional /academic disputes, whistle blowing activity within their academic work and issues/disputes over the member's research integrity.  Any activities undertaken in the BISA name must be consistent with BISA's vision, strategic objectives and the principles outlined in this guide. 
If a conflict of interest does arise, the individual must inform the BISA Executive and BISA Chief Executive immediately the mater becomes apparent and must take the following actions:
  • Abstain from the activity in question
  • Declare the conflict of interest and pass the role to a colleague or
  • Stand down/withdraw from the activity
Failure to do so, may lead to the imposition of actions, including a ban on attendance/participation at specific BISA events or activities and ultimately termination of their BISA membership.
7. Collegiality
Collaboration with external learned societies and organisations is encouraged in order to develop the transfer and sharing of knowledge and to help disseminate learning and good practice.  If members put in place barriers or are obstructive to such collaboration or acts in a way that brings BISA into disrepute through these collaborations they maybe in breach of this code and may face sanctions or termination of their membership.


This code of conduct establishes the principles for all BISA members to adhere to; however it may not cover every issue that may arise. This code encourages trust and respect from its members and non members involved in our activities.  BISA has a complaints procedure for any issues that may arise.
  • BISA Code of Conduct December 2007
  • British Academy of Management's Code of Ethics and Best Practice February 2013
  • Royal Statistical Society code of conduct 1993
  • The British Psychological Society Code of Ethics and Conduct 2009
Adopted December 2007 - Amended February 2014
British International Studies Association


Charity No:1151260
Company no: 8422260
Registered office: University Of Birmingham Room 650, 6th Floor, Muirhead Tower, Edgbaston, Birmingham, England, B15 2TT