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Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program

On-call Scientists

Our Policies and General Expectations

Our Policies

Payment

On-call Scientists is a network of volunteers who are willing to give of their time and expertise on a pro bono basis. The AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program will not provide any funding to either the volunteer scientist or their host organization. All costs associated with the work in question, including any relocation costs, transportation, housing, and medical or travel insurance, must be paid for by the volunteer and/or the host organization.

Use of personal information

The only personal information we request is that which we need to make appropriate matches of volunteer scientists and human rights organizations. This information will be entered by applicants into a database that is not accessible by the public. Information will only be provided to third parties (e.g., committee members, relevant experts) for the purposes of facilitating partnerships and if we are legally required to do so. We will not provide personal information of volunteer scientists to potential host organizations without the prior consent of the volunteer.

Ethics and conflicts of interest

Volunteer scientists should understand that they bear a responsibility to the human rights organization for which they work and the ethics rules guiding that organization. It is important that volunteers adhere to this principle and avoid any conflict of interest or even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Volunteer scientists who wish to accept speaking engagements or publish materials based on their work as part of On-call Scientists must receive prior permission from their host organization and comply with the non-disclosure, confidentiality, and other policies of that organization, unless otherwise required by the host organization.

General Expectations

Expectations of Volunteers

On-call Scientists provides volunteer scientists with an opportunity to contribute to the realization of human rights through the application of their knowledge and skills. It is also a valuable opportunity for volunteer scientists to make the human rights community more aware of the specific tools, expertise, and other resources that scientists can bring to human rights work, and to encourage greater collaboration between the scientific and human rights communities. Toward those ends, volunteers are expected to: Throughout the project:
  • Ensure their database profile is up-to-date, including changes to contact information. During the project:
  • Meet or communicate with relevant staff of the host organization about your project in a responsive and timely manner;
  • Abide by all relevant policies of the host organization, including those relating to confidentiality, non-disclosure, and copyright;
  • Complete all agreed tasks in a timely and professional manner;
  • Serve the duration of the volunteer position as agreed with the host organization.
Following completion of project:
  • Submit completed evaluation form to the AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program;
  • Respond to requests for input and feedback in the long-term evaluation of the On-call Scientists network;
  • Participate, if requested and available, as a member of the committee that recommends matches between volunteers and host organizations;
  • Help share information about On-call Scientists among colleagues, within your organization, professional association, and elsewhere.

Expectations of Host Organizations

On-call Scientists provides an opportunity for human rights organizations to benefit from the skills and expertise of a scientist. It is also a valuable opportunity to provide to the scientist a better understanding of the meaning, application, and significance of human rights through access to organization publications, interactions with staff, and attendance at meetings. Towards those ends, host organizations are expected to: Before the volunteer begins work on the project, provide the volunteer with:
  • Relevant materials and web-based resources about the organization and its programs;
  • Details of the volunteer’s task(s) or project(s);
  • Information regarding any restrictions or limitations on the volunteer’s ability to publish on or speak publicly about their work with your organization.
During the project:
  • Provide constructive feedback on performance and products;
  • Serve as a reference or write letters of recommendation, if appropriate.
For on-site projects, hosts will:
  • Provide an orientation about the organization;
  • Introduce or direct the volunteer to all relevant organization staff;
  • Encourage the volunteer to attend meetings of the organization, as appropriate;
  • Locate and outfit a work space, if needed;
  • Schedule any necessary training or briefings;
  • Obtain necessary identification cards and building passes;
  • Clarify/arrange any necessary support/resources: clerical, budget access, technical authorization, etc.;
  • Provide information regarding office culture – work schedule, communication, dress code, etc.;
  • Provide copies of any relevant office policies, including those relating to confidentiality, non-disclosure, and copyright.
Following the completion of the project:
  • Submit completed evaluation of the hosting experience to the AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program;
  • Respond to requests for input and feedback in the long-term evaluation of On-call Scientists;
  • Participate, if requested and available, as a member of the committee that recommends matches between volunteers and host organizations;
  • Help share information about On-call Scientists among potentially interested human rights colleagues and organizations.

Expectations of AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program Staff

From its inception, the AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program (SRHRL) has dedicated itself to bringing science and scientists to human rights challenges. As such, across its many and varied initiatives, SRHRL works to encourage scientists to apply their tools and technologies to human rights problems and human rights organizations to make use of scientific expertise to enhance their monitoring, reporting, research, documentation, and litigation. SRHRL’s role in On-call Scientists is primarily as facilitator, providing the framework and opportunity for scientists willing to give of their time and expertise to be matched with human rights organizations in need of their skills.

Role of AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program Staff:

  • Conduct outreach to both the scientific and human rights communities regarding On-call Scientists and encourage their participation;
  • Respond to queries from potential and actual volunteers and hosts in a timely manner;
  • Ensure timely consideration of requests for volunteers and expressions of interest from volunteers;
  • Maintain and update the On-call Scientists website and database;
  • Conduct ongoing evaluation of the project;
  • Keep volunteer scientists and human rights organizations up-to-date on the activities of SRHRL through its listservs and other communication outlets.
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