Skip to main content

IRTF Code of Conduct

Document Type Active Internet-Draft (individual)
Author Colin Perkins
Last updated 2024-07-07
RFC stream (None)
Intended RFC status (None)
Stream Stream state (No stream defined)
Consensus boilerplate Unknown
RFC Editor Note (None)
IESG IESG state I-D Exists
Telechat date (None)
Responsible AD (None)
Send notices to (None)
IRTF                                                       C. S. Perkins
Internet-Draft                                     University of Glasgow
Intended status: Informational                               7 July 2024
Expires: 8 January 2025

                          IRTF Code of Conduct


   This document describes the code of conduct for participants in the
   Internet Research Task Force (IRTF).

   The IRTF believes that research is most effective when done in an
   open and inclusive forum that encourages diversity of ideas and
   diversity of participation.  Through this code of conduct, the IRTF
   will continue to strive to create and maintain an environment that
   encourages broad participation, and one in which people are treated
   with dignity, decency, and respect

   This document is a product of the Internet Research Steering Group

About This Document

   This note is to be removed before publishing as an RFC.

   The latest revision of this draft can be found at https://irtf-
   conduct.html.  Status information for this document may be found at

   Source for this draft and an issue tracker can be found at

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   Drafts is at

Perkins                  Expires 8 January 2025                 [Page 1]
Internet-Draft            IRTF Code of Conduct                 July 2024

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on 8 January 2025.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2024 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents (
   license-info) in effect on the date of publication of this document.
   Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights
   and restrictions with respect to this document.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Conduct . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Language and Imagery  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   4.  Academic Integrity  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   5.  Research Ethics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   6.  Participation and Accessibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   7.  Rationale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   8.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   9.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   10. References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     10.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     10.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9

1.  Introduction

   The Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) promotes research of
   importance to the evolution and deployment of the Internet protocols,
   applications, architecture and technology, and to understand the
   development of the Internet in all its diversity and for all its
   users, considering both technical, economic, and societal challenges
   of such development.  The IRTF focuses on longer-term research issues
   related to the Internet while the parallel organisation, the Internet
   Engineering Task Force (IETF), focuses on the shorter-term issues of
   engineering and standards-making.

Perkins                  Expires 8 January 2025                 [Page 2]
Internet-Draft            IRTF Code of Conduct                 July 2024

   The IRTF believes that research is most effective when done in an
   open and inclusive forum that encourages diversity of ideas and
   diversity of participation.  Through this code of conduct, the IRTF
   will continue to strive to create and maintain an environment that
   encourages broad participation, and one in which people are treated
   with dignity, decency, and respect.

   This document represents the consensus of the Internet Research
   Steering Group (IRSG).  It is not an IETF product and is not a

2.  Conduct

   The IRTF is committed to providing a safe and equitable experience
   for all participants.  Those participating in the IRTF must extend
   respect and courtesy to others at all times.

   Harassment is unwelcome, hostile, or intimidating behaviour, in
   particular speech or behaviour that is sexually aggressive or that
   intimidates based on attributes such as education, race, gender,
   religion, age, colour, national origin, ancestry, disability, medical
   condition, sexual orientation, or gender identity [RFC7776].

   Examples of harassment include, but are not limited to, the use of
   offensive language or sexual imagery, degrading verbal comments,
   deliberate intimidation, stalking, harassing photography or
   recording, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual

   Harassment will not be tolerated in IRTF research group meetings,
   open meetings, conferences, workshops, other events, mailing lists,
   or other online forums.  Participants must follow the IETF anti-
   harassment policy which also applies to the IRTF [ANTI-HARASSMENT].

   Participants who believe they have been harassed, notice that someone
   else is being harassed, or have any other concerns relating to
   potential harassment or conduct, are encouraged to raise their
   concern with the relevant Research Group Chair or the IRTF Chair, or
   with the Ombudsteam [OMBUDSTEAM] who work on an independent and
   confidential basis.  All such concerns will be seriously considered,
   and action will be taken as appropriate, up to and including the
   exclusion of the offending party from IRTF activities.

   The IRTF operates and makes use of a number of mailing lists and
   other online discussion forums.  At the time of this writing,
   Research Group chairs act as moderators for such forums used by their
   research groups and the IRTF Chair moderates IRTF-wide lists and
   discussion forums.  Other moderators may be appointed in future.

Perkins                  Expires 8 January 2025                 [Page 3]
Internet-Draft            IRTF Code of Conduct                 July 2024

   Harassment or disruption due to the posting of messages that are
   inflammatory, abusive, or otherwise inappropriate, or the repeated
   posting of off-topic material, on these lists and discussion forums
   will not be tolerated.  Moderators will respond to harassing or
   disruptive behaviour with either a warning, by temporarily suspending
   posting rights, or after consultation with the IRTF Chair by
   permanently suspending posting rights for an individual, based on the
   seriousness and history of the behaviour.

   Participants who have concerns about, or wish to appeal against, a
   moderation decision should raise their concerns with the IRTF Chair.
   If the concern relates to moderation decisions taken by the IRTF
   Chair, then it should be raised with the Chair of the Internet
   Architecture Board.  These parties will review the situation and may
   reverse the moderation decision or take other action as appropriate.

3.  Language and Imagery

   English is the de facto language in which the IRTF works, but is not
   the native language of many IRTF participants.  All participants,
   particularly those with English as a first language, should attempt
   to accommodate the needs of others by communicating clearly.
   Participants are reminded that reading, writing, and conversing in a
   language where one is not a native speaker may be difficult, and to
   treat those doing so with grace if they do so imperfectly.

   Participants should aim to speak slowly and clearly in presentations
   and discussions, and should strive to make presentations and other
   materials accessible to those with impaired vision or disabilities.
   Participants should also avoid the use of slang and unnecessary
   jargon in both spoken and written communication.  When faced with
   English that may be difficult to understand, IRTF participants should
   make a sincere effort to understand each other and to engage in
   conversation to clarify what was meant.

   Participants should ensure that language and imagery used in IRTF
   documents, presentations, mailing lists, research group meetings,
   open meetings, conferences, workshops, and other events, are
   respectful and inclusive.  Effective research uses terminology that
   is clear, precise, and widely accessible to readers from varying
   backgrounds and cultures.  Participants are encouraged to follow the
   guidance on inclusive language in [NISTIR8366] when making
   contributions to the IRTF [INCLUSIVE].

Perkins                  Expires 8 January 2025                 [Page 4]
Internet-Draft            IRTF Code of Conduct                 July 2024

4.  Academic Integrity

   Participants must act with respect, honesty, transparency, and
   fairness.  They should be trustworthy, aspire to objectivity, and aim
   to provide factual evidence in support of their claims and
   justification for their reasoning.  They should be generous, give
   credit to others where it is due, and recognise that understanding
   advances through collaborative research efforts of many, rather than
   for the glory of a few.

   Plagiarism, misrepresentation of authorship, and content
   falsification constitutes dishonesty and fraud.  Such actions are
   prohibited and the IRTF may take action against authors who commit
   them including retraction of the published work or exclusion of the
   offending party from IRTF activities.

   The use of automated systems, for example, large language models and
   other AI-based tools, to generate all or part of the content of a
   document, paper, presentation, or other submission to the IRTF must
   be documented and credited such that it is clear what parts were
   generated by the automated system.  Using such tools without credit
   is considered a misrepresentation of authorship.

   The IRTF publishes informational and experimental documents in the
   RFC series.  The nature of these documents, and their preceding
   internet-drafts, is that they often extend or elaborate upon
   previously published research results, to support ongoing development
   and experimentation by the IRTF community.  These documents are
   encouraged as an important part of the process of disseminating
   research ideas and ensuring that they work in the Internet at large,
   but authors must ensure that prior work on which they are based,
   including their own prior work, is appropriately cited and
   acknowledged, and that such documents respect the copyright of prior

   IRTF documents may represent the views of their authors or they may
   be consensus documents representing the views of a research group.
   It is a misrepresentation for authors to falsely claim that a
   document represents the consensus view of a research group.
   Similarly, the editors of a research group consensus document must
   not misrepresent their role as that of authors.

Perkins                  Expires 8 January 2025                 [Page 5]
Internet-Draft            IRTF Code of Conduct                 July 2024

5.  Research Ethics

   Participants must ensure that their research, in particular research
   that involves human subjects or personal data, is conducted ethically
   and with respect for persons, in careful consideration of the risks
   and benefits of the work, ensuring that those who bear the risk also
   gain some benefit, and with respect for the law and public interest.

   Participants should consult with their organisation's Institutional
   Review Board, Research Ethics Committee, or similar, prior to
   conducting research that might raise ethical concerns.

   Participants are referred to the guidance in the Menlo Report
   [MENLO], the Belmont Report [BELMONT], and the ACM Policy on Research
   Involving Human Participants and Subjects [ACM] for further
   discussion of issues around ethical conduct of research.

6.  Participation and Accessibility

   To encourage broad participation, and support the goal of providing
   an open and inclusive forum that encourages diversity of ideas and
   diversity of participation, IRTF participants should consider
   accessibility and access-related concerns when organising research
   group meetings, open meetings, conferences, workshops, and other
   events to ensure such events are broadly accessible to all who wish
   to participate.

   Participants should work to enable remote participation in IRTF
   events to support those who cannot attend in person, and should aim
   to make materials available online in a timely and broadly accessible

   The IRTF will work to provide travel grants, fee waivers, childcare,
   and other support to help participation by students, early career
   researchers, members of under-represented groups, those with
   disabilities, and others who might otherwise be unable to
   participate.  Participants are encouraged to make use of these

   IRTF Research Groups may have open or limited membership [RFC2014].
   Limited membership may be advantageous to the formation of the long-
   term working relationships that are critical to successful
   collaborative research.  However, limited membership must be used
   with care and sensitivity to avoid unnecessary fragmentation of the
   work of the research community.  The charter of each Research Group
   defines its membership policy (whether open or limited), and the
   procedure to apply for membership in the group.  While limited
   membership is permitted, it is in no way encouraged or required.

Perkins                  Expires 8 January 2025                 [Page 6]
Internet-Draft            IRTF Code of Conduct                 July 2024

   Research Group Chairs must enforce the membership policy of their
   group in a fair and transparent manner, providing a clear rationale
   for their decisions.  Participants with concerns about the
   administration of the membership policy for a research group, or who
   wish to appeal a membership decision, should raise their concern with
   the IRTF Chair.

   In exceptional cases, advice from legal counsel may be to restrict an
   individual from using IRTF systems and/or from participating in IRTF
   research group meetings, open meetings, conferences, workshops, and
   other events.  In such cases, the IRTF Chair will act following the
   principles outlined in the Statement on Restricting Access
   [RESTRICTING].  Due to the potential impact on the standards process,
   arising from the use of shared infrastructure and joint meetings
   between IRTF and IETF, any such action by the IRTF Chair will only be
   taken in consultation with the IESG.

7.  Rationale

   The IRTF is not the IETF.  While the two organisations work closely
   together, and often co-locate meetings and other activities, they
   have different goals and work in different ways.

   The IETF is a consensus-driven standards-developing organisation,
   where participants use their best engineering judgment to find the
   best solution for the whole Internet, as it stands today, and to
   develop the best technical standards to make the Internet work
   better.  IRTF research can be more speculative, and takes a longer-
   term view of the development of the Internet without the requirements
   for consensus or near-term applicability and deployability that come
   from standards development.  A further discussion of the differences
   between IRTF and IETF can be found in [RFC7418].

   Compared to the IETF equivalent [RFC7154], this IRTF code of conduct
   reflects those differences in emphasis between the two organisations.

8.  Security Considerations

   This IRTF code of conduct does not directly affect the security of
   the Internet.

   Research results, when translated into practice, have the potential
   to significantly impact the security and privacy of users of the
   Internet.  Researchers should consider the potential security
   benefits, risks, and implications of their work and, where possible,
   should aim to improve security and protect the privacy of Internet
   users through their research [RFC8890].

Perkins                  Expires 8 January 2025                 [Page 7]
Internet-Draft            IRTF Code of Conduct                 July 2024

9.  IANA Considerations

   This document requires no IANA actions.

10.  References

10.1.  Normative References

              "IETF Anti-Harassment Policy", November 2013,

              "Inclusive Language in Contributions to the IRTF", May
              2021, <>.

              National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST),
              "Guidance for NIST Staff on Using Inclusive Language in
              Documentary Standards", Interagency or Internal Report
              8366 (NISTIR 8366), DOI 10.6028/NIST.IR.8366, April 2021,

              "Ombudsteam", November 2013,

              "Statement on Restricting Access to IETF IT Systems",
              October 2022, <

   [RFC2014]  Weinrib, A. and J. Postel, "IRTF Research Group Guidelines
              and Procedures", BCP 8, RFC 2014, DOI 10.17487/RFC2014,
              October 1996, <>.

   [RFC7154]  Moonesamy, S., Ed., "IETF Guidelines for Conduct", BCP 54,
              RFC 7154, DOI 10.17487/RFC7154, March 2014,

   [RFC7418]  Dawkins, S., Ed., "An IRTF Primer for IETF Participants",
              RFC 7418, DOI 10.17487/RFC7418, December 2014,

   [RFC7776]  Resnick, P. and A. Farrel, "IETF Anti-Harassment
              Procedures", BCP 25, RFC 7776, DOI 10.17487/RFC7776, March
              2016, <>.

Perkins                  Expires 8 January 2025                 [Page 8]
Internet-Draft            IRTF Code of Conduct                 July 2024

   [RFC8890]  Nottingham, M., "The Internet is for End Users", RFC 8890,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8890, August 2020,

10.2.  Informative References

   [ACM]      ACM Publications Board, "ACM Publications Policy on
              Research Involving Human Participants and Subjects", n.d.,

   [BELMONT]  National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects
              of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, "The Belmont Report
              - Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of
              Human Subjects of Research", n.d.,

   [MENLO]    US Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology
              Directorate, "The Menlo Report - Ethical Principles
              Guiding Information and Communication Technology
              Research", August 2012,


   This work is supported in part by the UK Engineering and Physical
   Sciences Research Council under grant EP/S036075/1.

   This document is based, in part, on the IETF guidelines for conduct
   [RFC7154].  The influence of the code of conduct and other policies
   of ICANN, the USENIX Association, and the Association for Computing
   Machinery is also gratefully acknowledged.

   Thanks to Carsten Bormann, Vigdis Bronder, Ignacio Castro, Jane
   Coffin, Jay Daley, Dhruv Dhody, Lars Eggert, Reese Enghardt, Stephen
   Farrell, Simone Ferlin, Mallory Knodel, Dirk Kutscher, Allison
   Mankin, Marie-Jose Montpetit, Dave Oran, Pete Resnick, Melinda Shore,
   Niels ten Oever, Brian Trammell, and other members of the Internet
   Research Steering Group (IRSG) for their feedback on this code of

Author's Address

   Colin Perkins
   University of Glasgow

Perkins                  Expires 8 January 2025                 [Page 9]