The aim of this document is to provide a framework for a model code of practice for ethical conduct by academic staff in higher education institutions. The recommendations in this model code should be reflected in the internal statutes, rules and procedures of the respective institution.  They are based on the outcomes of the Council of Europe project ‘Strengthening Integrity and Combating Corruption in Higher Education in Higher Education.’


Members of academic staff appointed according to the provisions of the Law on Higher Education are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the following general principles derived from international sources:

ü  Integrity;

ü  Honesty;

ü  Truth;

ü  Transparency;

ü  Respect for Others;

ü  Trust;

ü  Accountability;

ü  Fairness; Equity,

ü  Justice and Social Justice;

ü  Selflessness;

ü  Objectivity;

ü  Openness;

ü  Academic Freedom.

These apply to their relations with (i) the governing body, management and other organs of the institution, (ii) other academic and support staff, (iii) students, and (iv)any other persons or groups having a contractual or other relationship or interest in the work of the institution.

Model Code and main Rules

In pursuance of these general principles, each higher education institution must adopt and publish Rules governing (i) conduct including discipline and sanctions; (ii) appointment, promotion, and termination of appointment; (iii) scientific research; and (iv) examinations and assessment. As a minimum these Rules should expressly incorporate the above principles and provide sanctions for non-compliance in accordance with the legislation in force. In particular, members of academic staff:

·         should place the interests of the institution above their own interests, and should not seek to profit from their positions otherwise than as provided by the legislation in force;

·         should not accept any instruction to act or refrain from acting in a particular way from any individual except a higher authority acting in accordance with the general principles and with due regard to individual academic freedom, or from any political party, trade union or religious group, except as permitted by legislation in force;

·         in relation to any person or group within or external to the institution, must not solicit or accept any bribe or other unlawful financial consideration, or seek or accept any other personal favour, which may influence them in their work, and must immediately report any attempt to bribe or offer personal favour to the relevant authority defined in the Rules of the institution, which shall b eobliged to take appropriate action;

·         should declare in writing to the Rector, who shall report the declaration to the Board, where they or any member of their immediate family have any personal interest in issues affecting their work -human resources (including staff appointments and promotions), financial, contractual or other relevant matters;

·         must not misuse the resources of the institution, or personal or commercial information held by it, including intellectual property, for personal gain or that of any other person or group;

·         when participating in appointment, promotion or other commissions affecting academic staff, must conduct themselves according to the ethical principles set out above;

·         when participating in commissions or other bodies concerned with admission, assessment, examination and other actions relating to students, and in individual and group activities with students, must conduct themselves according to the ethical principles set out above;

·         when participating in research activities, must not engage in plagiarism, fail to cite or attribute the work of others, falsify results, and abide by ethical principles in relation to protection of personal data, and other specific principles in defined subject areas according to the Rules of the institution (for example in medical and veterinary sciences, and sociological research); 

·         should ensure that all persons under their authority are made aware of the relevant legislation and rules and the consequences of non-compliance, and to promote ethical conduct;

·         have the right to report any alleged non-compliance with the legislation in force or the ethical principles to the relevant authority in confidence without adverse personal consequences, accepting that providing any information proved to be false will lead to disciplinary action.

Related Rules

In addition to the main Rules already noted, other Rules should be adopted or existing rules adapted according to the ethical principles stated above, in accordance with the legislation in force and the institution’s statute.

[1]* This designation wherever it appears in this Report is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.