CXC Code of Conduct

CXC Staff

CXC staff who are Smithsonian employees are subject to Smithsonian Directive 103, "Smithsonian Institution Code of Conduct". CXC staff are also required to adhere to the expectations for conduct at meetings (see section on meetings below).

Proposals and Peer Review: Proposals submitted to the CXC will be kept confidential to the extent allowed by the review process. For accepted proposals, the scientific justification section of the proposal remains confidential but other sections become publicly accessible, including PI names, project titles, abstracts, and all observational details. The remaining approved, and all unselected prpoposals will remain confidential.

All CXC and visiting personnel who will be handling or reviewing the proposals as part of the review process will be fully informed of the confidential nature of the proposals. They will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, agreeing to treat information in the proposals as confidential and not to disclose or use such information in any way beyond what is needed for the review process itself. All copies (electronic and hardcopy) of the proposals distributed as part of the review process are to be destroyed once the process is complete.

CXC staff providing technical assessments should not be PIs, or Co-Is, close professional or personal associates or relatives of PIs or Co-Is, of any proposal they review.

At the peer review, CXC staff will excuse themselves during discussions involving the evaluation of proposals with which they have a conflict of interest.

Representatives from external organizations at Peer Review

Representatives from external organizations (e.g. NASA or Chandra's Joint Partner Observatories) regularly attend the Chandra peer review. They shall follow the expectations for conduct at meetings, proposal handling, and confidentiality/conflict of interest rules as outlined for CXC staff.


Plagiarism: As defined by the American Astronomical Society (AAS), plagiarism is "the act of reproducing text or other materials from other papers without properly crediting the source. Such material is regarded as being plagiarized regardless of whether it is cited literally or has been modified or paraphrased" (for details see It is not acceptable to use plagiarized text in a Chandra proposal. Any material reproduced from another source must be contained within quotes and complete references given.

The text of all submitted Science Justifications will be screened using commercial plagiarism software. Text that is "recycled" from papers authored by the PI or CoIs is acceptable in the context of a Chandra proposal. Proposals found to contain plagiarized or incompletely cited text will be rejected and the PI and CoIs notified. The decision to reject a proposal on the grounds of plagiarism will be made by the CXC Director in consultation with the appropriate panel chair.

Dual Anonymous Peer Review: From Cycle 23 the Chandra peer review will be dual anonymous: proposers will not know the identity of the reviewers, but in addition reviewers will not know the identity of the proposers. Proposers should ensure that the abstract and proposal text do not reveal the identities of the proposing team, as described in the Chandra Call for Proposals


All communication for each approved proposal will be conducted with the proposal PI or, for questions concerning observational constraints or parameters, the Observing Investigator. It is the responsibility of the PI and/or the Observing Investigator to respond to any questions in a timely manner.

Chandra Peer Reviewers

Confidentiality: Information in proposals and discussions as part of the review must be treated as confidential and not discussed with anyone outside of the review process, nor anyone in another review panel, before, during, or after the review. In addition, names of reviewers are confidential.

Conflict of Interest Rules:

  • Reviewers may not be PIs of any proposal considered by their panel.
  • Reviewers may not serve as primary or secondary reviewers on any proposals for which they are Co-Is, for which the PIs or (preferably) any of the Co-Is are from their institution.
  • Reviewers should not serve as primary or secondary reviewers on any proposals where the PI or any of the Co-Is are close professional or personal associates.
  • Reviewers may not serve as primary or secondary reviewers on any proposals that are in direct competition with one on which they are PI or Co-I.

From Cycle 23 the Chandra peer review will be a dual anonymous review: proposers will not know the identity of the reviewers and reviewers will not know the identity of the proposers. Since reviewers do not have access to the names or institutions of the proposing teams, the CXC will identify institutional conflicts based on currently-listed institutions. Reviewers should:

  • Not read or grade a proposal for which the CXC has identified that they have any type of conflict.
  • Inform the CXC of any suspected missed conflicts (institutional or other).
  • Inform the CXC of individuals with whom they have a close personal or professional relationship that may prevent them from giving an objective review.
  • Inform the CXC if a proposal they are asked to review is directly in competition with a proposal they have submitted, either in terms of science goals or celestial target.
  • Leave the panel room (or virtual space) when they have a conflict of interest.

Pundits and Panel Chairs: In addition to the general rules, pundits and topical panel chairs may not be PIs or CoIs on any V/LP.

Behavior at CXC Meetings

People attending CXC meetings (including science symposia and peer reviews) are expected to treat others with courtesy and respect in an environment that is free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. We believe in equality of opportunity and treatment for all attendees, regardless of gender, gender identity or expression, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion or religious belief, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities, veteran status, seniority, or any other reason. Harassment, sexual or otherwise, is a form of misconduct that undermines the integrity of our meetings and our scientific exchanges.

Social Media Policies at CXC public Science meetings and Symposia

Attendees at CXC public science meetings and symposia are welcome to share on social media, including live-tweeting, unless requested otherwise by organizers or presenters.

Social Media Policies at Chandra Peer Reviews

Attendees at the Chandra Peer review must refrain from posting about the Review on social media at all times to preserve confidentiality. This includes any posts that indicate their participation in the Review.

Grant Holders

CXC holders must adhere to the standards set forth in the Terms and Conditions: Definitions of harassment, discrimination and retaliation These definitions are taken from the American Astronomical Society Code of Ethics.

Sexual harassment: sexual harrassment refers to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Behavior and language that are welcome/acceptable to one person may be unwelcome/offensive to another. Consequently, individuals must use discretion to ensure that their words and actions communicate respect for others. This is especially important for those in positions of authority since individuals with lower rank or status may be reluctant to express their objections or discomfort regarding unwelcome behavior.

Sexual harassment does not refer to occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature. It refers to behavior that is not welcome, is personally offensive, debilitates morale, and therefore, interferes with work effectiveness. The following are examples of behavior that, when unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment: sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions; verbal comments or physical actions of a sexual nature; sexually degrading words used to describe an individual; a display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures; sexually explicit jokes; unnecessary touching.

Other harassment: harassment on the basis of any other protected characteristic is also strictly prohibited. This conduct includes, but is not limited to the following: bullying, epithets, slurs, or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating, hostile or consistently rude acts; disparaging jokes, and display or circulation of written or graphic material that disparages or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group.

Discrimination: discrimination refers to bias or prejudice resulting in denial of opportunity, or unfair treatment regarding selection, promotion, or transfer. Discrimination is practiced commonly on the grounds of age, disability, ethnicity, origin, political belief, race, religion, sex, etc., factors which are irrelevant to a person's competence or suitability.

Retaliation: retaliation refers to taking any action to negatively impact another based on their reporting an act of discrimination or harassment.

Reporting an Incident

Please email with any questions or to report an incident. Reports will be reviewed initially by select members of the Director's Office and appropriate action taken.