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Policy on Conflicts of Interest and Commitment & Academic Integrity

Bilkent University maintains the following policy governing (i) Conflicts of Interest and Commitment and (ii) Academic Integrity. It is provided to inform and guide all members of the Bilkent academic community, and it supplements the Principles of Ethical Behavior in Higher Education Establishments, (in Turkish) which should be consulted on all issues.


Conflicts of Interest and Commitment

Preamble. Bilkent University is a flagship institution committed to the highest standards of professional conduct and academic performance. The following Policy relating to Conflicts of Interest and Commitment is intended to maintain the integrity of the University as it pertains to research, education, and service to the community. The Policy, in its entirety, applies to all faculty, instructors, staff, graduate students and anyone else acting on behalf of Bilkent University.

Duty. All individuals subject to this Policy have a duty to avoid actual and potential conflicts and ensure that their interests and activities do not impinge on their legal, ethical, and professional obligations.

Conflicts. A conflict arises when an actual or apparent interest or commitment compromises, or appears to compromise, an individual’s ability to impartially perform one’s duty in connection with Bilkent University.

  • A conflict of interest exists when there is a divergence between the individual’s private interests and her or his professional obligations to Bilkent. A conflict of interest may arise (a) when an individual has an existing or potential financial interest that may conflict with obligations to Bilkent or (b) may receive a financial or other benefit from use or disclosure of non-public information belonging to Bilkent.
  • A conflict of commitment exists when the individual’s outside activities interfere with her or his primary professional obligations to Bilkent University. Outside activities include, but are not limited to, any self-employment, consulting arrangements, business partnerships, or other professional or charitable activities that could interfere with the individual’s commitment to Bilkent.

Disclosure. All individuals subject to this Policy are expected to promptly disclose any potential or actual conflict as soon as it arises to the Provost’s office. The individual must submit a written explanation explaining in detail the nature of the potential or actual conflict.

Common issues involving potential conflicts include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Authorship. Recognizing that academic disciplines diverge in their manner of attributing authorship, it is the Policy of Bilkent University that all persons contributing to a publication in a scholarly manner should be listed as an author. Determining whether a person made a scholarly contribution must be made on a case by case basis. The following criteria are intended as guidelines: (a) the individual made a substantial contribution to either the problem formulation or the conception / design / methodology of the work or the acquisition / analysis / interpretation of data, (b) drafted or critically revised the work, and approved the final work for publication, and (d) accepts responsibility for all aspects of the work as it pertains to his or her contribution.
  • External Professional Activities and Outside Employment. External paid professional activities, such as consulting relationships, and proprietary or other interests in companies or firms are permitted subject to written approval by Bilkent University. Individuals may not accept outside employment that raises an actual conflict of interest or commitment. Potential conflicts must be disclosed to the Bilkent Project Evaluation Committee for resolution. For more information regarding external activities and outside employment, see this page.
  • Relationships Among Faculty, Staff, and Students. Appropriate teacher-student relationships are fundamental to the educational process and necessary for preserving the integrity and trust of the Bilkent community. Because inherently fraught with institutional inequality and other disparities due to differences in age and maturity, no member of the faculty, instructor or staff shall have a consensual romantic or sexual relationship with any undergraduate student. Nor should a member of the faculty, instructor or staff exercise academic or professional authority over any graduate student with whom she or he currently has or has had a prior consensual romantic or sexual relationship without disclosing the relationship and securing written consent from Bilkent University to exercise authority over the student. When possible, alternative arrangements that avoid actual or potential conflicts should be made.
  • Discrimination, Harassment, and Mobbing. Bilkent University strictly prohibits the following: (1) discrimination against any person on the basis of perceived categories such as, but not limited to, appearance, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, or political belief; (2) harassment, defined as unwelcome, unsolicited, and unreciprocated behavior that is offensive, humiliating, belittling, or intimidating toward an individual or group, and (3) mobbing (or bullying), which is severe conduct toward another person involving unfavorable treatment, such as verbal abuse (derogatory remarks, insults, belittling comments), inappropriate physical conduct (aggressive posturing, intimidating gestures, threatening or humiliating acts) or other non-verbal conduct (such as deliberate isolation, social exclusion, avoidance).
  • Research Involving Humans or Animals. Proposed research (experiments, field work, surveys) involving human participants or animal subjects must obtain prior written approval from Bilkent University. For more information regarding rules governing research involving humans, see this page.

Academic Integrity

Preamble. Bilkent University is committed to fundamental values necessary to research, academic excellence, the pursuit of learning, and a culture of integrity. These include honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility among all members of the University community. Faculty, instructors, staff, and students are all strongly encouraged to embrace these values in pursuit of these shared goals.

Academic Dishonesty. In light of its commitment to academic integrity, Bilkent University prohibits acts of misconduct and academic dishonesty. These include, but are not limited to, acts of cheating, plagiarism, and falsification of data, as defined below.

  • Cheating occurs when an individual uses dishonesty or deception to receive or help others receive professional or academic credit for work she or he did not perform. Cheating includes, among other acts, misappropriation and / or development of the ideas, concepts, designs, or methodology of others without consent; use of materials or devices not permitted by the instructor during exams; taking an exam for another person; resubmitting work previously submitted elsewhere; copying previously published solutions to problems.
  • Plagiarism is representing the work or ideas of another person as one’s own. It frequently involves quoting, cutting / pasting or closely paraphrasing written language without appropriately citing the source of the material through the use of quotation marks, reference notes, or other methods of acknowledgement. An act of plagiarism may be unintentional, and to avoid unintentional plagiarism standard practices of citation should be followed. For detailed instructions regarding standard citation practices, see http://www.plagiarism.org.
  • Falsification is a deliberate misrepresentation in which information, whether in the form of data, written language, images or other media, is either altered or fabricated.

In addition to this Policy, all members of the Bilkent academic community should consult the following resources for further information pertaining to (i) conflicts of interest and commitment and (ii) academic integrity:

  • TÜBİTAK AYEK (Research and Publication Ethics Committee) Regulation available here (in Turkish).