Public Policy/Advocacy

AAA Membership Approves Changes to the Code of Ethics

The proposed changes to the AAA Code of Ethics were approved by a vote of the membership, with 1460 votes (87%) in favor and 218 votes (13%) against.

The approved changes add the view that “Anthropologists should not withhold research results from research participants when those results are shared with others.”   The approved revision adds that “There are circumstances where disclosure restrictions are appropriate and ethical, particularly where those restrictions serve to protect the safety, dignity or privacy of participants, protect cultural heritage or tangible and intangible cultural or intellectual property.”   A second element of the approved revisions states: "Anthropologists should not work clandestinely or misrepresent the nature, purpose, intended outcome, distribution or sponsorship of their research." 

The changes were a result of a year-long process, involving considerable work by the AAA’s Committee on Ethics and extensive discussion in the AAA’s diffuse public spheres. 

The process of reviewing the AAA Code of Ethics is not, however, finished.  The Executive Board has established a Task Force to review the entire Code of Ethics over a two year period, to be completed by November 2010.  During this two year period, the Task Force will be seeking as much input and participation as possible from AAA members.

The revised Code of Ethics may be viewed at