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Rhododendron Research Network


Charter Documents  (Revised November 2019)

1. Organization purpose

  1. Mission statement: The Rhododendron Research Network (R-RN) is a collaborative working group that enhances participation, value and dissemination of scientific discoveries in Rhododendron.
  2. Collaboration with the American Rhododendron Society (ARS): The R-RN was created in collaboration with the ARS, with the express intentions of 1) promoting and enhancing research objectives of ARS, and 2) increasing opportunities for ARS members to conduct community science and gain access to scientific findings on Rhododendron.
  3. Areas of Interest: The R-RN will conduct projects within specific areas of interest, these are listed in Table 1 of this document.

2. Organization rules and procedures

  1. Guiding documents and their revision: These Charter Documents set out the rules and procedures of the R-RN. This document should be revisited once every five years, or more often as deemed necessary by R-RN leadership.
  2. Code of Conduct:
    1. Research conduct: The R-RN ascribes to, and expects members to abide by, industry standards for responsible research (outline by the World Health Organization at http://www.who.int/about/ethics/code-of-conduct-responsible-research.pdf)
    2. Personal safety: The R-RN Policy on Discrimination and Harassment (Appendix 1) outlines expectations for personal conduct among members, procedures for reporting discrimination and harassment, and releases R-RN Co-chairs and Steering Committee members from liability associated with discrimination and harassment arising out of R-RN activities.
  3. Annual reporting: Chair(s) will submit an annual report to ARS board of directors on or about April 1 These are archived on the R-RN website for public viewing.

3. Organization structure

  1. Membership:
    1. Criteria for membership: Anyone actively involved in some aspect of Rhododendron research can become a member of the network.
      1. Community scientists - those not officially affiliated with a research-based organization are recognized as community scientists. i.e. people interested in contributing to or conducting research on Rhododendron as a past-time.
    2. Definition of membership: Membership is constituted by adding one's name, research description and contact information to the participant list via the fillable web form.
    3. Membership duration: Membership has no expiration date. Member information will be retained on the R-RN website indefinitely, but can be removed from the R-RN website at the request of the member. The leadership of R-RN retains the right to remove individuals from the membership list as deemed necessary.
    4. Membership benefits:
      1. Permission to display contact and information about personal research goals/interests on the R-RN webpage.
      2. Ability to nominate or be nominated for Chair and Steering Committee positions.
      3. Invitation to the Mendeley "Private" literature database group. (Note that invitations to the "Invite only" group are provided to non-members).
      4. Open invitation to promote publications/projects in the newsletter.
      5. Membership is not required to sign up for the newsletter.
    5. Membership fees and recruitment: There is no charge to join the network, and ARS membership is not required to join. Membership in ARS is encouraged and promoted via newsletters and other venues where the benefits of ARS membership can be highlighted.
  2. Leadership by Steering Committee
    1. Committee Chair(s)
      1. Qualifications: Chairs must be members of the R-RN with an active academic research program in Rhododendron that includes publication in peer reviewed journals.
      2. Term and responsibilities: Five year term, with possibility of reappointment. Consecutive appointments are allowed. Co-chairs are expected to work with steering committee and network members to update Charter Documents as needed, to identify new action items, to provide guidance and assistance for current action items, to develop action items of their own, and to lead creation of the annual report.
    2. Committee Members
      1. The committee will include a representative in each Area of Interest (see Table 1 below).
      2. Qualifications: Committee members must be members of the R-RN.
      3. Term and responsibilities: 2 year term, with possibility of reappointment. Steering committee members are expected to work with Chairs, with each other, and with network members to advance network objectives, provide oversight for network activities (e.g. provide feedback on governance decisions and action plans), contribute to the annual report, and develop action items of their own. Representatives may be appointed to lead projects, represent stakeholders, or both. Whenever possible, different representatives should be identified for each project and stakeholder area. When a steering committee position cannot be filled, Chairs become de facto representative of that position.
    3. Nomination and appointment procedure
      1. Prospective steering committee members are nominated by network members and approved by majority vote of the steering committee. For Chair appointments, the committee will seek additional approval of nominees from ARS Board of Directors prior to putting the nominee up for a steering committee vote.
      2. Self-nominations are allowed.
      3. Steering committee consideration of appointment renewals and nominations will take place between October 1 and December 1 of each year.
        1. Current steering committee members will notify the Chair(s) of their intent to remain on or depart the steering committee at the beginning of the consideration period (i.e. by August 1) of each year.
        2. Nominees to replace departing committee members should be received by September 1 of each year. Those with appropriate qualifications (outlined above) will be contacted by the steering committee Chair(s) to determine if the nomination is accepted. Once the nomination is accepted, nominees will supply a CV to the committee prior to the voting period.
        3. Nominees to fill open committee positions can be received any time. The process remains the same as for replacement of sitting committee members, except that a special election will be held within 2 months of the date of the nomination.
      4. Open steering committee positions and deadlines for filling departing member roles will be advertised in the network newsletter.
  3. Action Items
    1. Chairs and steering committee members will propose Action Items, or yearly goals, which speak to an Area of Interest. Network members wishing to propose Action Items will identify and work with the appropriate Steering Committee member to sponsor their proposal.
    2. Proposed Action Items should be submitted to the Chair(s) during the review period, between October 1st and November 30th, during which time proposers will work with Chair(s) and committee members to refine proposed Action Items prior to voting by the Steering Committee.
    3. In addition to annual Action Item submissions, new or Revised Action Items can be submitted at any time for review by the Committee.
  4. Voting
    1. Voting will be web-based, using the freeware platform SurveyMonkey.
    2. Voting for all steering committee activities will take place December 1st - 15th.
      1. Note in year 1 (2018) a special voting period will be held December 17th - 21st to approve Charter Documents and 2019 Action Items.
    3. Simple majority is required to approve, only votes cast within the voting period are counted.
    4. Chairs will be responsible for conducting elections and documenting voting results.

Table 1. Areas of Interest represented by Steering committee positions in the R-RN.

Projects Stakeholders
Community Science Experiments American Rhododendron Society
Collaborative Experiments Graduate students and post-docs
Collaborative Review Articles International Scientists
Conferences and Networking Public Gardens
Funding Rhododendron Research Foundation
Newsletter US Scientists
Web Resource Development  
Website Technical Infrastructure  

Appendix 1. Policy on harassment and discrimination

The Rhododendron Research Network (R-RN) is intended to foster the exchange of scientific ideas, providing participants with an opportunity to establish/renew collaborations, to learn, teach, and network with a diverse community of professional and community scientists. R-RN organizers are committed to creating an environment where everyone can participate without harassment, discrimination, or violence of any kind. All participants must be treated with respect and consideration. Registration for the network is considered an agreement to abide by this policy.

Harassment of any R-RN associate or participant will not be tolerated, either in person or online. Unacceptable behavior includes (but is not limited to) unwanted verbal attention, unwanted touching, intimidation, stalking, shaming, or bullying. Discrimination on the basis of gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, physical appearance, race, religion, national origin, or ethnicity will not be tolerated. Harassment presented in a joking manner is still harassment and constitutes unacceptable behavior. Retaliation for reporting harassment is also unacceptable, as is reporting an incident in bad faith. People wishing to report a violation of this code of conduct should contact the R-RN Co-Chairs. Incidents of harassment and discrimination are taken extremely seriously. Confidentiality will be maintained unless disclosure is legally required. When a violation is reported, R-RN Co-Chairs will work with the offended party to identify an appropriate solution. Anyone violating the code of conduct may be: (a) asked to stop, (b) prohibited from participating in network activities, and/or (c) expelled from the network.

R-RN Co-Chairs or Steering Committee Representatives shall not be responsible for any defamatory, offensive, or illegal conduct of any R-RN participants, and shall not be held liable for personal injury, property damage, intellectual theft or damage of any kind suffered by the participants in connection with R-RN. By registering for R-RN membership, each participant acknowledges that they have read this Disclaimer, and expressly releases R-RN and its agents from any and all liability in connection with such activities as provided herein.

The R-RN Co-Chairs reserve the right to enforce this policy in any manner deemed appropriate. Establishing this policy is intended to prevent incidents of harassment, discrimination, and violence, and to maintain the high quality of scientific discourse that our members should expect.


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