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EGU17 - Flags at EGU General Assembly 2017 (Credit: Kai Boggild)

Press release EGU response to Science article

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European Geosciences Union

EGU response to Science article

9 July 2024

MUNICH – The European Geosciences Union (EGU) would like to publicly refute the allegations published in an article in Science news online on 2 July 2024, regarding the dismissal of the Union’s former President and the purported events that occurred during the 2024 General Assembly. We will therefore provide further clarification on the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of former president Irina Artemieva and the measures undertaken to preserve the integrity and ethical standards of our organisation.

The decision of EGU’s Council, consisting mainly of 22 Division Presidents elected by the EGU membership, to call for a vote that led to the dismissal of Irina Artemieva was only predicated upon a clear and admitted breach of confidentiality, several violations of EGU’s Code of Conduct and the Union’s commitment to transparency and ethical governance. The reasons for Artemieva’s dismissal are clearly stated in a statement by EGU Council.

With regards to the GeoGPT abstract mentioned in the article, EGU’s Person of Trust received a report alleging possible scientific misconduct and, as is standard practice, an investigation was conducted by the Ethics committee. During this time, Irina Artemieva exposed the identity of the reporting individual to a member of the Deep-time Digital Earth leadership connected to the subject of the report, violating the reporting individual’s privacy and exposing them to possible retribution. Artemieva’s failure to safeguard and respect confidential information, compounded by other critical governance deficiencies, necessitated decisive action, to sustain the trust and confidence of our members.

The comments in the article regarding the events of the Deep-time Digital Earth Union Symposium are inflammatory and misleading, particularly regarding the safeguarding actions of Peter van der Beek, who was, at the time, the elected Vice-President. The events in which van der Beek’s actions were characterised as “harassment and discrimination” involved serious breaches of EGU’s rules and code of conduct by third-parties. In particular, an individual who was not one of the authors was found to be attempting to present an abstract in the Union Symposium, and that individual was also using another person’s name badge. Both actions violate the EGU General Assembly rules of participation, and as a consequence this individual was required to leave the meeting. In addition, at the start of the Union Symposium, it was apparent that the Symposium organisers were attempting to promote a commercial entity during a scientific session (an action explicitly prohibited by General Assembly rules) and to unofficially reorganise the session (also against the rules). Several members of the General Assembly organisational team acted to ensure that the session, like any other, was conducted according to General Assembly rules. EGU Executive Secretary, Philippe Courtial, who was also in attendance at the session, stated: “Peter’s behaviour during this session is in no way reflected by the accusations levelled in this article. His actions were taken only to protect and uphold the functioning of the General Assembly. Throughout this whole process, Peter van der Beek, the other members of EGU’s volunteer Executive, and the volunteer Council have conducted themselves with exceptional integrity and sensitivity, and EGU thanks them for their service and dedication.”

EGU’s actions throughout this period were meticulously guided by our statutes, by-laws, Code of Conduct and General Assembly rules, with specific support from EGU’s legal representatives throughout; as well as our values of creating an equitable, supportive and fair environment to share and discuss science.

The EGU remains steadfast in its dedication to cultivating an environment conducive to open scientific discourse and ethical behaviour, where everyone feels welcome regardless of geographic location, origin or nationality. No member of EGU is exempt from following the Code of Conduct, including the President of the Union. We appreciate the continued support of our community and look forward to witnessing the increasing advancements in scientific research shared by our excellent membership.

More information

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) is Europe’s premier geosciences union, dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in the Earth, planetary, and space sciences for the benefit of humanity, worldwide. It is a non-profit interdisciplinary learned association of scientists founded in 2002 with headquarters in Munich, Germany. The EGU publishes a number of diverse scientific journals that use an innovative open access format and organises topical meetings plus education and outreach activities. Its annual General Assembly is the largest and most prominent European geosciences event, attracting more than 18,000 scientists from all over the world. The meeting’s sessions cover a wide range of topics, including volcanology, planetary exploration, the Earth’s internal structure and atmosphere, climate, energy, and resources. The next General Assembly will be held from 27 April – 2 May 2025 in Vienna, Austria and virtually. For more information, please check here

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Asmae Ourkiya
Media and Communications Officer
European Geosciences Union
Munich, Germany

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