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Guiding Principles
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Mission Statement 

The International Communication Association aims to advance the scholarly study of human communication by encouraging and facilitating excellence in academic research worldwide. The purposes of the Association are (1) to provide an international forum to enable the development, conduct, and critical evaluation of communication research; (2) to sustain a program of high quality scholarly publication and knowledge exchange; (3) to facilitate inclusiveness and debate among scholars from diverse national and cultural backgrounds and from multi-disciplinary perspectives on communication-related issues; and (4) to promote a wider public interest in, and visibility of, the theories, methods, findings and applications generated by research in communication and allied fields. 


Ethics Statement

Members of the International Communication (ICA) are expected to uphold the highest ethical standards in all aspects of scholarship, research, and professional practice. 


ICA General Statement on Standards

We affirm our commitment to widely recognized ethical principles, including, but not limited to, standards regarding:

  • scholarly and scientific integrity,
  • protection of the rights of research participants, associates, and sponsors, 
  • plagiarism and authorship credit,
  • publication of methods and findings,
  • disclosure of potential conflicts of interest,
  • scholarly evaluation, criticism, and debate,
  • nondiscrimination and respect for human diversity, and 
  • social responsibility. 

While affirming our commitment to such widely recognized broad principles, ICA has not established a comprehensive code of professional practice providing detailed guidelines on ethical issues. Given the interdisciplinary diversity of research encompassed by ICA, a comprehensive code of ethics for ICA that would address this range of research methods and scholarly approaches would be cumbersome. Not only the interdisciplinary diversity of ICA, but also our international diversity, requires some caution in the specific application of broad ethical principles. Ethical guidelines, which should be sensitive to institutional, legal, and cultural contexts that may vary among nations and regions, are sometimes best negotiated within national or regional organizations. 

As is necessary and appropriate, however, ICA will continue to establish detailed ethical policies on matters specific to our organization, such as ICA publications and conferences. Such guidelines will continue be published in the ICA Publications Manual, the annual conference call for papers, and other relevant places. 


Policy on Political Engagement

Following the board discussion from the January 2011 online board meeting and the final report of the task force on political engagement, the following is the proposed policy for ICA:

The following procedures are for any issue where a member of ICA requests consideration and support of a political engagement matter.


A justification based on either the association mission statement or the ethics statement is required. This requires an argument that taking a position expresses "social responsibility" or meets some other extremely general criterion, demonstration of substantial support for the position by association membership, and relevance to the field of communication.

Content requirements:

  • A rationale for why the proposal merits consideration and how it meets the criteria for consideration.
  • Substantial documentation regarding (a) details of the issue, and (b) relevance of the issue to the field of communication.
  • A description of the specific activities that are being recommended.
  • Specific language for a resolution.
  • Assessment of the costs and financial implications of the proposed action.


Material must be presented at least 45 days prior to the meeting at which the Board will consider the matter. For issues that require a more timely response, the request can be forwarded to the Executive Committee, who will evaluate the request and forward their recommendation on to the Board for an online vote.


Adoption of a statement for political engagement requires a majority of eligible voting members of the Board, not just those voting.



Regional, National and Disciplinary Standards

With regard to ethical questions not specifically covered by ICA policies, scholars affiliated with ICA are expected to adhere to the code of ethics of the Communication Association within their own nation or region. If there is no national or regional communication association that has a sufficiently detailed code of ethics appropriate to their research methodology, scholars affiliated with ICA are expected to adhere to such codes provided by international disciplinary associations (e.g., the International Sociological Association). If an appropriate or sufficiently detailed guide is not available internationally, use of ethics guidelines from U.S. or other well-established national academic disciplinary associations is expected.

ICA will maintain on its web site a directory of codes of research and professional practice for reference by ICA members. Codes currently available online include the following. Please send an email to ICA with recommendations for other ethics codes.



ICA welcomes your comments and questions. Please feel free to contact the ICA staff at anytime.


International Communication Association
1500 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036 USA

Phone: (202) 955-1444

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