Co-endorsed by the U.S. National Committee on Geological Sciences (USNC-GS), American Geosciences Institute (AGI), Mineralogical Society of America (MSA) and International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG).
This interactive session will examine our current culture and ethics of geologic sampling, as well as guidelines and aspirations for the future. We will use this feedback to begin to formulate recommendations for a future GSA Position Statement and possible educational materials for the geoscience curriculum. We invite all the GSA membership to participate in a pre-meeting survey with the purpose of collecting information to better understand our past or current culture of geologic sampling. The anonymous, aggregated information will be shared at the session as a springboard for discussions, which will also include topics below.
A. Experiences, levels of priorities/needs for samples. E.g., What are the needs for in situ vs. float, different types and quantities of samples? How should samples be collected (hammer vs. drill, etc.), and is remediation appropriate?
B. Alternatives to renewed or continuing sampling? Opportunities and multi-use purposes for samples, sample repositories, sample exchanges? E.g., can we re-purpose samples during times of COVID, or cooperate with USGS National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program? How should important/unique collections be saved and made available for new types of collaborative research?
C. Archiving and maintaining current sample collections. What is the long-term fate of legacy collections (can departments and museums assimilate samples?), i.e., life after retirement or project completion? What are the lessons from state and federal agencies?
D. Legal and liability issues: permitting, permissions, licenses. What is legal may not be ethical. Who enforces guidelines (are they only aspirational)? How do sampling guidelines differ internationally and at specific sites?
E. Culturally sensitive areas. How do we respectfully propose research and gain permissions on indigenous lands or other sensitive areas? Identify best practices.
F. Should there be limits to sampling? Who reviews and enforces sampling guidelines? E.g., would it help to have some sort of IRB (institutional review board) or a process for oversight, particularly for sensitive geoheritage sites?
G. Impacts and consequences of sampling (including unintended), including tagging outcrops.
We welcome input of geoscientists from diverse backgrounds and experience, and at all career stages, from interested students to experienced professionals. Responsible sampling is relevant to protecting exemplary sites, being respectful of indigenous cultures, and other societal issues. Sampling is a global issue related to geodiversity and geoconservation and is important to all geoscientists. Although a range of guidelines exist in various societies (e.g., Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, the Geological Society of London), GSA has yet to adopt any sampling guidelines. Please help us get started on this conversation by participating in the short survey. The goal of the upcoming session is to open up more communication and have community participation on this relevant topic that affects teaching, research, and our geoheritage.