American Physical Society Revocation Policy

All members of the APS are expected to meet standards of professional scientific integrity as described in the APS Ethics Guidelines. Violations of these standards may disqualify candidates from consideration for Fellowship, Awards and Prizes, or consideration for official positions. Determination that a member has violated these standards may lead to revocation of awards and prizes, removal from official positions, or revocation of APS membership. Some ethical violations may lead to exclusion from APS meetings.


Members of the American Physical Society (APS) support its mission, which is to “advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics for the benefit of humanity, promote physics, and serve the broader physics community” by providing “a welcoming and supportive professional home for an active, engaged, and diverse membership.”

Fellows of the APS “may have made advances in physics through original research and publication, or made significant innovative contributions in the application of physics to science and technology. They may also have made significant contributions to the teaching of physics or service and participation in the activities of the Society.”

The APS grants Prizes, Awards, and Dissertation Awards for outstanding leadership or achievement in various fields of physics.

The APS has a variety of elected officers in official positions, as described on the Society Governance page.

In the rare cases where a member or awardee of the APS does not meet expectations of ethical behavior, the following guidelines describe procedures to request revocation of awards and prizes, removal from official positions, revocation of APS membership, or exclusion from one or more APS meetings.


“Revocation” will refer to any of the following: revocation of prizes, awards, APS fellowship, APS membership, removal from official positions, or exclusion from one or more APS meeting sessions or meetings.

“Respondent” will refer to an APS member or individual holding an APS honor accused of a breach of professional ethics.

“Official leadership position” refers both to society-wide offices, and also official leadership positions within units and appointed committees.


APS will, in its sole discretion, consider revocation in cases of proven scientific misconduct or serious breaches of professional ethics. All revocation requests will be handled in accordance with the procedures provided herein.

Breaches of professional ethics might include fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, sexual misconduct, racial discrimination, misuse of public funds, or other ethical violations. Sexual harassment or retaliation against someone for declining, objecting to, or reporting harassment or other sexual conduct may constitute a serious breach of professional ethics. This policy covers professional activities wherever they take place. This includes, but is not limited to, academic buildings, laboratories, field sites, research stations, field course venues, professional meetings, or any such professional settings. This policy includes interactions with persons such as, but not limited to, colleagues, subordinates, students, teaching or research assistants or others with whom the Respondent interacts as part of their professional activities.

A request for revocation must include an investigative report that documents findings, sanctions, or actions taken from an independent organization or agency, an organization affiliated with APS, or APS itself. Alternatively, a public announcement of the information in a report, or actions that have been taken, may be submitted. Media reports alone may not be sufficient to support a revocation request. APS will only consider requests for revocation filed within ten years of publication of the report or announcement of the finding, sanction, or action, and will not consider requests when the member is deceased.

Proviso: The ten-year time limit for submitting revocation requests will be waived until December 31, 2022.

Proviso: The Ethics Committee will report on actions taken under this policy at each Council meeting.

Proviso: The Ethics Committee will review this policy and bring forward to the Council not more than two years after the policy is in effect any proposed changes to this policy.

Procedures for Initiating a Revocation Request

  1. A request for revocation should be made in writing to the Ethics Committee of the APS. Requests may be sent to: In all steps of these Procedures, the identity of the requestor will generally not be revealed by the Ethics Committee except as may be required by a court of competent jurisdiction or as otherwise required to comply with APS’s legal obligations.
  2. A request must include an investigative report and/or public announcement of findings or actions taken (or links thereto) from a credible body such as the Federal government’s Office of Research Integrity, other Federal or state agencies (e.g., NSF, NIH), a professional organization including international organizations, an academic institution, a court of law, or admission(s) of conduct by the Respondent. Requests for revocation must include detailed information about the sources used, in order to enable verification of information. In addition, the individual making the request must agree in writing to maintain the confidentiality of the matter until its conclusion at APS.
  3. APS Ethics Committee staff will conduct a preliminary review to determine if the request is substantive, has adequate documentation, and complies with these Procedures. As a result of this review, either these Procedures will continue, or the request will be dismissed. In either case, the Ethics Committee will provide a report to the APS Board of Directors.
  4. During revocation procedures, deliberations on claims will be based on the evidence provided. Investigations by the APS of complaints or charges beyond information presented in the request or otherwise available publicly (such as publications or court records) will not occur as part of revocation procedures.
  5. Based on the submitted documents, the APS Board of Directors will decide whether to proceed with revocation procedures or to dismiss the request. If the Board proceeds, it will appoint a Revocation Panel of four current Board, Council, or Ethics Committee members to rule on the request. The Revocation Panel will remain active until a determination has been made on the request. This work may continue past the end of a Board, Council, or Ethics Committee member’s term.
  6. If the Board decides to proceed, the Respondent will be notified of the request for revocation in writing and in confidence. The Respondent will be offered the option to accept the result of the revocation procedure voluntarily and without further investigation. The Board will also define a timeline for the process. The Respondent will be given notice of the request, with the supporting documentation and the names of all Board and Ethics Committee members. The Respondent will be invited to respond in writing to the request, and if desired, to make an oral presentation to the Revocation Panel which will ordinarily occur via telephone conference. Such conference will not include any representatives of the Respondent and will be limited in time and scope per the direction of the Revocation Panel.
  7. After the deadline for responses has passed, the Revocation Panel will consider the original request, any responses, including the oral presentation/conference with the Respondent, if any, and may also consider any other pertinent information of public or official record. The Revocation Panel will discuss and vote on a motion of revocation. An affirmative vote of three of the four on the Revocation Panel is required for this motion to pass. After the decision is made, the Revocation Panel will provide a summary report to the Board and Chair of the Ethics Committee. The report will indicate if the motion passed or not, but neither the vote tally nor the decisions of individual members of the Revocation Panel will be included.
  8. APS Executive Office staff will share this report with the Respondent. The Respondent can appeal the decision to the Board, and the Board can respond by constituting a new Revocation Panel. The final decision on Revocation is made by the Board.
  9. APS Executive Office staff will share a report and final decision with the APS Council, the individual who submitted the request, and the Respondent.
  10. If the APS Executive Office staff determine that there should be an announcement or publication, the background factors or bases for the revocation may be included in the announcement.
  11. Reinstatement: After a Respondent’s status has been revoked or a Respondent has resigned under the procedures of this Policy, should significant, material new evidence come to light that would call into question the revocation decision, a Respondent may request reinstatement. The process and procedure for reinstatement will be substantively equivalent to the revocation procedure.

These procedures draw on the Fellows Revocation Process of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and on the ethics policies of the American Geophysical Union.