H-Net Executive Council Policies
Article I: Policies Relating to the Officers and Executive Council
Section 1.01. Consultation with networks. In determining policy for the networks, the Executive Council shall take into consideration the inevitable differences in constituency and mission among the various lists. This task will necessarily involve consulting with the editors and advisory boards of each Network and, where necessary, with the scholarly and/or professional organizations which have affiliated with that Network. Every effort shall be made to make decisions that are consistent with acknowledged disciplinary contours and scholarly procedures of said subject areas consistent with H-Net's mission and the impact of decisions on all networks and their audiences.
Section 1.02. Executive Council Agenda. A brief report on the activities of the Executive Council for the previous two weeks shall be posted on HNET-Staff on the first and third Monday of the month, excepting holiday periods. This shall occur even if the Executive Council conducted no business in the intervening period.
Section 1.03. Filling Unexpired Terms of Executive Council Members. If a vacancy on the Executive Council (including among the Vice Presidents and the HNET-Staff Editor) occurs before October 1, the first runner-up in the most recent Executive Council election shall be seated for the interval between the time of the vacancy and January 1. If there are unexpired terms as of January 1, those terms shall be filled as follows: the longest unexpired term shall go to the candidate who was not elected to a full three-year term but who received the next largest number of votes; the next longest term shall go to the candidate with the next largest number of votes. If there are no runners up or none willing to serve, Executive Council may appoint a suitable candidate to the vacant Executive Council seat. The temporary appointment will expire on the January 1 following the appointment, and the appointed candidate may run for election to Executive Council for a new term if they wish.
Section 1.04. Failure to Adequately Perform Duties. Any elected officer or elected or appointed Executive Council member who fails to adequately perform their duties due to prolonged incapacity, inaction, or malfeasance may be removed from office and barred from seeking further H-Net office. Removal may be initiated by any two officers or Executive Council members who believe an officer or Executive Council member is not performing adequately. Showings of cause for removal may be made by any officer or Executive Council member. After the officer or Executive Council member in question has been given the opportunity to rebut showings of cause for removal, a vote shall be taken of the full Executive Council (including officers). A vote of at least three-quarters of the total number of officers and Executive Council members, not including the officer or Executive Council member subject to removal, who shall not vote, is required for removal. Once an officer or Executive Council member is removed, a separate vote shall be held on the question of barring them from seeking office in the future and if so, for how long the bar shall remain in effect. A vote of at least three-quarters of the total number of officers and Executive Council members is required for barring.
Section 1.05. Resignations from Office. Resignations must be made to the appointing body, which is the Executive Council for appointed officers, and the editors via HNET-Staff for elected officers. Any appointed officer who wishes to resign their office must communicate that intent in writing to the President and Executive Council. The President will announce the resignation to HNET-Staff. Any elected officer who wishes to resign must also communicate that intent to the President, but their resignation shall not be effective until they have submitted a letter of resignation to HNET-Staff.
Article II: Policies Relating to the Networks
Section 2.01. Network Approvals. All H-Net networks must be approved by the Executive Council, and must supply a mission statement, editorial staff, and advisory board.
(a) Mission statements. H-Net networks must provide a mission statement that identifies the network's intended audience; its intellectual, scholarly, educational, or professional purpose; its editorial style; any special policies or circumstances that affect its operations or editorial policies.
(b) Editorial staff. H-Net networks must be edited by individuals certified by the Executive Council. Certification requires a statement of interest and intent by the candidate, and approval from the network advisory board. The statement must originate with the candidate, and be submitted along with the board's endorsement. The candidate must successfully complete official H-Net training and be so certified by the H-Net Trainer after being recommended to the Executive Council. If the candidate fails to complete successfully official H-Net training, the H-Net Trainer will report this fact to the Executive Council and the candidate's certification will be withdrawn.
(c) Advisory board. H-Net networks must have an advisory board of at least six active members, including the editorial staff, all of whom should be field experts. Advisory boards should devise and publish guidelines for the replacement of inactive members. Advisory board members must be certified by the Executive Council. Certification requires a statement of interest and intent by the candidate, and approval from other members of the network advisory board in the case of established networks. The statement must originate with the candidate, and be submitted along with the board's endorsement.
Section 2.02. Dispute resolution. H-Net's procedure for resolving disputes about editorial decisions involves a professional review of the issues by the network's editors, with appeals sequentially permitted to the advisory board, the Vice President for Networks (for matters related to general network content) or the Vice President for Research and Publications (for matters related to H-Net reviews or other publications), the President, and at the President's discretion, the Executive Council.
(a) Overview. Academic debate and discourse inevitably, and usually constructively, invite controversy. H-Net considers submissions to its networks and web site to be a form of publication. The editors of H-Net's lists normally apply common, if evolving, professional standards in judging the value of content for publication. All list welcome messages will indicate any departure or special application of these standards to the list's mission. Those standards entail the balancing of intellectual freedom with the need for civility and restraint. H-Net and its editors reserve the right to edit and refuse to publish incoming messages, essays, or other documents for clarity, civility, accuracy, or adherence to commonly-accepted standards of professional scholarship. No such material will be published in altered form (except for cosmetic changes necessary to prepare it for publication) without the owner's consent. Material that in the judgment of the editors harasses, defames, slanders, or libels others, or that abuses intellectual property rights, is subject to rejection or revision to remove the offending passages.
(b) General principles. Authors of submissions to H-Net networks deserve a fair, reasonable, careful reading and assessment of the material they provide. Authors acknowledge responsibility for the content of their submissions. Editors acknowledge responsibility for exercising proper, professional, and reasonable judgment about the content of material published on their lists or web sites. Editors deserve fair treatment from subscribers, who may not harass, intimidate, or abuse editors. Harassment of editors can result in termination of the author's subscription, denial of privileges on H-Net's servers, and any further legal and professional remedies that the editors, board, and H-Net consider appropriate to the offense.
(c) H-Net considers all correspondence between editors, advisory board members, subscribers, and officers to be of a confidential and business nature. Correspondents may not publicize or disclose the contents of these communications without the permission of the authors, except when consulting with authorized legal representatives. Specific allegations of legal or professional misconduct should be addressed as a confidential communication directly to the Vice President for Networks (for matters related to general network content) or the Vice President for Research and Publications (for matters related to H-Net reviews or other publications). Communications of this nature must refer to specific instances and indicate the remedy desired. The Vice President for Networks or the Vice President for Research and Publications will consider the matter and consult with affected editors, other parties involved, network advisory boards, and, where necessary, H-Net's Editorial Affairs or Publications Committees. The objective of these consultations will be to discover the facts, consider possible remedies, and implement solutions acceptable to affected editors, editorial advisors and members of the Editorial Affairs or Publications Committees.
(d) General complaints or comments about editorial policy or practice should be first addressed to the network editors, in a signed email sent to the network address. H-Net expects that the vast majority of such issues can be effectively resolved through direct communication among the parties involved. Editors are encouraged to consult with each other and the network advisory board, and must notify the author of the complaint of any decision thus arrived at.
(e) The author of a complaint may request a review of editorial decisions by the network advisory board. In such cases, the editors may explain their position to the board, but must recuse themselves from voting, if the matter comes to a vote.
(f) If any issues remain unresolved, then editors, the board, and/or the originator of the complaint may refer the matter to the Vice President for Networks (for matters related to general network content) or the Vice President for Research and Publications (for matters related to H-Net reviews or other publications), who will follow the procedure further outlined in this article.
(g) At his or her discretion the Vice President for Networks (for matters related to general network content) or the Vice President for Research and Publications (for matters related to H-Net reviews or other publications) will attempt to resolve the complaint, in consultation with the parties, the Editorial Affairs or Publications Committees, and H-Net officers as necessary.
(h) A decision by the Vice President for Networks or the Vice President for Research and Publications may be appealed to the President of H-Net, who may, at his or her discretion, submit the appeal to the Executive Council.
(i) In cases considered by the Executive Council, the Vice President for Networks or the Vice President for Research and Publications will disclose all pertinent correspondence, indicate the decision arrived at, and serve simply as facilitator. The Vice President for Networks or the Vice President for Research and Publications (as appropriate) will not vote on the appeal, but will apply whatever decision the Executive Council arrives at.
(j) H-Net reserves the right to seek qualified legal advice in all cases whatsoever.
Section 2.03. Editorial Guidelines for H-Net Networks. The following policies are based upon the developing practices and conventions of H-Net networks. Individual advisory boards should establish their own guidelines and policies consistent with the ones published here, and in cases of conflicting regulations, the H-Net policies as interpreted by the Executive Council shall apply.
(a) Policies governing the management of subscriptions and list logs are intended to protect the privacy of subscribers and the integrity of online communities fostered through H-Net lists and web.
(b) General Principles
(i) H-Net is a nonprofit consortium of scholars and teachers who use networked communications to advance education, service, and teaching in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
(ii) H-Net believes that vigorous, open, and constructive academic debate and content via its networks are best promoted by professional peer-review through teams of editors and advisory boards in consultation with subscribers and users of H-Net. Gatekeeping is vital to maintaining the impartiality, integrity, reliability, accountability, and quality of the services and content we provide.
(iii) H-Net supports fair access to and fair use of digital materials, and seeks to balance the rights of intellectual property holders with the informational and instructional needs of students, scholars, libraries, and the informed public.
(iv) H-Net believes in nondiscrimination in its services, goods, facilities, and employment opportunities--paid and unpaid--on the basis of creed, race, ancestry, color, ethnic origin, citizenship, sexual orientation, place of origin, gender and gender identity, age, marital status, family status, receipt of public assistance, or religion.
(v) H-Net supports the vital and legitimate interests of professional and learned societies and publications.
(vi) H-Net supports classroom instructors through the provision of useful teaching materials and communications networks.
(vii) H-Net believes in democratic decision-making and editorial independence in the management and operation of its services, lists, and web site.
(viii) H-Net believes in responsible citizenship on the Internet, and will promote practical efforts to conserve resources, protect the integrity of data, expand access, preserve accountability, and extend cooperation to fellow Internet-based organizations and services.
(c) Unless specifically exempted by the Executive Council, all networks must be edited by individuals certified in advance by the Executive Council. Editors may not designate a replacement who has not been certified by the Executive Council and the network's advisory board. In cases of extreme emergency, temporary editors may be appointed with the approval of the executive director or his or her designee. In such cases, the temporary editor must announce his or her role and duties to the list at the first opportunity, and identify him- or herself as the temporary editor in the mail header of network-related correspondence.
(d) The welcome and informational files of each H-Net list must contain a statement of the network's mission, intended audience, editorial style, and subscription management practices. It must also contain or link to reliable contact information for the network's editors, its advisory board, and H-Net's offices. Networks may include other information, including links, membership details, and material about sponsoring organizations. Welcome messages must also contain or link to H-Net's official copyright policy.
(e) H-Net Lists may not go unattended for more than five consecutive days without approval by the executive director or his or her designee. Editors must notify the list of any anticipated absences or lapses in coverage of greater than five days.
(f) All postings to an H-Net list must include the following information, either in the mail header or in the body of the message:
(i) the name or signature of the author; H-Net's edited networks do not publish anonymous material. Messages to our discussion forums must be signed with the author's name and applicable contact information.
(ii) the name of the current list editor who forwarded the message to the list;
(iii) the date the message was received or posted to the list;
(iv) a subject line;
(v) the name of the list;
(vi) where the message was forwarded from, if applicable.
(g) Editors reserve the right to:
(i) edit messages for clarity, ease of transmission, and concision;
(ii) request revision of or decline to publish material that in their judgment is defamatory, non-germane to the list's mission or the current discussion thread, engages in ad hominem attacks on the reputations or character of others ('flames,' in Internet parlance);
(iii) to regulate the pace and quantity of postings by assembling digests of posts, holding posts for later delivery, or assigning features and posts to other editors.
(h) Editors will not alter the meaning of a message without consulting the author.
(i) Due to the high incidence of viruses on the Internet, editors should not send mail attachments or files to their lists. H-Net's technical staff can provide protected sites for such materials.
(j) Advertisements of for-profit activities are not permitted on H-Net lists and web pages without the permission of the Executive Council. Exceptions are short descriptions of new products, software, books, or other materials that are, in the judgment of the editors, of interest to subscribers. Reliable contact information should be provided and commercial hype deleted. Editors should be wary of endorsing any product or service. Advertisements of rental apartments or housing for traveling or visiting scholars may be posted if they are edited for concision and are covered by suitable posting policies established by the network advisory board.
(k) Advisory boards must establish policies covering the posting of electronic petitions or electioneering for positions in a professional or political office, subject to review by the Executive Council. In general, material that is part of a recognized election procedure endorsed by a scholarly organization affiliated with the network, or that is pertinent to or directly supports the network's mission as advocate for a particular organization or interest, is acceptable so long as its distribution does not compromise the editorial independence or impartiality of the editor. Editors have the option to post short notices of petition efforts germane to the profession or the network's mission and which point to a non-H-Net site or resource for further information and action. They may not use H-Net networks to gather signatures or campaign in such a manner as to undermine the editors' impartiality.
(l) Editors should avoid sending out virus alerts unless the alert is already endorsed or disseminated by either H-Net's technical staff or a recognized virus research or verification site.
(m) All help-wanted or job advertisements for professional positions and subject areas already covered by the H-Net Job Guide must first be distributed only through the H-Net Job Guide. Waivers of the posting fee can be made by staff on a case-by-case basis, according to need or as the council may direct.
(n) H-Net networks should not distribute surveys for market or scholarly research without advance approval of the Executive Council and the affected network advisory board, unless the material is the actual subject of discussion and is not actually a survey of the subscribers. Networks may post announcements of surveys conducted outside of H-Net.
(o) Editors may not redistribute messages originating from internal H-Net communications networks, including HNET-STAFF, HNET-EDITOR, HNET-COUNCIL, planning lists, advisory board lists, or organizational lists designated as confidential, without the approval of the editor of the originating list, the author of the original message, and where appropriate, the Executive Council. The exception is messages on H-Announce that are not clearly designated as "for editors only" or "not for public posting."
(p) Editors may not redistribute personal or private correspondence without the clear permission of the author of the correspondence; messages that refer to off-list conversations or opinions should be screened carefully. Editors assume proportionate responsibility for the consequences of forwarding such messages to a list.
Section 2.04. Subscription Management Policies
(a) H-Net owns the subscription lists and logs for all H-Net networks. For technical, privacy, and professional reasons, the integrity of the subscription list and logs must be guarded carefully.
(b) Access to the subscriber list: direct access to the subscription list is limited to current list owners. Editors may not share the list's subscription list with unauthorized individuals; only editors, H-Net staff and officers, and network board members may view the subscription list. In all other cases the editors must obtain permission from the Vice-President for Networks or the Executive Director to share the subscription list or membership information beyond what is already available in the member's H-Net profile. Under no circumstances shall editors post the entire subscription list to their list or web site.
(c) Networks may establish their own qualifications for subscription. In no case may subscription be denied on the basis of creed, race, ancestry, color, ethnic origin, citizenship, sexual orientation, place of origin, gender and gender identity, age, marital status, family status, receipt of public assistance, or religion. Editors must inform applicants of the reasons for denial of a subscription.
(d) Subscription qualifications must be written into the network's welcome, informational, and survey messages and clearly stated on its web page.
(e) For technical and practical reasons, all networks that do not screen subscriptions by survey must set subscriptions to include the "confirm" qualifier, in order to force verification of subscribers' addresses before a subscription is accepted.
(f) Mass deletions of groups of subscribers, or of an entire list, may not be performed without the approval of the executive director or his or her designee.
(g) List and web-displayed discussion logs may not be altered or expunged without consulting the network advisory board and the approval of the executive director or his/her designee, and/or the Executive Council.
Section 2.05 Implementation. Network advisory boards may establish basic procedures for implementing these guidelines, subject to review by the Executive Council.
Section 2.06 Decommissioning Lists. It is expected that lists will be able to maintain a regular schedule of postings and that list members will actively contribute to the community. However, lists may go silent for extended periods of time or may cease to serve the purposes for which they were created, and so may need to be decommissioned. The decommissioning process can occur at the request of the Advisory Board and editors of a particular list, or at the recommendation of the Editorials Affairs Committee and the Vice President for Networks. In either case, the Vice President for Networks and the Editorial Affairs Committee are charged with determining if the list can be revived, either with new editors or with a reframed mission. If that attempt is deemed impossible, or if it is unsuccessful, the Vice President for Networks shall move in Executive Council for the list to be decommissioned, providing a written rationale for this request. A majority vote of Executive Council is sufficient to decommission any list. If the vote is successful it will be the responsibility of the Vice President for Networks to make an announcement to the list address or its equivalent, provide for the archiving of the list's logs, and to put up a placeholder announcement at the list's web address.
Article III: Policies on Copyright and Intellectual Property
Section 3.01. H-Net is a nonprofit communications service intended to advance the teaching, research, and service of scholars, educators, and students. Preserving copyright rights is a collective responsibility: H-Net users and editors must respect the intellectual property of others. Consistent with the objective of encouraging creativity in scholarship and education, editors and users are encouraged to transmit copyrighted works to or through H-Net, with the express permission of the copyright holder or in accordance with the fair use provisions of copyright law. H-Net considers posting to H-Net lists or Web, as contrasted with private e-mail correspondence, to be a form of publication.
Section 3.02. Unless otherwise indicated, reviews commissioned by H-Net and published under its imprint are subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Section 3.03. Reviews not covered by the Creative Commons license will be so labeled. Reviews copyrighted by H-Net may be redistributed and reprinted for nonprofit, educational purposes, with full and accurate attribution to the author, location, date of publication, and H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online. For any other proposed use, permission from the Vice President for Research and Publications is required.
Section 3.05. Senders of messages must obtain permission to reproduce copyrighted work beyond the scope of "fair use." Editors must make a good-faith effort to confirm that material whose origin or content appears to be entirely derivative or nontransformative and which exceeds fair use does not violate copyright in the original.
Section 3.06. Given the legal uncertainty surrounding "fair use" in the digital environment, editors and advisory boards are encouraged to place any reproductions as fully as possible within the educational, nonprofit, and transformative context of their list or web site. This could include, but is not limited to, extended quotation of the work; prefatory comments or questions that frame the work within an existing thread that prompt new discussions, or that point to new directions in research; summaries of the work, reinforced by quotations or excerpts and references to the original source.
Section 3.07. All reproductions of works in part or whole should be clearly identified.
Section 3.08. Disputes over posting of copyrighted materials shall follow the same procedures as outlined in the section of this bylaw pertaining to disputes over editorial decisions.
Section 3.08. The Vice President for Networks will serve as facilitator in the appeals process.
Article IV: Policies on Membership
Section 4.01. Free memberships. Persons or organizations in this classification receive memberships without cost to them.
(a) General members: Members of this classification include persons who subscribe to H-Net lists, use H-Net services, and who otherwise wish to register with H-Net as a member. Subscribers can be members of H-Net but they are not voting members unless specifically certified as such by the Executive Council.
(b) Voting Members: Eligible persons are voting members, entitling them to vote and to seek election or appointment to H-Net leadership positions, if they have been designated by the Executive Council as voting members, maintain active subscriptions to HNET-STAFF, and continue to fulfill all conditions of voting membership as determined by the Executive Council.
(c) Partner members: Members of this classification are organizations that wish to endorse a network. Eligible organizations include registered or chartered nonprofits, corporations, educational institutions or units thereof, learned, scholarly, or professional associations. Endorsement shall occur upon written agreement between the organization and H-Net and after consultation with the affected network advisory board. Networks may propose partner agreements to the Executive Council. Unless provided for by the written agreement, endorsement shall not in any way affect the governance, editorial policy, staffing, or content of the endorsed network. Partner members may be acknowledged at the network web site and in its informational literature. The term of each partner membership shall automatically renew each year unless otherwise provided for by the agreement.
Section 4.02. Donor Members: Donor Members receive membership in H-Net upon giving to H-Net according to the criteria established in the following categories.
(a) H-Net Associate: Individual donors who give to H-Net in any of the individual donation categories established by the Executive Council become Associate Members of H-Net and receive member benefits as provided for by action of the Executive Council.
(b) Institutional members: Registered or chartered corporations, nonprofits, educational institutions, learned societies, or other organizations who donate to H-Net as institutions, do not choose to be Affiliate members, or are not in another member category become institutional members of H-Net. Institutional members can work through partnerships with H-Net to sponsor special H-Net services or activities, develop new resources for the partnership, or pursue joint projects. H-Net may create levels of benefits and partnerships within the category of memberships. Institutional members may be eligible for benefits and services as established by action of the Executive Council.
(c) Affiliate members. Organizations that donate to H-Net and wish to sponsor a particular network or networks may join H-Net as Affiliate Members. Affiliation shall occur upon a written agreement between the organization and H-Net that details the benefits, services, and shared responsibilities of the affiliation. Depending upon the level of donation, Affiliates are eligible for member benefits as provided for by action of the Executive Council and indicated in the written agreement.
Section 4.03. Term of membership: the Executive Council shall establish the length of term for each type of membership. If none is specified by written agreement or the H-Net policies, membership in all donor categories shall be for one year from the date that membership was approved by H-Net.
Section 4.04. H-Net will require only so much contact or personal information from members as is necessary to identify and affirm their status as members, to include but not be limited to name, occupation or professional status, email address, business address and phone number. H-Net will not sell, transfer, or share membership contact information without the consent of the affected members.
Section 4.05. The purpose of memberships in H-Net is to further the organization's nonprofit, educational, and scholarly mission. No organization, in the pursuance of its membership activities, shall carry on any political propaganda or campaigns for or against any candidate for public office.
(a) The management of H-Net's content, services, and resources is subject to policies determined by the H-Net Council as administered by the organization's officers in compliance with H-Net's bylaws, published policies, and Articles of Incorporation.
(b) H-Net considers any posting to its discussion forums or website to be a form of publication. "Publication" means the public display or distribution of content through whatever medium H-Net owns, controls, or licenses, at H-Net's sole discretion. Subscribers should not submit a message, document, or image to an H-Net list that contains material the subscriber does not, or in the future would not, want publicly available, unless the subscriber clearly indicates to the list editor in writing before publication what portions are not to be published.
(c) H-Net's edited networks do not publish anonymous material. Messages to our discussion forums must be signed with the author's name and applicable contact information.
(e) The publication of content by H-Net does not alter the rights of the copyright holder, unless specific agreement has been made with H-Net.
(f) Submitting material to us for publication perpetually licenses H-Net to distribute and permanently archive that material for nonprofit, educational or scholarly purposes through whatever media it owns, controls or licenses. Any further use of such material beyond H-Net requires the permission of the copyright holder, subject to the statutory exclusions defined by fair use, including quoting, citing, or excerpting for nonprofit, educational or scholarly purposes with proper attribution to the author and H-Net. It is the responsibility of the copyright holder to preserve and enforce the copyrights.
(g) H-Net exclusively owns its discussion logs, the web displays of the discussion logs, the names of its networks, its subscription lists, and reviews commissioned by H-Net that are not otherwise licensed.
(h) H-Net considers the logs or records of its discussion forums, (or web displays of those records), to be a permanent archive to be maintained perpetually for use by scholars and the public. Although requests for removal or retroactive editing of material from this archive will be considered by H-Net, only material that presents a clear and present danger to an individual, that is legally libelous or defamatory as determined by H-Net or competent legal authority, or that is a violation of applicable copyright, can be removed, edited, or otherwise altered once it has been posted or published, at H-Net's sole discretion.
(i) Individuals may not use H-Net's media or the content we publish to harass, intimidate, spam, or otherwise abuse members or nonmembers. H-Net reserves the right to prosecute individuals who misuse its servers or services.
(j) H-Net's editors and officers will make a good faith effort to publish content that is consistent with our nonprofit, educational mission, and will not alter submissions without the consent of their authors (beyond reformatting and cosmetic changes to prepare for publication), but H-Net assumes no liability for the specific content of material to which it does not own copyright. Authors assume liability for the content of their messages and postings.
Article VI: Policies Ratification and Amendment of the Policies:
Section 6.01. To take effect this document must be ratified by a simple majority of the Executive Council.
Section 6.02. These Policies may be amended or replaced by Executive Council.
Section 6.03. Amendments to the Policies may be proposed by any member of the Executive Council. Once proposed, they shall be posted to HNET-STAFF and comments invited. A proposed amendment to the Policies shall be voted on two weeks following its initial proposal, provided that it has been posted to HNET-STAFF and that one week has elapsed since the posting to HNET-STAFF. Amendment of the Policies shall require the affirmative vote of ten members of the Executive Council.