Currently, there exists no international code or guidelines on ethical conduct for higher education institutions that articulates how, as institutions, they promote academic and scientific integrity and prevent academic dishonesty and unethical behaviour by actors and stakeholders that form the academic community.

During the IAU International Conference entitled “Ethics and Values in Higher Education in the Era of Globalization: What Role for the Disciplines?”, held at Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania, in November 2010, it was agreed that, together with the Magna Charta Observatory (MCO), IAU would examine the feasibility of developing an international code or set of guidelines concerned with ethical conduct of and in higher education.

The Joint IAU-MCO Working Group on Ethics in Higher Education was set up, consisting of representatives from IAU Member Institutions as well as the MCO. The first meeting was held during the Fourth Global Meeting of Associations (GMA IV) held in New Delhi, India on 13 April 2011 where it was decided to work on a set of guidelines for institutions wishing to put in place their own code of ethics.

During the second meeting, held on 3 October 2011 at the Council of Europe offices in Paris, France, the first draft was debated and elaborated, before being sent for wider consultation.

The final meeting of the drafting phase was hosted by Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey, 17-18 May 2012 where the final draft of the Guidelines was put forward, and which can now be viewed here.