Australian Museum Eureka Prizes Conflict of Interest Policy
The integrity of the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes requires that all effort is made to deal with conflicts of interest in the prize judging process - the more so because the judging process is a confidential one and the decision of judges is final.
Judging panels consist of individuals with a profile, experience and knowledge relevant to the nature of the individual prize - including, in some cases, one representative of the sponsoring body. Given this, it is unrealistic to expect that an individual judge may not at some time know, or know of, an entrant in the prize they are judging, or have some relationship with them or their work.
The goal of the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes Conflict of Interest policy is to identify conflicts of interest that would make it difficult for judges to reach an unbiased decision or would result in a perception of bias in the judging process, and what actions are required if this is deemed the case.
A conflict of interest is defined to be a situation in which a person has a private, personal or professional interest sufficient to influence the objective exercise of his or her duties. This includes any relationship with an entrant (individual or organisation) that would prevent a judge from offering an unbiased evaluation or reaching an unbiased decision on the merits of the entry.
Each judge has an obligation to disclose to the judging panel at the commencement of the judging process any conflict of interest or relationship that may lead to a perception of a conflict of interest. Disclosure is designed to alert the judging panel to a conflict or potential conflict of interest, and to allow it to discuss and evaluate the potential conflict and decide whether or not it is of a nature to interfere with the judging process. Panels are required to keep records of such disclosures.
Where a judge discloses and the panel agrees that a conflict of interest does exist, the judge concerned will be required to withdraw from ranking and discussing the entry(s) any further.
A judge for whom a conflict is deemed to exist for a particular entry(s) may, however, participate in the discussion of other entries so long as the discussion is not focused on the merits of an entry relative to the entry where the conflict exists.
Regarding ranking the entry(s) with the conflict of entry, to ensure an entrant is not disadvantaged because of a judge's conflict, the mean of the other judge's rankings would be added to the overall ranking of this entrant(s).
Regarding judging deliberations of the entry(s) with the conflict, the judge who is deemed to have the conflict of interest must remove themselves completely from any discussions of the entry(s) that they have a conflict with.
Where no disclosure has been made by a judge, but another judge raises a question or concern regarding a judge's possible conflict of interest, the judge with the possible conflict of interest will withdraw from discussion of the entry(s) unless the question or concern raised is resolved to the satisfaction of the judging panel.
Should the entry causing a judge to withdraw from discussion emerge as a potential prize finalist, that judge must remove themselves from any discussion leading to a consensus decision. A judge for whom a conflict of interest is deemed to exist would not be able to participate in the relevant voting process.