Council Minutes
October 4-6, 1996

Council Participants: Suzanne Bianchi, Kenneth Bollen, John Garcia, Norval Glenn, Ann Gray, Charles Hirschman, Kent Jennings, Margaret Levi, Ross Matsueda, Warren Miller, Edward Nelson, Samuel Patterson (ex-officio), Carole Shammas (Chair), Elizabeth Stephenson, Wendy Watkins, Halliman Winsborough

Council not able to attend: Heinz Eulau

ICPSR Staff participants: Chris Dunn, Cindy Folsom, Nancy Fultz, Peter Granda, John Gray, Hank Heitowit, Michelle Humphres, Peter Joftis, Mary Morris, Richard Rockwell, Pamela Schwarzmann, Mary Vardigan, Janet Vavra

Staff not able to attend: Erik Austin

Guest: Denise Lievesley, Essex Data Archive, representing the European national members

Institute for Social Research participants: David Featherman (Director, Institute for Social Research); Peggy Norgren (Assistant Director, Institute for Social Research)

Center for Political Studies participants: William Zimmerman (Center Director); E. Karen Clark (Center Administrative Manager)


Council Opening Session

Council Chair Carole Shammas opened the meeting by welcoming new Council members Suzanne Bianchi, University of Maryland (replacing Michael McPherson), and Ross Matsueda, University of Iowa, as well as Denise Lievesley of the Essex Data Archive, representing the European national members.

Approval of Minutes of Previous Council Meeting--June 27, 1996, Telephone Conference Call

Karen Clark, Administrative Manager of the U-M Center for Political Studies (CPS), noted that she and CPS Director Bill Zimmerman had been in attendance for the conference call. Samuel Patterson moved that the June 1996 minutes be approved. Wendy Watkins seconded the motion. The minutes passed as amended unanimously. Minutes of the Executive Session were also approved.

General Session

  1. The Executive Director requested assistance from Council regarding which activities ICPSR will continue to support and how equity can be rebuilt under the current financial constraints. A document listing areas and services that could be delayed or discontinued was reviewed. This proposal included what would be; accomplished in place of activities and services that were affected. Council was asked to review the document thoroughly and give some thought to where ICPSR should target savings.

  2. The Executive Director, ICPSR Council Chair, and Director of CPS were asked to explore the changes in the budget system and the programmatic relationship between ICPSR and CPS. It was also requested that they have a conversation with the Director of ISR to explore the implications of ICPSR''s reporting directly to the Institute.

  3. Council requested a report defining the nomination and election procedures for Council members. The procedures follow below:


The procedures for the nomination and election of Council members presented below reflect views expressed and agreed to by the Official Representatives and include a time schedule for nominations and elections.

  1. The Chairperson of the Council submits the names of the potential Nominating Committee members to the Council by the end of the fall/winter Council meeting prior to the election year. The Nominating Committee will be composed of the Chairperson of the Council, the outgoing members of the Council, and two individuals who are not members of the Council but affiliated with member institutions.

  2. Council will approve the Nominating Committee by the end of the fall/winter Council meeting prior to the election year.

Nominating Procedures

  1. The Nominating Committee will be advised by the Council, in consultation with the ICPSR staff, of the representative needs the new Council members should fill:

    1. Disciplines

    2. Substantive interests

    3. Geographic regions

    4. Types of member institutions

  2. The Nominating Committee will query the Official Representatives and Council members for nominations during the month of December before the election. The ICPSR administrative staff will query the Official Representatives for the Nominating Committee. Suggestions for nominees should be submitted to the Chairperson of the Nominating Committee with a statement of recommendation and a biographical sketch for each nominee. Members of the ICPSR staff are not precluded from suggesting nominees.

  3. The Nominating Committee will prepare a list of potential nominees. The Nominating Committee will also propose the name of an individual to serve as Chairperson of the Council at this time. The Chairperson will ordinarily be selected from among the members of the Council who have served two years of their term and will, in turn, normally serve a two-year term as Chairperson.

  4. By the spring/summer Council meeting of the election year, the Nominating Committee will have reduced the number of potential nominees to fill the six available Council positions. A list of alternate nominees will be prepared in the event that some of the nominees decline to run for election.

  5. The list of nominees will be presented to the Council and to the Executive Director of ICPSR at the spring/summer Council meeting. While these individuals will have an opportunity, individually or collectively, to express reservation, the Nominating Committee will not be obligated to recede from its nominations.

    The nominees will be contacted to determine their willingness to run for election and serve on the Council. The duties of a Council member will be conveyed to the nominees.

  6. The list of nominees, with the biographical sketches, will be mailed to the Official Representatives prior to the Meeting of Official Representatives.

  7. Additional nominations may be added to the ballot by submission of a petition signed by 20 or more Official Representatives. Such petitions must be submitted to the Chairperson of the Council by noon on the last day of the Biennial Meeting and should include in addition to the name of the nominee: an indication that the nominee is willing to serve on the Council; a short biographical sketch of the nominee; and a designation of which nominee this nominee is to be slated against for election.

  8. The ballots will be mailed to all Official Representatives by December 1 following the Biennial Meeting and will be due before January 1. The ISR Business Office staff will act as tellers.

  9. The new Council members will be seated at the winter/spring meeting of the Council.

Report of the Long-Range Planning Committee (LRPC)

Committee Chair Charles Hirschman thanked all who assisted the committee (other members of the committee include Ken Bollen, Kent Jennings, Hank Heitowit, and Nancy Fultz) as they gathered information and prepared the report.

In its meeting in Ann Arbor, the LRPC discussed the report that was presented to the Council. The LRPC also decided to present a motion to the Council to request the Executive Director to explore the possibility of establishing ICPSR as the national data archive for electronic social science data. Using the good offices of the ISR Director, the ICPSR Executive Director should inquire if it would be possible to establish a "blue ribbon" panel under the auspices of the National Research Council to consider the role and functions of a national data archive for the social sciences.

The LRPC's report had three major objectives:

  • To clarify the budget
  • To investigate the relationship between ICPSR and CPS
  • To examine the internal structure of ICPSR Budget

Council has often found ICPSR budget reports frustrating, so the LRPC sought to translate the budget into terms that could be more easily grappled with. How indirect costs are handled is particularly difficult to understand. Indirect costs are generated through grants, and this pool of money resides with the organization until money is drawn from it. Independent charges are assessed by CPS for administrative costs and then paid out of the pool of money.

Hirschman led Council through the table attached to the LRPC's report. The total revenues for ICPSR (direct and indirect costs) are estimated at nearly $5.5 million for 1996-1997, but all of this money cannot be allocated because almost $1 million is set aside to pay administrative costs at CPS and ISR. A CPS reserve fund has been established for situations in which the money set aside is insufficient to cover the bill for administrative costs; the draw on the reserve fund varies but should balance out over the long term.

The LRPC determined that ICPSR has traditionally had enough money set aside to pay for administrative costs.

The question of whether the pool of money set aside could draw interest and how that interest would be allocated was raised. It was pointed out that this money is not actually put into an account; rather, if there is a surplus, it is decided whether to allocate an additional amount to ICPSR.

The LRPC basically views ICPSR as a solvent organization on solid financial footing.

Relationship with CPS

The LRPC endeavored to explore ways in which ICPSR and CPS worked together toward common intellectual goals. The NES CD-ROM was often cited during the committee's interviews as an example of cooperation between ICPSR and CPS, but no other evidence of intellectual linkages was apparent. It was pointed out that to form durable relationships, organizations must need something from each other and function somewhat symbiotically.

ICPSR's Internal Structure

ICPSR actually has three different facets to its operation: it is (1) a Consortium of member institutions, (2) a not-for-profit contract research firm serving federal agencies, and (3) a national laboratory for the social sciences. Should these different areas be compartmentalized in some way?

In conclusion, the LRPC issued four requests or challenges:

  1. ICPSR and CPS should strive for financial clarity in the budget picture so that budget discussions are limited and do not distract from other business at hand.

  2. A program for ICPSR and CPS interdependence should be developed.

  3. Alternatives for new arrangements for ICPSR, e.g., a revised Memorandum of Agreement, restructuring, etc., should be explored and defined.

  4. Senior staff should think about the organizational identity of ICPSR in light of the report and how to represent ICPSR to the outside world.

The LRPC requested a statement of services obtained from CPS and the cost of those services so that details of alternative arrangements could be compared. Karen Clark, Pam Schwarzmann, and Peggy Norgren are putting together a clearer report of how things work. It is unclear whether ICPSR could get a "better deal" by reporting directly to the ISR Director, so details of such a plan should be sketched out.

In terms of intellectual linkages with CPS, there has been a suggestion to identify a resident scientist for CPS with an interest in information science; this individual could work with ICPSR. Integrating the Summer Program with CPS research interests has also been mentioned.

ISR Director David Featherman spoke briefly, informing Council that ISR was nearing the end of an internal and external review process; by the end of December, a final forward-looking plan for ISR's future will be in place. The report of the LRPC will be folded in with other background documents to accompany ISR's report.

Featherman stated that ISR embraces ICPSR in the context of its own plan and will take up the challenge issued in terms of a vision for ICPSR's future. But Council must help ISR as well in defining that vision; there has to be an ongoing dialog. Dealing with finances is the easy part; the harder part is determining what we want ICPSR to be.

The point was made that when the Consortium was organized, the impetus for its activities came from exploring something new, and the separation between CPS and ICPSR was not very visible at that time. Many conferences were held, with participants whose research interests might be helped by the Archive. The conferences led to the Council advisory committees.

During the early years, Consortium staff were taking their cues from the research community. Over time, less emphasis came to be placed on serving the research community and more on serving the federal establishment because of federal funding opportunities. We need to return to being more responsive to researchers.

It was questioned whether a strong intellectual relationship between ICPSR and CPS is really necessary. Rather than spending so much time on this issue, we should perhaps concentrate more on future directions for ICPSR.

Another important question facing us is whether we want to be the national archive for the social sciences.

Summer Program Report

The Annual Report material on the Summer Program covers the 1995 Program. It is usually the case that the just concluded (1996) Program would be a major topic of discussion for the Council at its fall (October) meeting. Given that the Council agenda will be already heavily committed and that the Summer Program Advisory Committee would not meet until mid-October, the staff thought it best to postpone a detailed, in-depth discussion of the Program until the winter Council meeting. At that time the staff will present the report on the 1996 Program and the plans for the 1997 Program.

Briefly, some of the points to be summarized from the 1996 Program include: 539 individuals attended the 47 courses (workshops and lecture series) offered. This is the second highest attendance in the history of the program, exceeded only by the 545 in the 1994 Program. Participants represented 25 disciplines, from 205 institutions and 29 different nations. Fee and tuition recovery decreased modestly (by about $40,000) between 1995 and 1996. This was due in part to a decline in the number of University of Michigan graduate students electing to participate in the Program under the "-credit-" (tuition-paying) status. The decrease in revenue would have been even steeper had there not also been a modest increase in the number of participants registered under the status of Program Scholar/Auditor ("fee"-paying) status.

Archival Development

Margaret Levi, Chair of the Archival Development Committee, requested that Council participate in an exercise on the following questions:

List three major research networks in all of the social sciences. List three major areas in which ICPSR has or should have collections.

Council listed their choices and the information was forwarded to Margaret Levi.

The Archival Committee tackled a large agenda to construct policy for priorities on a constrained budget. There was tentative consensus that staff should continue emphasis on serial data, and preserve but not conserve other data unless they meet the usability standards of ICPSR. The issue of consultant networks was discussed as well as the fact that data are available elsewhere for free or on the Web and the effect this may have on ICPSR.

Three motions were brought to Council by the Archival Development Committee:

  • A subcommittee should look into the data and technology available and develop a "click-point" policy to distribute data. A policy should be in place by the March 1997 meeting.

  • A subcommittee led by Ed Nelson will construct a statement of why ICPSR should make further efforts to support undergraduate instruction.

  • It was requested that additional questions from the Archival Development Committee be included in the upcoming OR survey.

Suzanne Bianchi seconded the motions, and Council approved the motions with a unanimous vote.

Computing and User Services

The Committee reported to Council the following:

  1. The project to convert data distribution from tape to the ICPSR servers was completed in June 1996; however tape processing on MTS continued into July for a few problem files. There remain a few files that have not been made available via ftp because they did not pass the processing checks. The staff are checking these files and fixing the problems. If someone requests one of these files, the staff will provide the requested file.

  2. The Prime computer that had been the device for the original CDNet was taken out of service in September.

  3. Computing and Network Services has purchased equipment that allows for MTS processing of IBM cartridges, called "MTS-in-a-box." It consists of two Pentium processors running UNIX with an IBM370 emulator and a MTS emulator, adapters for IBM mainframe peripherals, and six IBM 3480 tape drives. This is the university-wide solution to 3480 tape processing and is currently in use in another unit on campus. This device will be used for archival and internal processing. It will allow Archival Operations to continue to use many powerful existing routines to handle 3480 tapes.

  4. Computing and Network Services has produced a Web Policy Statement. This statement was reviewed by the committee. A few changes in wording were requested, and the policy was endorsed by the committee.

  5. Regarding the distribution of data on removable media, ICPSR can furnish data on CD-ROM, diskette, various types of magnetic tape, and a few other devices, e.g., ZIP drives. Both ICPSR staff and the committee believe that customized CD-ROMs may have only a transitory attraction. The specifications for a system to automatically stage data orders for delivery on removable media should include transferability of the application for several types of removable media.

  6. Cornell University has had a proposal before ICPSR to become a mirror site and conduct some collaborative development. The committee sees advantages for ICPSR to have the Cornell mirror but is hesitant to ask ICPSR staff to spend time developing the proposal until the funding is a little more certain. The committee proposed to Council that it endorse Cornell becoming a mirror archive for ICPSR with the potential for collaborative development if ICPSR so desires. Margaret Levi seconded the motion, and Council approved with a unanimous vote.

Membership Relations Committee

The Membership Relations committee met over the two-day period October 5-6, 1996, to discuss the agenda items prepared by staff in consultation with the committee chair. There were nine items for discussion and possible action. The following report reflects the discussion, considerations, and any actions recommended by the committee for consideration of Council.

  1. Individual Subscriptions: A report was made to the committee regarding the beta-testing of individual and unit subscriptions at member institutions. A total of six institutions agreed to participate in the beta test. The results indicated that four subscriptions had been generated-two individual and two unit. Given the limited information, the committee felt that a more expanded version of the beta test ought to be initiated. There was support for this kind of service among the committee members. The committee suggested that staff use the ICPSR Website to inform prospective subscribers of this beta test and to present full information as to the costs, conditions, and benefits of this service. Staff should also use the OR network so that ORs could identify some active users as possible candidates for this service. We also recommended to staff that before placing this beta test on the Web, they should re-examine the pricing structure for both individuals and units to insure a realistic pricing structure. Once the service begins on the Web, staff needs to keep track of the inquiries and number of subscriptions so that the committee can make a better assessment of this proposed service. A specified time period would be allowed for the beta test on the Web (minimum period of three months).

    The Council decided to open subscriptions to individuals at member institutions only. The Web will be used as the an advertising tool to further the beta test.

  2. Membership Drive: A continuing interest of the committee has been ways to increase membership in the Consortium within its existing categories. The committee examined the report of the staff that identifies the "B" category institutions that are not current members, as well as the Treiman list of liberal arts colleges. The B list was derived from the Carnegie Doctoral I and II institutions of higher education. The committee endorsed a membership campaign targeting B and S institutions and restricted the effort to only those institutions on the list. As part of the recruitment strategy, the committee recommended that each Council member be polled to indicate if he/she knew of any individuals at any of the listed institutions. The Council member would send that list with the persons identified to the Executive Director within a month of this meeting. The information would include name, position, and particular connections with the individual. The proposed deadline would be November 15th. Then a "personal" letter would be drafted by Richard and staff to each person identified with reference to the Council member. Multiple letters could be sent to each B institutions depending on the response from the Council members. In the case that no one is identified, the membership letter would be sent to the director of graduate studies or the dean of research and the head of the library. An accompanying packet of materials would be prepared by staff. The packet--comprehensive yet succinct--could include a summary regarding the benefits of Consortium membership and services available, the Website address, possible CD-ROM statistical data sets, endorsements, etc. It was emphasized that the packet be complete but not inundate the receiver with informational overload. We also discussed the issue of a reentry fee for former members of ICPSR. It was suggested that some special provision be included in the membership drive that would suspend the reentry fee for a given time period if an institution joins within that time period. Once the letters and packets are mailed out, it was suggested that follow-up telephone calls be conducted to gauge reactions and interests, and to provide further encouragement.

  3. The Mellon Subsidized Memberships: This item was more of an informational one in which staff reported the current outreach efforts to encourage more historically Black colleges and universities to join the Consortium. There are funds available to subsidize about six more institutions. The committee endorsed these outreach activities and the staff's attendance at the HCBU Faculty Development conference later this month. The committee felt that adding more members in this manner is a worthwhile goal. Within this context, the committee suggested that staff think about encouraging members who join under the Mellon grant to form federations after the subsidy expires.

  4. Survey of ORs: This item represents a longstanding interest to survey the ORs regarding technological changes, the role of the OR, use of data, links between the OR and ICPSR, etc. After some discussion that reaffirmed a need to conduct a survey, John Garcia and Warren Miller agreed to work together to construct an OR questionnaire in the next month. It will be circulated among the committee members and staff. It is anticipated that the final instrument will be approved by early or mid-December. In this manner, the survey will take place at the beginning of the year. The items will include probes about the content and directions for the annual OR meeting. This information will be used in the planning of the October 1997 OR meeting.

  5. Endowment Drive: In the past, the Council has discussed the possibility of engaging in an aggressive endowment drive for specific projects within ICPSR or for the general fund. This matter was referred to the Membership Relations Committee. After some brief discussion, the committee felt that the scope of this project involves the entire Council or perhaps the Long-Range Planning Committee. The committee referred the item back to the Chair of the Council.

  6. Dues Structure: Staff presented to the committee some possible new categories of membership: community colleges and "Super A" institutions. On community colleges, the committee felt that too little information existed as to needs, interests, fee level, etc., to move in any direction. It was recommended that the ad hoc committee on federations work with staff to help fill in the gaps about the possibility of adding community colleges as a new category. The committee directed staff to explore a more extensive profile of community colleges to research this possibility further. The Super A category represents those large research institutions (the number is approximately 15) whose usage of ICPSR services is extensive and whose budgets could afford a higher fee. The committee felt that these new categories were part of a larger interest in greater revenue generation for the ICPSR. They were unclear as to the criteria for inclusion in the Super A category, Bylaws implications, and programmatic justification for the category and services rendered. It seemed to the committee that the larger context requires an overall examination of our current fee structures rather than looking at the low and high ends of the membership categories. In summary, the committee felt that if more revenue is the goal of possible new categories, then an overall assessment should be conducted across all fee levels.

  7. 1997 OR Meeting: The committee discussed the pluses and minuses of continuing the biennial OR meeting with the costs and content as primary areas of concerns. It was felt that the OR meeting serves a useful purpose(s) for ICPSR. In addition, any consideration to eliminate the OR meeting could not be acted upon before the 1997 meeting, but longer-term consideration for its continuance should be examined beyond 1997. As a result, the committee recommended holding the 1997 OR meeting. At the same time, it was also recommended to maintain the subsidy given to ORs who attend the meeting. The committee wanted to explore serious modifications and/or additions to the program to better serve the membership and ICPSR's interests and concerns. The committee recognized different constituencies among the ORs. It was felt that the program should reflect this diversity. With the earlier recommendation to conduct an OR survey, it was strongly recommended that the items include queries as to format and content of the meeting. Some identified priorities included: differentiate the needs of different kinds of ORs; provide information on technological developments; describe methodological trends or advances; and stress processes that enhance greater participation by the ORs. Within this context, the committee suggested that multiple forums and outlets be encouraged and developed to open communication between the ORs and ICPSR.

  8. Federations: The committee received a report from the ad hoc committee on federations. It was felt that the stated benefits that the federations add to ICPSR were noteworthy. They provide value-added services through their hubs and individual resources at the member federated institutions. Some examples of value-added services include: instruction, interdisciplinary workshops, training sessions, governing councils, etc. Within this context, the committee felt that initiatives affecting the federations would begin in a cooperative mode. The committee recommended that the moratorium on federations be lifted. As a result, the application of the Associated Colleges of the South ought to be accepted and approved for federation status. The discussion on federations centered around the ways in which federations and their members could assist ICPSR in its membership drive. The committee also recommended that no further dues increase be instituted for federations, at this time. The equity adjustments had just been completed, and the timing would not be appropriate. It was felt that attention to the federations would concentrate on cooperative ventures with the ICPSR in terms of increasing membership, value-added services, and fee structures. Finally, the committee recommended the formation of an ad hoc committee on federations including Ed Nelson and Wendy Watkins, Charles Hirschman, and Libbie Stephenson. Some additional charges to this committee would include the HCBU's, membership drives, and identifying the "pluses" of ICPSR membership.

  9. Annual Report: The committee looked over the User Services and Membership Report section of the 1995-1996 Annual Report.

Administration and Governance

  1. The Committee voted unanimously to consent to the Executive Director's naming of Christopher Dunn as Assistant Director for Archival Development.

  2. The Executive Director, in response to the Chair's request for a report on the budgetary outlook, distributed an item-by-item listing of suggested cuts and sources for additional income. As the Committee had not had a chance to review the document before the meeting, we postponed discussion until a later meeting. Meanwhile, many of the items have already been encouraged by Council and require no formal action for the staff or committees to act upon.

  3. It was decided to discontinue printing the Guide to Resources and Services in 1997. The Guide can be found on the ICPSR Website,

  4. The Committee went over the budgetary materials with the Executive Director and the Senior Financial Analyst.

  5. The Committee approved the request for a Summer Program fee increase.

  6. The Committee decided to discuss with Council the setting of dates for meetings in 1998 and the substitution of a video conference for a face-to-face meeting in Ann Arbor. [Council later voted to have the March meeting be a video conference. Dates for future meetings should be circulated on email.]

  7. The Committee discussed possible changes to the Bylaws and the Memorandum of Agreement. Many of these changes had been suggested by the Programmatic Review Committee in their report at the beginning of the year. The Committee voted to recommend that:

    1. The Executive Director be an ex-officio non-voting member of Council

    2. The term of the former Chair of Council be changed to one year rather than two, effective with the next former Chair.

    3. Election to Council be made on the basis of the six candidates having the highest number of votes rather than by those getting the greatest number of votes in a slotted position. [Council voted against this recommendation, feeling the positions insured diversity on the Council]

    4. No change be made at this time in the role of Council

    5. Warren Miller's designation be changed from Associate Director to Emeritus Executive Director and that he remain an ex-officio member of Council.

    6. There was insufficient time to make firm recommendations on the terms of the Associate Directors.

    7. The Committee also voted to recommend that the Memorandum of Agreement be changed so that the Programmatic Review is divided into two parts. The first part will deal with the evaluation of ICPSR and will be a public document. The other part, which evaluates the performance of the Executive Director but does not make any specific recommendation on re-appointment, would be available only to those persons involved in the nomination process--The CPS governing structure, ISR Director, Council, and the Nominations Committee.

Executive Session ICPSR Council

Saturday, October 5, 1996

Present: Suzanne Bianchi, Kenneth Bollen, Nancy Fultz, John Garcia, Norval Glenn, Ann Gray, Henry Heitowit, Charles Hirschman, Kent Jennings, Margaret Levi, Ross Matsueda, Warren Miller, Edward Nelson, Samuel Patterson, Richard Rockwell, Carole Shammas (Chair), Elizabeth Stephenson, Wendy Watkins, Halliman Winsborough

  1. The meeting was called to order at 9:50 a.m. by the Chair.

  2. Participants, aside from elected and ex-officio Council members include staff members of the Long Range Planning Committee.

  3. The Council took up the report of the Long Range Planning Committee on "The Future of ICPSR." After an hour or more of discussion, Council unanimously voted to have (a) the Executive Director and the Chair of Council explore with William Zimmerman, Director of CPS, ways in which programmatic ties between ICPSR and the rest of CPS might be strengthened and also work towards a revision in the budgetary arrangements; and (b) ask the ICPSR staff and CPS Research Scientists to cooperate more closely in programmatic initiatives. The Council also voted unanimously to have the Executive Director and the Chair of Council discuss with David Featherman the future of ICPSR in ISR either as a part of CPS, an independent entity, or in another research center. As Featherman is currently involved in developing a general plan for the future of ISR, this discussion will probably not take place until the beginning of 1997.

  4. The meeting adjourned at 11:15 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Carole Shammas

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