ICPSR Council Minutes
June 14-15, 2001

Council Participants: Margo Anderson (Chair), Charles Betsey, Diane Geraci, Ann Green, John Korey, Scott Long, Huey Perry, Pilar Rey del Castillo (European affiliate) Steven Ruggles, Bo Wandschneider

ICPSR Staff Participants: Erik Austin (Acting Director), Chris Dunn, Peter Granda, John Gray, Myron Gutmann (Director Designate) Hank Heitowit, Michelle Humphres, Peter Joftis, Stacey Kubitz, James McNally, Mary Morris, Bree Scesny, Mary Vardigan, Janet Vavra

Introductions

The first Council meeting began with an introduction of new participants. Bree Scesny was introduced as Myron Gutmann's new Administrative Assistant. Next, Council welcomed Pilar Rey del Castillo, the European representative from the Centre for Sociological Research in Madrid.

ICPSR Direct and Federations Discussion - Plenary Discussion

Council Chair Margo Anderson opened this discussion with a summary of the issue. At the March meeting, Council had a general discussion of membership issues and of ICPSR Direct, a new service to provide direct user-level data access to all faculty, staff, and students with authorized IP addresses on ICPSR's member campuses. The staff was charged in March with implementing a second phase of the beta test of ICPSR Direct by enrolling up to 50 additional members with the ultimate goal of rolling the service out to all members at the time of the OR meeting in October.

Staff wrote a memo to Council outlining three possible options for how to proceed:

  • Roll out ICPSR Direct to all members including federations and defer dealing with the pricing structure for federations until Council resolves the issue of revising the membership structure.

  • Roll out ICPSR Direct to single member schools but not federations and develop a strategy now regarding federations, access, the pricing structure, and voting rights.

  • Make all members including federations eligible for ICPSR Direct but institute a surcharge for federations who want this service.

Council members from federated institutions contacted individuals at all 13 federations in advance of this meeting to discuss the implications for federations of different courses of action. They learned that the federations are quite different but that basically they divide into two types: resource-rich heavy data users and resource-poor light users. If costs go up for federations, some will be able to absorb the increases, others will drop out. Most of the campuses with heavy data usage saw ICPSR Direct in a very positive light. Many smaller schools are on the margin and can't justify increased expenditure for ICPSR membership by their level of usage.

On Friday, June 15, Council unanimously recommended rolling out ICPSR Direct to all members, except for national memberships, as expeditiously as possible. A committee will be constituted to review the membership and pricing structure and will report to the full Council at the March 2002 meeting.

Nominating Committee Meeting

Council Participants: Margo Anderson, Charles Betsey, Diane Geraci, Huey Perry

Outside Participants: JoAnn Dionne (University of Michigan), Herb Weisberg (Ohio State University)

ICPSR Staff Participants: Myron Gutmann, Hank Heitowit, Janet Vavra

The ICPSR Nominating Committee met on Thursday (June 14, 2001) morning to select six nominees (or half of the Council) for the next Council election to be held in November 2001. These six Council positions will take effect in February/March 2002 and will serve four-year terms. According to the ICPSR Bylaws, the Nominating Committee is made up of all outgoing members of Council, two non-Council members appointed by the Chair, and ICPSR staff. Names for nominees were solicited from Official Representatives, Council, and staff.

The Council members on the committee were: Margo Anderson (Chair, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee), Charles Betsey (Howard University), Stephen Fienberg (Carnegie-Mellon University), Diane Geraci (Binghamton University, State University of New York), Paula McClain (Duke University), and Huey Perry (Southern University--Baton Rouge). The two non-Council members were Herb Weisberg (Ohio State University) and JoAnn Dionne (University of Michigan). ICPSR staff on the committee were Myron Gutmann, Hank Heitowit, and Janet Vavra.

In addition to identifying candidates for the six new members to be elected to Council, the committee recommends a candidate for the next Council chair. The new Chair is chosen from the remaining Council members who will serve two more years. The remaining six Council members are Ann Green (Yale University), John Korey (California State Polytechnic University at Pomona), J. Scott Long (Indiana University), Steven Ruggles (University of Minnesota--Twin Cities), James Sweet (University of Wisconsin at Madison), and Bo Wandschneider (University of Guelph).

Later during the Council meeting, the Nominating Committee reported back to the full Council with a recommendation for the next Council Chair and a slate of candidates and alternates for Council members. Among the professional fields from which candidates and alternates were approved were data and information management, demography, economics, history, political psychology, political science, sociology, and statistics.

The Council approved the candidates and alternates. It was noted that the individuals nominated would now be contacted to see if they would be willing to run for Council. Erik Austin will contact the nominees to confirm their availability to run for election to Council.

Planning and Policy Committee

ICPSR Council Members Present: Margo Anderson (chair), Huey Perry, Bo Wandschneider

ICPSR Staff Present: Erik Austin, Myron Gutmann

Building and Space Issues

Staff briefed the Committee on several issues related to the office space that ICPSR currently occupies, as well as plans for space that ICPSR may occupy in the future. The relocation of the air intake at the Borders Building has been approved by the City of Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan and Borders, Inc., and construction plans are proceeding. Moving this air intake out of an enclosed alley should improve the quality of the air coming into the ICPSR office area. Completion of this project is scheduled for late July, 2001. Approximately 2,700 square feet of additional office space will be rented (beginning in September, 2001) by ICPSR. This space, located in a commercial office/retail building a block from the Borders Building, is needed to accommodate anticipated staff growth in the next several months.

ISR plans to construct a wing attached to the Perry Building continue to move forward. It is anticipated that ICPSR will occupy that wing, and share its space with the Survey Research Center's Survey Methods Program. The wing should be completed in early 2004. Negotiations for lease extensions of the Borders Building are also underway.

At the plenary discussion of this agenda item, Council was joined by Dorothy Russell (ISR's Assistant Director) and Mary Krasny (Assistant Director of Plant Extension for the University of Michigan). They reiterated the Institute and University's commitment to improving the air quality of the Borders Building.

Proposal Strategies (DDI and Census 2000)

Myron Gutmann and Erik Austin reported to the Committee on their visit to NSF on April 24, to discuss strategies for ICPSR submission of proposals for continuation of DDI development as well as the 2000 Census project. Program Officer Cheryl Eavey and her colleagues recommended submission of two parallel proposals for DDI, from the Roper Center and from ICPSR. Former ICPSR Executive Director Richard Rockwell will serve as PI for the Roper Center proposal, while ICPSR Executive Editor and Archivist Mary Vardigan will be PI for the ICPSR portion of the joint activity. The proposals will be "lean," requesting funds for continued development over an eighteen-month period of the DDI initiative. ICPSR's plans for its Census 2000 proposal were enthusiastically received by the NSF officials. In addition, Gutmann discussed his intent to submit an NIH proposal for 2000 Census activities, to complement the NSF-supported project. The committee and Council warmly endorsed both of these proposal activities. (N.B. Both DDI and Census 2000 proposals are due at NSF on August 15, 2001. The proposals will be presented to the Archival Development Committee of Council at its October, 2001 meeting.)

Planning the October 2001 Council Meeting

Council, at its March, 2001, meeting, agreed to hold an abbreviated one-day Council meeting in conjunction with the October 25-28 Official Representative Meeting. The Committee expressed confidence that this meeting would suffice, and would consist of shortened committee and plenary meetings. Members discussed the possibility of introducing an electronic briefing book for that Council meeting, with documents posted on a restricted website (in both HTML and PDF formats) for members to examine before the meeting. Staff agreed to explore this mechanism, and to determine the need for printed briefing books in addition to the electronic version.

ICPSR Direct and Federations

The Committee felt that this item had been sufficiently discussed in the special session, and deferred Committee discussion to a later time.

Harvard Virtual Data Center/ICPSR Cooperative Venture

Council received a proposal jointly authored by Gary King of Harvard University and incoming ICPSR Director Myron Gutmann for a cooperative venture between the Consortium and Harvard's Virtual Data Center (VDC). King and a colleague had mounted a demonstration of VDC for ICPSR staff on May 30, 2001, and proposed adoption of this software system for future ICPSR distribution of its data. Staff noted that the VDC system shown on May 30 was not finished, and that some additional monitoring of its progress would be needed before a decision could be made on its adoption. The proposal in essence consisted of two elements: adoption of VDC (and implementation of it on ICPSR equipment) as ICPSR's mechanism for direct data delivery to scientists; and distribution of the VDC software to ICPSR members (and others) for use in distributing locally-held data not in the ICPSR archive. Underlying this proposal was the view (held by many in the social science community) that ICPSR "is behind" in methods of data delivery, and that VDC could ameliorate this situation. Council discussion of the issue was wide-ranging. A number of practical problems with adoption of this set of software were raised, including the need for long-term maintenance of the software. Some council members were concerned that no adequate process was in place to decide on proposals like VDC, which are offered to ICPSR, forcing the Consortium to deal with these externally-proposed initiatives on a less-than-satisfying case-by-case basis. Council agreed to commission a study of VDC before deciding on its adoption. A group of Council members and staff will visit Harvard before the October Official Representatives Meeting, and observe the system operating in its (presumably) better-developed form. That group will report back to Council at its October, 2001 meeting.

Status of Council Briefing Documents

A Council member had requested guidance on sharing of information, documents, etc. in the Council briefing books. At issue was whether the information in the briefing books should be considered "confidential" or "privileged," and thus should not be shared with colleagues outside the Council. The Committee felt that Council deliberations become public in due time, with the publication on the ICPSR website of Council minutes. Nevertheless, the Committee recommended that the documents in the Council briefing books be considered "preliminary" and intended for Council discussion, deliberation, and policy actions. The Committee proposed (and the full Council endorsed) the placing of a disclaimer in the front of future briefing books, stating: "The contents of this binder are working materials prepared for the [date] ICPSR Council Meeting. Please do not redistribute them prior to the conclusion of the Meeting without consulting the ICPSR staff."

Census 2000 Advisory Committee Report

The Committee received (and briefly discussed) the report of the May 31, 2001 meeting of ICPSR's Census 2000 Advisory Committee, held in Ann Arbor. Highlights of the Advisory Committee's recommendations included the development of new tools for accessing 2000 Census data files, and ICPSR collaboration on its Census project with the recently created Data Access Collaborative Core (DACC). DACC is a joint venture (at the present time) of the Population Centers at the Universities of Minnesota and Michigan, and is engaged in similar efforts to improve access to decennial census data. Both of these recommendations will be embodied in ICPSR's grant proposals to the National Science Foundation this summer, and to the National Institutes of Health in the Fall of 2001.

Archival Development Committee

Council Participants: Charles Betsey, Diane Geraci, Ann Green, Steve Ruggles

ICPSR Staff Participants: Peter Granda, Mary Vardigan

Report on Census 2000 activities

Staff reported on the meeting of the Census 2000 Advisory Committee, which took place on May 31, and made the following points:

  • ICPSR has released all of the Census 2000 P.L. 94-171 data.

  • Summary File 1 data should start to become available in June, with data for all states available by the end of July. The Advisory Committee decided that ICPSR should release the SF1 data via FastTrack to ensure rapid access and then go back and add the necessary metadata.

  • The Census 2000 website is up and running. We should begin to track usage on the site, and we need someone committed to updating and maintaining the site.

  • ICPSR will submit a proposal for Census 2000 activities to NSF by August 15. For the 1990 Census, ICPSR's role was to purchase all of the data and make it available so that members wouldn't have to make the expenditure. Since the 2000 data are free to the public, we have to find another niche, most likely related to making the data easier to use. We will also be submitting a proposal for Census 2000 activities to NIH in the fall.

  • An early plan had involved submitting a combining Census 2000/DDI proposal to NSF, but when Myron Gutmann and Erik Austin visited NSF in April to explore this idea further, they discovered that NSF would be more receptive to separate proposals for the two projects. To address the lack of knowledge of DDI in some communities, the DDI committee should begin to prepare some materials that are accessible to lay people.

  • ICPSR will explore getting some programming support for specialized access to Census data for its website from the Data Access Collaborative Core (DACC), which is currently comprised of the Population Centers of the University of Minnesota and the University of Michigan. The DACC, along with the Population Centers at Wisconsin and North Carolina, may eventually become a national demographic topical archive.

  • There is a lot of interest in the Census 2000 Summer Program workshop to be held in August. Fifty applications were received, and there are 35 people registered to take the course, about half of whom are ORs. It was suggested that the course cover information on putting up Census data for access locally.

  • The Joint Project Agreement with the Census Bureau has not been approved yet but is under final review by parties at the Bureau and the University of Michigan.

The Archival Development Committee suggested that any submitted proposals should not overlap with activities that are part of the National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS) project at the University of Minnesota. Numerous sites will be developing front ends and extract engines as ICPSR proposes to do, but ICPSR will be the only location archiving all of the Census products so we have a reasonable chance of being funded. The Committee also remarked that the NHGIS is recovering several Census files, including the long-form microdata for 1960 and all data for 1970, 1980, and 1990. Committee members asked staff to check the usage of the ICPSR website to see how useful the site has been to researchers at this early stage.

Privacy/Confidentiality Issues: Role of Institutional Review Boards

The committee discussed whether it would be useful to collect information at the data deposit stage on whether a study had received IRB approval before it was carried out. It might be important to have this information to convey to users doing secondary analysis. It was pointed out that every study with federal funding has to have such approval. The Committee decided that we should revise the ICPSR Data Deposit Form to include a request for a copy of the IRB guidelines that the data collector complied with.

Secure Data Enclave Committee

The Committee put together a list of individuals to serve on a committee to develop procedures regarding the secure data enclave. Peter Granda will discuss the list with Erik Austin and develop a procedure for contacting those individuals to determine their willingness to participate.

Preservation Policy

Janet Vavra provided a document describing the scope of the ICPSR data holdings broken out by file type. This is the first step in conducting a risk analysis of the longevity of various files in the collection.

It was also noted that Janet is writing a proposal to NEH that would involve bringing experts together to research issues pertaining to the preservation of digital data files. Results of the discussions would be written up and disseminated to a larger audience via the Web. The findings would also inform a preservation policy for ICPSR.

Stata Data Definition Statements

The Committee recommended that ICPSR data processors routinely prepare Stata data definition statements as part of the standard suite of setup files that accompany ICPSR datasets. Stata has indicated that they will give us a free site license for Stata software, but the Committee asked John Gray to inquire further whether Stata would pay us to perform some retrofitting of our collection (we would ask a minimal amount, say, $20 per dataset) or possibly provide us with tools to do so. Staff should also emphasize to Stata that it will routinely generate data definition statements when processing collections in the future. It was noted that we have to check the output of any conversion no matter who does it. Another point made was that Stata has been very generous to ICPSR in providing free software for use in the Summer Program. Finally, the committee requested that staff ask Stata to expand its 2,047-variable limit to encompass our larger data files.

Redistribution Requests

The Committee approved a request from the ZA for a user in Germany to put selected variables from the Eurobarometer series on the Web, with the proviso that ICPSR be cited as the producer and data distributor.

Also approved was a request from the University of Michigan's graduate library to put 5% PUMS data for 1990 on the Web in Berkeley's SDA extract and analysis software. Since these data are in the public domain, permission was granted, again with a request for proper citation.

A third request to provide Unicon, a private company, with older Current Population Survey files not available elsewhere was also approved. The Committee further recommended that we ask for a file exchange so that ICPSR can obtain CPS files not currently in the holdings. This should be viewed as an attractive offer by Unicon since it would fulfill their archival responsibilities.

Economic Data

The Committee reviewed a draft letter that would be sent to a list of selected economists soliciting deposit of important data collections not currently archived. Charles Betsey will provide suggested names. The committee also suggested that staff archive a couple of unique data collections from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

Quantitative Research and Training Committee

Council participants: Scott Long, John Korey

ICPSR Staff participants: Hank Heitowit, Dieter Burrell

Summer Program

Staff provided an update on the 2001 Summer Program. Applications are running well above previous years, although it is unclear if this will actually produce higher enrollments. The Program returns this year to the Helen Newberry House, which was extensively rewired to accommodate an upgraded computer facility.

The proposed external evaluation of the Summer Program was postponed until the ICPSR Director and staff can complete an internal review to determine a further course of action.

The committee recommended a fee increase for the 2002 Summer Program. This amounts to a $50 increase across the board for each category of participation. The increase is in line with similar increases over the last several years.

Spatial Statistics Conference

ICPSR co-sponsored a special conference on "Spatial Statistics in Social Research," with the Center for Spatially Integrated Social Sciences (CSISS). The workshop was held in Ann Arbor, May 18 to 20, 2001. Twenty-five scholars from across the nation, representing half a dozen disciplines, were in attendance. A fruitful exchange took place, but it remains to be seen if this will lead to more and better research in this newly emerging area.

IMIS Update

John Korey provided an update on the activities of the Instructional Materials and Information Subcommittee (IMIS).

Budget Committee Meeting

Council Participants: Margo Anderson, Charles Betsey

ICPSR Staff Participants: Erik Austin, Myron Gutmann, Stacey Kubitz

Fiscal Year 2002 Budget

Staff presented the final budget for the 2002 fiscal year. Discussion focussed on the changes which had been incorporated since the draft budget presented at the March 2001 Council meeting, and on some minor adjustments to displays presented to Council. The major discussion topics were:

  • The Council-approved $50 summer program fee increase will most likely produce $30,000 in extra revenue as opposed to the $20,000 estimated in the FY2002 budget presented in the briefing books.

  • The Council suspended plans for a Summer Program External Review. It approved supporting three IMIS Committee members to meet at the 2001 OR meeting. The net effect on Education's budget is decreasing the travel budget from $12,500 to $7,000.

  • A formula error was discovered on "Current and Pending Sponsored Projects." The archiving of "The College and Beyond Database" should have reflected $50,000 (direct and indirect), not $242,106.

  • The above three items were incorporated into a revised FY2002 budget and a corrected Schedule A was distributed to Council. The adjusted FY2002 estimated revenues-over-expenses is $69,048.

  • The Committee discussed whether or not our projected grants/contracts revenue will truly grow so substantially during the next year and whether it will continue to do so in future years.

  • If ICPSR changes its membership to incorporate new services to its members, the Committee suggested increasing the number of senior staff in order to deal with developing the new areas of services.

  • ICPSR staff has not yet looked into the cost of how much it would be to DDI markup all data collections, but will begin research soon.

  • At the March 2002 Council meeting, ICPSR staff will have a plan for a complete DDI markup project (variable based markup). It is possible to have temporary employees count the variables in our codebooks to assess the situation.

  • The Committee recommended that ICPSR not increase Administration's budget for more membership development activities. Council was reluctant to do so for FY2002 because the funds are not available due to the codebook scanning initiative and other obligations.

Following this extended discussion, the Committee unanimously recommended to Council the approval of the FY 2002 budget (as revised during the meeting, and reflected by the corrected Schedule A which was distributed during the plenary discussion of the budget). The full Council voted unanimously to approve the FY2002 budget of $8,234,423.

Retrofit Codebook Scanning Initiative

At its March, 2001 meeting, Council asked staff to present a plan to scan the remaining paper codebooks in its inventory as rapidly as practicable. Members felt that this was extremely important, in conjunction with ICPSR Direct, so that both data and documentation could be delivered via electronic downloads in a timely fashion. Staff presented the Committee with a proposal to retrofit the remaining 300,000+ pages of paper documentation in the coming fiscal year. The plan contemplates image-only scanning of those pages, with additional markup to be completed in subsequent years. The cost of this retrofit initiative was estimated to be $106,516, said cost already being built into the FY 2002 budget presented to Council for its approval at this meeting. The Committee enthusiastically endorsed this proposal. In plenary session, the full Council added its hearty endorsement.

Fiscal Year 2003 Membership Dues Increase

Staff presented to both the Membership Relations and the Budget Committees a proposal for a membership dues increase for FY 2003 of 3.4%. This followed the tradition of years past of Council using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as a gauge of future dues increases. The Budget Committee demurred on the staff recommendation. Committee members noted that by increasing dues by only the CPI as calculated two years prior to implementation of a dues increase, ICPSR was, in essence, losing money. They noted, in addition, that salaries alone are projected to increase by 4% or more per year. A counter-proposal was therefore put forward that a FY 2003 dues increase of approximately 5% be substituted for the 3.4% initially recommended by staff; this proposal was unanimously endorsed by the Budget Committee.

At the plenary session, the full Council debated the dues increase proposals of both the staff-recommended 3.4% amount and the Budget Committee's 5% alternative. The key point (upon which there was universal agreement) was that the 5% figure better represented the actual anticipated increase in ICPSR costs. Despite a reluctance on the part of some Council members to deviate from the past practice of using the CPI to set future dues increases (and their concern that a 5% figure would create hardship for some member institutions), the Council voted unanimously to set dues for FY 2003 at a rate approximately 5% above then-current levels. Dues levels therefore approved were: Category A, $12,000; Category B, $7,500; Category S, $3,750; and Category C, $2,000 (representing no increase).

Information Technology Committee

Council Participants: Ann Green (chair), Scott Long, Steve Ruggles

ICPSR Staff Participants: John Gray, Peter Joftis, Mary Vardigan, Janet Vavra

Status of New Servers

Staff reported that the new Sun servers are still in the process of being brought on line. The new external server ('lion'), which hosts ICPSR's web services, is up and running smoothly. The new internal server ('wolf') has serious hardware problems, and we also experienced hardware problems with the old internal servers. Taken together, these problems have impacted schedules for several projects, including the implementation of ICPSR Direct.

Web Site Progress

Staff reported that the new website is performing well, and that we continue to receive positive feedback. The Census 2000 site is up and running. The switch to the new Sun server has resulted in a noticeable improvement in responsiveness, particularly for the XML-coded study descriptions. One problem with the interaction between Netscape's new "Netscape 6" browser and the Inktomi search engine was described. Staff have informed Netscape and Inktomi of the problem and are waiting for a resolution.

Plans for Attacking Paper Documentation Backlog

Staff presented the plan for dealing with the backlog of material to be scanned: the existing backlog of material will be scanned as quickly as possible to a minimally edited form. The resulting PDF files will be distributable as they are and will be processed further in the future. A budget for this project has been prepared that calls for hiring three additional FTEs and acquisition of a new Fujitsu workgroup scanner and Acrobat Capture software. The incremental cost will be $106,516 for accelerated processing of approximately 307,600 pages. The project aims to have all documentation in an electronic format by the end of FY 2002.

Report on Preservation Status

The committee discussed the staff report on the scope of ICPSR archival holdings. There are just over 100,000 files in the archival holdings. Just over 51,000 of those files are released, or made available to members. Several thousand of these files present long-term preservation issues (column binary fields, proprietary formats, etc.) These files need to be identified and converted to a suitable archival format. The physical data files, currently stored on IBM 3480 tape cartridges, also need to be migrated to other suitable archival media. The committee expressed support for these activities and asked staff to prepare a preservation plan for the current holdings with a proposed budget for consideration at a future meeting. The budget should be for a plan to "retrofit" the existing backlog plus a plan to migrate the archive off of 3480 tape cartridges to disk backed up with digital linear tape (DLT) and/or DVD-RAM. Committee members expressed concern that incoming NAPA files add to the backlog of files needing preservation attention.

External Committee Initiative

The committee discussed Peter Joftis's paper and the Harvard VDC proposal. They discussed the desirability of requiring formal proposals before entering into cooperative agreements with external organizations. The sense of the committee was that there should not be a newly established subcommittee on external initiatives in the absence of specific guidelines and policies for the evaluation of proposed partnerships and cooperative agreements. When evaluating these proposals, it is important to specify potential costs and benefits to ICPSR at the outset. Evaluation of costs of collaboration needs to explicitly include an appraisal of the potential costs of extricating ourselves from the agreements. We also need to consider the intangible aspects of the agreements: providing ICPSR's imprimatur to a project may provide additional prestige to partner organizations; conversely, we run the risk of losing credibility if ICPSR is associated with a series of low-quality initiatives. The topical archives were discussed as models for successful collaborative projects, with formal agreements and maintenance of substantial technical control at ICPSR. With regard to the VDC project, the committee agreed to staff an evaluation team to either visit Cambridge or host Harvard staff at Ann Arbor in order to perform a technical evaluation of the feasibility of sponsoring the project. If ICPSR decides to go ahead and co-sponsor the VDC project, the committee would like to see a formal document of agreement that illustrates exactly how ICPSR will be involved.

The committee also discussed a series of questions to be asked about proposed external initiatives:

  • How does the proposed Harvard VDC project overlap with existing ICPSR services?

  • What new services will the Harvard VDC proposal add to the existing services?

  • Who will do the work of maintenance and what are the political complications?

  • How long will the partnership between ICPSR and Harvard last? How will it end?

  • What would be the cost of failure? What would be the worst-case scenario?

  • How will participation benefit ICPSR staff (adding to internal competency)?

During discussion of the Committee's report on the VDC, Council members emphasized the need to see and evaluate a working version of the software before a decision can be made on allowing the ICPSR name to be used on it. Council agreed to contribute staff time for a review of the VDC. Erik Austin and Myron Gutmann agreed to coordinate the review logistics with Gary King.

ICPSR Direct

Staff reported that the beta test has gone well and has not turned up any significant technical or service-related problems. Procedures for adding and maintaining schools have been established and are ready for implementation. The committee recommended that staff go ahead and send out another mailing to all members offering the service immediately.

Council members expressed concern that the beta test did not result in a clear report and asked to see a report on the projected impact of ICPSR Direct on traffic and support. Council asked that users no longer be given the option to ask that they not be contacted by their ORs.

Stata

The committee agreed that staff should provide Stata data definition statements where feasible and should continue negotiations with Stata to provide assistance and/or reimbursement for that activity. Staff were urged to push Stata to provide a version of the software that can handle more than the current limit of 2,047 variables and to commit to interoperation with the DDI.

Member Relations Committee

Council Participants: Diane Geraci, John Korey, Huey Perry, Bo Wandschneider

ICPSR Staff Participants: Hank Heitowit, Michelle Humphres, Mary Morris

Official Representatives Meeting

The agenda for the October Official Representatives meeting was reviewed and slight modifications were suggested before finalizing it. In light of the ongoing review of membership structure, a Federation roundtable was added to the agenda, as was a lunch meeting between National Membership representatives and the ICPSR Director. The final agenda will be posted on the ICPSR website and online registration will begin shortly.

Membership Activity Report

The status of membership for this fiscal year was presented; membership activity over the fiscal year has been fairly consistent with past years. Committee members reiterated their desire to continue membership outreach work, both to seek out new members and to solidify current members, as staff assignments and resources permit.

New Membership Category for Members Who Serve Local Community Agencies

The committee received a request from an OR regarding the possibility of establishing a new membership category that would allow universities that have a strong commitment to serve local governments and non-profit agencies to assist those organizations when they request ICPSR data. Although the idea generated support from committee members, the committee decided the request should be considered in the context of the membership structure discussions that are ongoing and referred it to that committee for consideration.

FY02-03 Annual Fee Increase

The committee discussed the staff-proposed annual fee increase, which is tied to the Consumer Price Index, and was informed of an accompanying recommendation from a Council member for a somewhat higher fee increase. The committee noted the difficulty in making such decisions without budget information and requested that any future annual increase recommendation be accompanied by budget information supporting the recommendation. The committee endorsed the staff-proposed annual fee increase.

Miller and Flanigan Awards

The committee endorsed the staff's nominees for the Miller and Flanigan awards. The Miller award recognizes contributions to the social sciences in the national or international arena and the Flanigan award recognizes Official Representatives who have served ICPSR through their work locally or nationally. These awards are presented at the Biennial OR Meetings.

ICPSR Direct

Staff updated the committee on the status of the beta testing of ICPSR Direct. The User Registration feature has been implemented and ICPSR Direct is operational at 23 schools. Staff indicated that some additional schools would be added over the summer with the full rollout of the service scheduled during the October OR Meeting.

The committee addressed the issue of whether ICPSR Direct should be made available to the National Memberships, and recommended that ICPSR concentrate on the individual schools, here and abroad, and the federated members at this time. This new service should be on agenda when the National Membership representatives meet with the ICPSR Director during the OR meeting.

Open Session of Council

Nominating Committee Report

The Nominating Committee had met the previous day with Herb Wiesberg and JoAnn Dionne, who are both past Council members, to discuss the selection of names for new Council members. The committee solicited names from ORs and staff and discussed the qualifications of all nominees. The six selected will be asked to stand and be voted on by the ORs. In addition to the original six, six reserve nominees were announced in the event that the individual declined the Council position.

The Nominating Committee then announced that Ann Green had been nominated for and had accepted the position of the next Council Chair. All nominees will be contacted, finalized, and published around September 1. The election is to take place after the OR meeting in October. Election results will be announced in December.

Date Changes

Council asked whether a date had been set for the March 2002 Council meeting. When it was indicated that two dates had been selected, Council was urged to select one date in order to get hotel rooms booked by January 2002.

It was stated that the possible dates of June 13-16, 2002 for the next Council meeting conflict with the dates for the IASSIST meeting, which is scheduled for June 11-14, 2002. Erik Austin and Myron Gutmann indicated that they will solicit Council members and new nominees to lock alternative dates in as soon as possible.

Final Movements and Approvals

Council moved that the March Council minutes be approved as written in the June briefing book, with the exception of a name misspelling on pages 7 and 8. It was approved that the minutes be distributed after the correction.

Council presented a motion to give all members except the national members access to ICPSR Direct as expeditiously as possible. Council clarified that it does not wish to exclude national members, but that they need to figure out how to include them and would work on that issue. A strategy to include national members will be necessary for the Director's lunch with national member representatives in October. This motion generated unanimous support.

Next, a proposal for a committee to review the membership fee structure was introduced. The committee would then report its evaluations at the March 2002 meeting. Council agreed to create such a committee.

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