ICPSR Council Minutes
9 October 2003

Council members present: William Darity, Ilona Einowski, Ann Green (Chair), John Handy, Mark Hayward, John Korey, Scott Long, Ron Rindfuss, Steve Ruggles, James Sweet, Bo Wandschneider

ICPSR staff present: Erik Austin, Rita Bantom, Bryan Beecher, Dieter Burrell, Edward Czilli, Peter Granda, Sheila Grindatti, Bree Gunter, Myron Gutmann (Director), Hank Heitowit, Cynthia Hoxey, Peter Joftis, Jim McNally, JoAnne McFarland O'Rourke, Mary Morris, Mary Vardigan, Janet Vavra

Visitors: Michal Peleg, Hebrew University; Kevin Schürer, University of Essex; Dorothy Russell, ISR; Catherine Thibault, ISR

Director's Report

Myron Gutmann presented his Director's report to the Council, covering the period June to October, 2003. He started with organizational issues. The first was to report on the successful planning for the OR meeting. There will be 14 sessions, with over 140 individuals in attendance, highlighted by a symposium and a celebration of the 40th anniversary, followed by a formal welcome reception at the Perry Building.

Gutmann informed Council that there has not been much progress in the search for a new NACJD Director. Nor has much headway been made in further elaboration on the Strategic Plan. The organization successfully survived the blackout of late August. Computer systems gracefully allowed the shut down, and then smoothly came back on line the following day.

The staff has settled into the Perry Building, moving all personnel into facilities on the first and second floors. Discussions were on-going with other groups at ISR and at U-M to use space in the lower level for training and teaching. An addition to the current Perry building (Perry II) is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2004. Among ramifications of this construction is that space costs for ICPSR are likely to increase.

Gutmann then moved on to an overview of financial results for the last several months. The organization ended FY2003 on target, with only a modest shortfall of about $180,000 in expenses exceeding revenue. There have been some end-of-year complications with ISR over accounting issues, which now appear to have been resolved. Prospects for FY2004 appear to be excellent. Successful external funding initiatives will add more than $1 million by January 2004. Gutmann then proceeded to summarize the external funding activities over the last several months.

Three projects were not successful initially but will be resubmitted: the Information Grid for Social Science (NSF), Kinship and Demographic Behavior (NICHD), and Lay Explanations and Self-Management of Diabetes (NIA). Two proposals that were not successful and which will not be resubmitted are the Michigan Terascale Facility, and the SAMHSA CSAT. Projects that were successful in receiving external funding included the Human Subject Protection and Disclosure Analysis (NICHD program project collaboration with the SRC/ISR), the Child Care Topical Archive (DHHS), the SAMHDA continuation, the supplement to NACDA for Bibliography Development (NIA), the Chicago Neighborhood Study (MacArthur Foundation), and an equipment grant from Sun Microsystems. Pending external funding proposals include the Infrastructure Continuation Project (resubmitted to NSF in August 2003), and ICPSR participation in the Michigan Aging Center grant (to NIA). Finally, Gutmann reported on the successful external funding for projects under the research initiative of ICPSR, including Grammars of Death (NICHD), Immigrant Elders (NIA), and a Minority Aging Center (NIA). Gutmann also reported on a likely collaborative proposal for a new project. This would be submitted to the Library of Congress National Digital Information Infrastructure partnership program. The project would involve identifying, acquiring, and archiving digital information, objects, and data. This would be a multi-organizational cooperative partnership with the Roper Center, the Odum Institute, the Murray Center, NARA, and the Harvard-MIT data center, with ICPSR as the lead institution.

The 2003 Summer Program was the second largest in history with over 630 participants. The Program was highlighted by continued innovation in computer technology, employing over 100 high end PC work stations, and positioning the one-week workshops in a new high tech learning environment at the Perry Building.

There has been a vast expansion in data distribution by ICPSR over the last several years. Gutmann noted that there has been exponential growth in this area, culminating in over 9000 gigabytes distributed in FY2003. He attributed this to the impact of ICPSR Direct and the new and improved website. Gutmann also mentioned several other technological developments. There is now an enhanced SDA functionality that included a Quick Tables feature and a variables database search capability. Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) technology has also been implemented on the ICPSR servers. The staff has also arranged for U-M to monitor ICPSR's production web systems for service reliability.

Gutmann reported that he recently received the first report from the internal process review committee. That committee took the further initiative to develop an "ideal ICPSR process" to be reported on in October. An external committee will meet with staff in November to evaluate the progress made so far, and to recommend further actions.

The last item in the Director's report covered the new look or visual presence that the organization had created. Innovations and changes have been made to ICPSR's logo, graphics, letterhead, annual report format, and presentation booths and materials.

Membership Relations Committee

Council: John Handy, John Korey (Chair), Jim Sweet, Bo Wandschneider

Staff: Bree Gunter, Hank Heitowit, Mary Morris

Membership Activity Report

Staff reported that while four new members have joined since July 1, there could be as many as six possible drops by next summer. Hank Heitowit expressed concern about the recent trend in increased scrutiny of membership and subscription-type payments at member institutions, and informed Council that staff is working with several institutions to establish payment plans to maintain membership.

Extending ICPSR Direct to National Members

Mary Morris reported that since the letter announcing that ICPSR Direct is now available to National members, one school has signed up (one of the schools in the Swiss National Membership). Staff hope that publicity at the Official Representatives Meeting will increase interest in ICPSR Direct for national memberships.

Report of the Membership Structure Review Committee

Jim Sweet attended the committee meeting to explain his report from the September 29 meeting of the Ad hoc Membership Committee. Sweet pointed out that the Committee focused on principles of membership categorization, indicating that the current categories are perhaps outdated and cumbersome. After reviewing the recommendations of the subcommittee, he noted that there are no official action items for the October Council meeting, but that the Committee will prepare a report including a simulation of possible membership fees and make specific recommendations for Council to vote on in March.

The committee agreed that ICPSR should not focus on a fee-for-service model and should adopt a Carnegie-based classification system. The report suggests adopting a similar classification system for Canadian members. The committee also agreed that the membership structure should be reviewed every six years, and that any changes should be phased in over several years.

There was some discussion of the current discount for federated members (which is as high as 45% in some cases). The report from the Committee suggests reducing that discount over an extended period of time. The Committee also suggested removing the moratorium on new federations under the stipulation that at least one institution must be a new member to ICPSR. Finally, the Committee suggested that national memberships be reevaluated and where appropriate, move toward the creation of national federated members.

Sweet also noted that an increase in revenue should not be the motivating factor behind the restructuring process. The fee simulations that will be created for the March meeting will be able to predict whether a new structure will keep the organization revenue neutral or will increase revenue to some degree.

The recommendations outlined will necessitate changes to the ICPSR Bylaws, and will be presented in text form at the March Council Meeting.

Archival Development Committee

Council: Ilona Einowski, Scott Long, Ron Rindfuss, Steve Ruggles (Chair)

Staff: Peter Granda, Jim McNally, Amy Pienta, Mary Vardigan

New Data Acquisitions

Amy Pienta described some of her recent activities including a trip to Pennsylvania State University next week and the visit of Gordon Streib, Professor Emeritus from the Sociology Department at the University of Florida. Streib was one of the Principal Investigators of the Cornell Study of Occupational Retirement (1952-1958) and will visit ICPSR on October 29 to discuss some of the details behind the study and its location in the ICPSR secure data enclave.

Pienta provided the Committee with a status report on her efforts to obtain new data collections which described each study and its location in the overall acquisitions process from initial inquiries to a commitment to deposit the collection by the principal investigator. The report included 50 specific collections and covered areas under both the General Archive and all of the topical archives.

Council asked staff to consider the option of acquiring data collections for preservation purposes only if the Principal Investigators wished to distribute their collection on their own websites. This would permit ICPSR to have a copy which it might distribute in the future if the Principal Investigator agreed to joint distribution or was unable to continue supporting sole distribution to the research community. ICPSR would create catalog entries for such collections. Ilona Einowski and Amy Pienta will work on a preservation copy policy for the next Council meeting in March.

The Council also asked Gutmann to lobby federal agencies for a commitment to make preservation a requirement for all grantees that created data products as a result of their awards. Council also asked to revisit the ICPSR Acquisition Policy for its next meeting so that possible revisions of the policy could be discussed by new Council members during 2004. A major goal of a new policy would be to contact anyone who has a large-scale data collection project as early as possible in the process to increase the chances that these collections would be properly documented and archived at the appropriate time. The problem of data archived in multiple places was discussed in the context of version control and the Committee asked that ICPSR work with the European archives to coordinate the distribution of collections more effectively to researchers.

Draft Policy on Redistribution of ICPSR Data Collections

The policy statement was discussed by the Committee and a request was made to edit the draft to include information about copyright and how it affects the collections housed in the Archive. Einowski and Peter Granda were asked to make revisions and report back to the Council in March.

Status Reports

ICPSR established an internal committee in August to consider all of the practical and technical details of opening its own data enclave. The committee met in September and October and visited both the Michigan Center on the Demography of Aging Data Enclave and the Michigan Census Research Data Center. The Committee asked if some government agencies might object to mixing their data with other sources of data in the enclave and what the possible costs for using the enclave might be for non-members, members, and students.

The markup of Census 2000 documentation at the variable level using DDI is almost complete: Summary Files 1-3 have been marked up and Summary File 4 is underway. Staff has created some mockup pages for the proposed Data Finder tool to assist researchers in finding the data they want. These pages will be reviewed by staff at the University of Minnesota to see how appropriate such an approach might be for the National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS) project.

Recent Proposals Submitted/Awarded

The Committee reviewed a list of recent proposal submissions and awards and was updated on the status of the Child Care Research Collaboration and Archive (CCRCA) about which staff expect to hear a funding decision by the end of the month.

Other Business

Staff was also asked to provide the Council with draft options and plans in March on two other topics that received some discussion in the Information Technology Committee. These included: a) development of a draft policy on how to acquire and distribute the TIGER line files from Census 2000, and b) cost estimates for the conversion of additional data collections into SDA for the General Archive both in terms of minimal and full (with complete question text) processing and the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Budget Committee

Council: Ann Green, John Handy, Ron Rindfuss, Jim Sweet (Chair)

Staff: Myron Gutmann, Stacey Kubitz (via conference call)

Visitors: Dorothy Russell, ISR; Catherine Thibault, ISR

Discussion of End-of-Fiscal Year Processing at ISR

The Committee was pleased to meet with Dorothy Russell, the Assistant Director, and Catherine Thibault, the Business Manager, of the Institute for Social Research, in order to discuss concerns about the end-of-fiscal-year processing at ISR of ICPSR's accounts. Russell and Thibault presented a valuable description of those processes, and informed the Committee that they had developed a new schedule of year-end closing procedures for ICPSR that would produce more effective results in the future.

FY2003 Financial Results

The Staff reported that the year-end results for FY 2004 were unfavorable at the level of $283,515. Of this amount, about $100,000 was for the purchase of furniture, and the remaining $183,000 was an operating deficit. The remaining $300,000 for furniture will be charged in FY 2004. This is an improvement over projections made in June.

ICPSR ended FY 2003 with a Fund Balance of $1,519,652. This reflected changes that occurred because the University of Michigan has gradually been changing its accounting from a cash to an accrual basis.

The members of Council reiterated their interest in adding to ICPSR's financial reserves in FY 2004 and later years, and encouraged staff to do what it could to enhance reserves.

FY 2004 Projections

Staff presented a brief discussion of projections for FY 2004. It is still early in the fiscal year, but so far the budget seems to be following predictions made at the March and June 2003 Council meetings. As the Director stated in his Report to the Council, sponsored funding prospects for FY 2004 and beyond seem extremely good, and exceed projections made earlier for the current fiscal year.

The Committee undertook a brief discussion of the potential for increased rent that is payable to the Institute for Social Research. Staff stated that this was a continuing discussion that they would monitor in future months.

Membership Support for the Summer Program

This subject was scheduled to be discussed extensively in the Policy and Planning Committee, and in the Quantitative Research and Training Committees. The Budget Committee stated that they had little to add outside the general discussion of this topic.

Planning and Policy

Council: Sandy Darity, Ann Green (Chair), Mark Hayward

Staff: Myron Gutmann, Erik Austin, Rita Bantom

Recruiting a Director for NACJD

Myron Gutmann described ongoing efforts to recruit a replacement for Chris Dunn as Director of ICPSR's National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD). The recruitment mailings and advertisements were outlined in a handout available to the Committee. While some applications have been received, staff has been struck by the paucity of high-quality academics expressing interest in the position. Mark Hayward noted that the potential pool of such individuals is quite small; many academic departments are looking for exactly the same caliber of criminologist that we are seeking for the NACJD directorship, with scant success. Staff and Committee members discussed ways of increasing the number of formal applicants for the position.

Recruiting Assistant Research Scientists

General Council support for adding Research Scientists to the ICPSR staff was obtained at prior Council meetings. Staff was asked, however, to describe somewhat more fully this contemplated direction. Gutmann reported on some conversations he has begun to have with the Population Studies Center (PSC) at ISR about jointly recruiting two individuals at the Assistant Research Professor level. (This is a new title to be put into place at the University of Michigan in the fall of 2003.) He asked the Committee's advice on proceeding in this direction as a way of strengthening the research focus at ICPSR. The Committee was generally supportive of this initiative, feeling that it would give ICPSR flexibility and allow for future expansion in highly desirable substantive areas. Some cautions were also expressed, including the desirability of such recruits having knowledge of and commitment to ICPSR's core mission; the ability of these scientists to work on archival duties as part of their appointments; and the unwillingness of Council to subsidize research with ICPSR member funds. The sense of the Committee was to have the Director proceed with discussions with PSC (and possibly other departments/units at the University of Michigan), and to keep a dialog open with Council about such joint recruitment/appointments.

Staff Development Policy

The Committee discussed a document prepared for it by the staff entitled "Staff Development Philosophy and Supervisor Guidelines." This deliberately general "framing" document outlines ICPSR's staff development objectives, role and responsibility of each staff member for her/his own professional development, the role of supervisors to encourage staff development activities, and the fiscal necessity for advance planning of all professional development opportunities. The Committee endorsed the document, and urged that it be "published" internally (almost certainly on the ICPSR Intranet system) so that all staff can read it and be aware of its provisions.

"Big Blackout" of August 2003

The Committee complimented staff on its timely action to restore connectivity to the ICPSR website in under 24 hours, following the power blackout of August 14-15, 2003 that affected the upper Midwest and East. Committee members discussed the advisability of having the website mirrored at another location for just such occurrences. One possibility that has been suggested previously is a mirror site at the Minnesota Population Center in Minneapolis.

Perry Building News

Staff provided the Committee with an update on internal staff shifts in the Perry Building as part of the strategy to vacate the Lower Level at Perry, and thus save on rent charges. Gutmann noted that rent charged to ICPSR for occupancy of the top two floors of Perry would increase in FY05, per ISR's graduated schedule of space rental increases for the entire Institute.

Process Review Project Report

The Committee briefly discussed the Process Improvement Review report, noting the absence in the report of both a description of archival processing standards and considerations for data security. Gutmann announced that these lacunae would be plugged, and an initial implementation plan reported to Council at its March 2004 meeting.

Strategic Plan

Gutmann reported that little progress has recently been made on strategic planning, as attention has been focused largely on the Process Improvement project and on proposal writing. He plans to have for the Committee a report on strategic planning by the time of the March 2004 Council meeting, and agreed to involve Council in that activity, utilizing Hayward as the Council's point-of-contact.

Director's Sabbatical in FY 2005

Gutmann discussed his plans for a sabbatical in FY05, which he described as a "non-residential" sabbatical. Tentative dates for the sabbatical are February-August, 2005. Gutmann plans to attend the March and June Council meetings during that time period. He described the interim staffing arrangements during the time of his leave. Gutmann urged Council to talk about any consequences they foresaw during his sabbatical absence, at their executive session following the completion of the regular agenda that day.

Membership-Funded Support for the Summer Training Program

The Committee discussed numerous aspects of the funding arrangements for the ICPSR Summer Training Program, with the aid of handouts showing details of expenditures over the previous two years. Options for future financial support for the Summer Program presented by staff included self-sufficiency, reliance on member fees to pay operating deficits, member dues subsidies for particular portions of Summer Program operations, and a specific budgeted subsidy for the Program from member dues. Noting the importance of the Program to our members, the Committee favored a subsidy for specific aspects of the Program, such as the participant stipends, Summer Program Director's salary, or other administrative expenses for the Program. Committee members also called for a Summer Program Business Plan for FY05, so that Council could better assess aspects of Program funding.

Number of Future Council Meetings per Year

The Committee debated a proposal to reduce the number of Council meetings from three to two per year. Reduced wear and tear on Council and staff with only two meetings per year was juxtaposed with greater Council input and advice that is afforded by three meetings per year. The sense of the Committee was to recommend staying with three meetings a year. Several suggestions for tweaking the agenda of June Council meetings were put forward by Committee members, and in the plenary discussion of this item. They included having Council members devote some time in a symposium for Summer Training Program participants to report on research activities being undertaken by Council members, as well as a single-item agenda that would permit in-depth treatment of one important issue. Somewhat related to the first of these suggestions was an offer to have some Council members present a session on their recent research activities at the 2005 Biennial Meeting of ORs.

Quantitative Research and Training Committee

Council: Sandy Darity, John Korey (Chair), Scott Long

Staff: Dieter Burrell, Edward J. Czilli, Hank Heitowit

Report on the Summer Program

Enrollment in the 2003 program was the second largest ever at 639 participants. Committee members discussed elements that will be included in the forthcoming Summer Program Business Plan which staff will create for the March Council meeting. The report will center on the 2004 Summer Program, which falls primarily in the 2005 fiscal year. The Committee reported on some preliminary information that will be included in the report: the course break even point (fixed costs vs. individual class costs) seems to be at around 20 students, although this is a very rough estimate; the 2003 Summer Program took in about $875,000 in fees and tuition with about $1 million in costs. Scott Long noted that Council needs to discuss this within the context of deciding on the 2004 fee structure. Council also needs to discuss how much to allocate to the Summer Program from membership accounts as well as how much to raise tuition for the 2004 Program.

Staff proposed a tuition increase next year of $150. Gutmann suggested that Council decide on a fee increase and a specific amount of support from membership funds and then discuss the type of ongoing support from membership within the context of the development of the Business Report for March. Council argued against a dramatic increase, and agreed on a $50 tuition increase for the 2004 program.

Council noted that the Summer Program is a vital part of the ICPSR and should be supported by membership dues to some degree; it should not become solely self-financing through tuition and fees. Gutmann suggested supporting the program with approximately $100,000 from member dues, and Council agreed that between $75,000 and $125,000 should be allocated as a fixed amount for the Program budget, within a Business Plan for FY2005.

Council also discussed how to deal with Summer Program surpluses and deficits over the next several years.

Update on SIMI

John Korey reviewed the minutes of the September 17 SIMI Committee teleconference call. Staff reported that the Gerber teaching module on the U.S. macroeconomy was recently added to SIMI and that two more modules are in the works. Committee members discussed the timing of the evaluation of the SIMI project and suggested that the evaluation take place in October 2005, a suggestion that Council approved. Staff will propose an evaluation process at the March Council meeting.

Information Technology Committee

Council: Ilona Einowski, Mark Hayward, Steve Ruggles, Bo Wandschneider (Chair)

Staff: Bryan Beecher, Peter Joftis, Janet Vavra

Visitor: Michal Peleg, European Representative

Status Updates

Bryan Beecher reported that the NSF Terscale Facility proposal was not funded. U-M may re-submit, and if they do, ICPSR will participate again.

Two UPS units were installed in the server room on Oct 2, 2003. Each provides approximately one hour of run-time at the current load. These units are supporting ICPSR's two big UNIX servers plus attached devices (e.g., RAIDs).

The U-M NOC began monitoring our website for availability in July. Basic network availability (ping) and service availability are tested every minute. Notification of problems comes via email currently, but other notification methods are available. Periods of unavailability are recorded and reported on a monthly basis.

There have been few changes on the web service continuity plan since the June Council meeting. Primary changes reflected plans that had become reality (e.g., NOC monitoring) and the decision to move forward with the "warm backup" for disaster preparedness. Council and staff discussed possible locations of such a backup. One option considered was to house the backup at the University of Minnesota. Council and staff agreed that it should be located somewhere other than the U-M campus.

Work continues on the tracking database after some interruptions by the OR Meeting and Summer Program. Staff also reported on the desktop computing plans at ICPSR. Windows 2000 is the current OS in use, and the new OS will be XP.

The Sun grant was accepted, and some equipment will be allocated to ICPSR. The grant request was for a SunFire 280R server and four StorEdge T3 Workgroup RAIDs (about 550Gb of RAID-5 storage each). ICPSR has not received the formal notification, and so the exact composition of the grant is still pending.

Online Data Analysis

Council and staff renewed this discussion from the June Council meeting. The IT Committee agreed that it would be useful to have more studies available for online analysis, but two questions remained open: Which on-line analysis system should ICPSR use and which studies should be made available?

Council discussed putting all studies into SDA (eventually) using a prioritized list to decide which ones to do first. Even if full question text is unavailable, it would still be useful since one could have SDA open in one window and the PDF codebook available in a separate window. Staff pointed out that most of this work would need to be performed by the General Archive, and that limited resources would make this difficult. Council discussed tools and grant possibilities that might be able to help with this effort. Council noted that the online analysis is a terrific teaching tool, and by making more of this available, ICPSR might be able to attract a new pool of members.

Mapping Data

Janet Vavra summarized the current practices on handling mapping data, and also described a variety of types of mapping data that are available. She noted that ICPSR does not have much in-house user support capability to assist users at this time. Council suggested that the only reasonable way to move forward is for ICPSR to find a partner or a source of money to fund an effort.

Council also discussed the possibility of housing a large GIS collection at ICPSR. GIS products are currently expensive, because there is commercial interest in GIS data. Kevin Schürer gave an example of how such data is used at the UK Data Archive where users can create maps on the website. He volunteered to give ICPSR his software if there was interest. Council suggested that ICPSR focus on and preserve the Census TIGER files for now and keep the door open to future opportunities with mapping data.

Open Session

Council and staff briefly summarized the action items to be addressed before the next meeting in March 2004.

During the Executive Session, Council discussed the schedule of meetings and whether they should continue to meet three times a year or reduce the meeting schedule to two a year. The general sense of Council was that it is important to meet three times a year, even though it is difficult for some members to participate in all three.

Council recommended that one of the two days at the June 2004 meeting have a different format and be devoted to addressing special topics of concern to Council; e.g., GIS data and whether ICPSR should begin to archive it and on what scale, membership issues, Summer Program issues, etc. This would be an all-day executive session, in effect.

Gutmann thanked the outgoing Council for their involvement, and the meeting adjourned.

Action Item

Due Date

Responsible Person

Archival Development

Draft document on preservation without dissemination

March 2004

Amy Pienta, Ilona Einowski

Lobby agencies about preservation requirement for grantees

March 2004

Myron Gutmann

Edit redistribution policy

March 2004

Peter Granda, Ilona Einowski

Place review of existing acquisitions policy on March 2004

March 2004

Peter Granda

Member Relations

Recommendations on new membership structure (and send to Outgoing Council)

March 2004

Myron Gutmann, Bree Gunter, Hank Heitowit, Mary Morris

Quantitative Research and Training

Continue with staff evaluation of SIMI

October 2005

Hank Heitowit, Dieter Burrell

Draft statement on what "evaluation" means

March 2004

Dieter Burrell

Draft business plan for Summer Program

Dec 31, 2003

Hank Heitowit, Dieter Burrell, Myron Gutmann, JD Alford

Information Technology

Report on alternative strategies for an increased capability for An online analysis at ICPSR

March 2004

Bryan Beecher

Draft policy on Tiger line files

March 2004

Peter Granda, Janet Vavra

Carry-over Items from June 2003

Planning and Policy

Draft policy on Awards Committee for Flanigan and Miller awards

March 2004

Myron Gutmann

Report a problem