ICPSR Council Minutes
March 25-26, 2004

Council members present: Darren Davis, Ilona Einowski, Charles Franklin, Ann Green, Mark Hayward, John Handy, Paula Lackie, Jim Oberly, Ruth Peterson, Walter Piovesan, Ron Rindfuss

ICPSR staff present: Erik Austin, Rita Bantom, Bryan Beecher, Dieter Burrell, Peter Granda, Sheila Grindatti, Bree Gunter, Myron Gutmann, Hank Heitowit, Cynthia Hoxey, Peter Joftis, Kaye Marz, Jim McNally, Mary Morris, Amy Pienta, Mary Vardigan, Janet Vavra, Cole Whiteman, Tom Zelenock

Visitors: Diane Geraci, University of Michigan; Michal Peleg, Hebrew University

Director's Report

New Council

Myron Gutmann began his report with a welcome to new Council members Darren Davis, Charles Franklin, Paula Lackie, Jim Oberly, Ruth Peterson, and Walter Piovesan, and to Mark Hayward as the new Council Chair. The Council election, the first conducted electronically, was very successful, with a much higher response rate than in the past.

OR Meeting

Gutmann provided a summary of the October 2003 Biennial Meeting of Official Representatives, which occurred immediately following the previous Council meeting. There were 14 sessions with 141 participants registered. Highlights of the meeting included the ICPSR 40th Anniversary celebration, with a symposium on data privacy featuring former Census Bureau Director Ken Prewitt, and a welcome to ICPSR's new location in the Perry Building. Reactions to the meeting by ORs were positive.

Reorganization and Staffing

A reorganization of ICPSR's organizational structure took effect February 1, 2004, and Gutmann reported on the resulting structure and staff changes. A new Collection Delivery unit consolidates several smaller units and has responsibility for membership, Web resources, user support, publications, and metadata. Also created was a Data Security and Preservation unit dedicated to ensuring that ICPSR remains at the forefront in these areas. New staff assignments include Mary Vardigan, Director of Collection Delivery; Janet Vavra, Director of Data Security and Preservation; and Mary Morris, Director of User Support.

Cole Whiteman, the process improvement consultant who guided the effort to examine data flow in the organization, has become a permanent ICPSR employee. Diane Geraci, a former Council member from Binghamton University, State University of New York, has taken a position as head of the University of Michigan Science Libraries and will be joining ICPSR as a Faculty Associate. Shawn Pelak, a Research Associate formerly with the ICPSR General Archive, has joined the new Child Care and Early Education archive.


Since October, the following projects have been funded:

  • Child Care and Early Education Research Connections (CCEERC) topical archive

  • MacArthur-funded project to archive and enhance the Chicago Neighborhoods data

  • Disclosure Risk Program Project

  • Susan Leonard's "Grammars of Death" Project

  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funding for a two-week visit by Amy Pienta to the UK Data Archive

Gutmann reported that there continues to be stable funding for the long-running topical archives - NACJD, SAMHDA, IAED, and NACDA - despite threats to their funding over the past year. Staff visits to BJS, NIJ, and NCES have helped to shore up funding relationships. There have been preliminary talks about a general-purpose education archive with the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

The recruitment of a director for NACJD is going well, with recent visits to ICPSR by two candidates. ICPSR is likely to make an offer to one of them in April.

Grants that were pending at the time of the last Council meeting and that were not successful include:

  • Minority Aging and Health Initiative (NIA)
  • Infrastructure Project Continuation (NSF)
  • Lay Explanations and Self-Management of Diabetes (NIA with Miami University)
  • Kinship and Demographic Behavior (NICHD) - James Lee

Currently pending are the following:

  • Participation in Michigan Aging Center Grant (NIA)
  • Library of Congress Digital Preservation Project
  • NICHD Demographic Data Archiving and Dissemination

The Library of Congress National Digital Information Infrastructure Partnership involves a partnership among the following institutions, with ICPSR as the lead:

  • Roper Center (University of Connecticut)
  • Odum Institute (University of North Carolina)
  • Murray Center (Radcliffe)
  • U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
  • Harvard-MIT Data Center

A Best and Final Offer was sent to the Library of Congress on March 5, 2004. ICPSR and the other partners submitted an additional 125 pages as part of this effort. The decision will be announced by April 15.

Partners in the NICHD Demographic Data Sharing and Archiving Project include:

  • University of Michigan Population Studies Center
  • Carolina Population Center
  • Minnesota Population Center

The main goals of this project are to disseminate data funded through NICHD's Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch, to assist PIs in archiving and distributing their data, to implement data security for complex studies, and to undertake long-term preservation of these studies. The decision on funding will be announced around May 1, 2004, for a July 1 start date.

Financial News

For FY04 Gutmann reported that ICPSR is generally ahead of the final June budget projections in terms of revenues exceeding expenses. New projects have enhanced revenues, and ISR has agreed to pay half of the Director's salary in fiscal year 2005. Also, the Membership staff, including Bree Gunter and Hank Heitowit, has done an excellent job of collecting payments from members, with revenue similar to previous years and remaining stable.

2004 Summer Program

The Summer Program website went live about a month earlier than in the past two years. There are two new courses being offered and three courses that are being reinstated after not being offered last year. The number of applications is ahead of all previous years. A draft business plan for the Summer Program will be discussed later in the meeting.

Process Review

Since the last meeting of Council, the ICPSR Process Improvement Committee (PIC) submitted a report outlining the "Ideal Process" for data flow at ICPSR. Subsequently, an External Process Review Committee, composed of Diane Geraci (Chair), Hal Winsborough, Margaret Hedstrom, and Ron Dekker, met in November. The committee consulted with ICPSR staff for two days and submitted a report.

Process improvements have begun to be implemented. Cole Whiteman has been appointed as the Process Improvement Coordinator.

Other Technology Developments

Gutmann noted that some important internal technology innovations have been completed or are under way, including a centralized system for patching and application updates that permit the computing staff to push out software updates from the main server to desktops. Also, the long-awaited study tracking system is in alpha-test. The Child Care website will go live in mid April.

Amy Pienta's systematic collection development activities have taken off. In the first half of FY04, 146 studies (389 files) were processed. These included Voter News Service 2002, Monitoring the Future 2002, and several files from the 2000 Census, which ICPSR is beginning to wrap up. The first Child Care collections (Early Head Start data) will be released when the site goes live around April 12.

Gutmann presented some pages from the site and discussed the innovations involved, including new types of content such as research reports and papers.

Budget Report

Gutmann reported that ICPSR ended last year with $1.5 million in reserves, most of which is unrestricted. He asked Council to consider whether $1.5 million is an adequate reserve amount. This question was discussed further during the Budget Committee meeting.

The 2004 budget forecast predicts that ICPSR will generate $192,000 in revenues over expenses. Projected revenues for 2005 are expected to be $317,000 over expenses. These estimates reflect a conservative approach to budget planning and cost-cutting measures. Adjustments will be forthcoming to reflect some changes, such as the Director's salary (ISR has agreed to begin covering part of the Director's salary costs).

Gutmann displayed a figure reflecting sources of revenues (e.g., membership fees, sponsored projects, computer seat-charge) and trends in revenue generating areas. Growth in external funding continues to outpace growth in membership fee revenues. Gutmann also noted that the computer recharge pays for things outside of desktop support, including the cost of other computer related services that benefit the ICPSR as a whole. Other expenses are charged individually to sponsored projects.

Process Review Report

Gutmann initiated a comprehensive review of how ICPSR processes data collections in the spring of 2003. The objective of the review was to define processing steps clearly and recommend ways in which they could be made more efficient and effective. Gutmann hired consultant Cole Whiteman to document processing procedures and established an internal Process Improvement Committee (PIC) to study all the procedures in detail and make recommendations for improvement.

The work of the PIC during the summer and fall of 2003 resulted in two reports:

  • The ICPSR Process Improvement Committee Report on the Study Pipeline Process (first edition: August 2003; second edition: October 2003) which identified inefficiencies in the current process and recommended a set of "evolutionary" changes to address them

  • The ICPSR Process Improvement Committee Report on Proposed Framework for Redesign of the Study Processing Pipeline (October 2003) expanded upon the previous evolutionary recommendations and identified several principles as the foundation for a more "revolutionary" or "Ideal Future" process to handle studies from acquisition to release

Gutmann appointed an External Review Committee, which convened in November 2003 to talk with staff about their reactions to the reports of the Process Improvement Committee. The members of this Committee included:

  • Ron Dekker, Dutch Social Science Research Council
  • Diane Geraci, Binghamton University
  • Margaret Hedstrom, University of Michigan
  • Hal Winsborough, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Diane Geraci commented that the External Review Committee felt that it was illuminating for staff to learn about the all aspects of the processing system. The Committee emphasized the importance of establishing best practices for data acquisition, preservation, and dissemination in a changing world of archival services. The Committee also offered the following recommendations:

  • Implement the evolutionary recommendations

  • Assign an implementation project manager who is responsible for assuring completion of these goals

  • Create a redesign implementation committee to refine and operationalize the "Ideal Future" Process considered in the Second Report

  • Undertake an internal review of data security practices and procedures culminating in an outside review by a responsible agency

  • Create a high-level acquisitions strategy committee to coordinate an overarching ICPSR acquisition policy and strategy

  • Articulate a preservation policy that encompasses the multitude of current and increasingly varied data types that result from social science research

Whiteman, who now serves as the implementation project manager, described the overall "metaprocess" by which process improvement suggestions are collected, reviewed, turned into projects, and implemented. He emphasized that the metaprocess is designed to be open to staff view and input, respectful of people's time and current processes, oriented to results, efficient, and trackable.

Whiteman has set up a PIC website on the ICPSR Intranet so that staff can review the status of all recommendations as they move through review and implementation.

ICPSR staff teams are moving on the implementation of the "evolutionary" recommendations first and, in particular, the development a data collection tracking system. The Committee currently has 23 projects listed on its website with details about the status of each. The Committee views its work as part of a process of continuous improvement in which performance will be checked after recommendations are implemented to make certain there are no negative effects in other areas of the organization.

Membership Structure Report

Gutmann explained that the Membership Structure Review Committee was charged with exploring two issues: 1.) whether Federations should be expanded and 2.) possible ways to reconfigure members whose institutions need to be reclassified due to growth. Based on the committee's report, Gutmann recommended that Council think about the following issues, which will be presented for final approval at the June meeting:

  • Adopting the Carnegie Classification system as it stands

  • Reducing Federation discounts to a maximum of 20%

  • Revising the ICPSR Bylaws (not the Constitution) to include these revisions

  • Implementing a six-year review cycle process

Council agreed that the Carnegie system is generally accepted as an external, academic standard and that adopting its structure will remove the ambiguity of current member categories. Discussion focused on those schools which will move from Category B to Category A, and Council stressed the importance of softening the transition with a five-year phase-in process.

Staff will rework the fee simulations to combine all Baccalaureate institutions under one label to stay in concert with the Carnegie system and present the final recommended fee structure to Council at the June meeting.

Planning and Policy Committee

Council: Charles Franklin, Ann Green, Mark Hayward (Chair), Jim Oberly, Ron Rindfuss

Staff: Erik Austin, Myron Gutmann

NACJD Director Search

Gutmann reported on continuing efforts to recruit a Director of the National Archive of Criminal Justice Director (NACJD) replacing Christopher Dunn, who left in the summer of 2003 to become Associate Dean at Bowling Green State University. Considerable progress had been made in this recruitment since the last Council meeting. Resumes or applications were received from sixteen candidates. These were reviewed by a Search committee consisting of Gutmann (Chair), Pamela Smock (Population Studies Center, and Associate Director, ISR), Robert Schoeni (Survey Research Center, ISR), Erik Austin and James McNally (ICPSR staff), and Rita Bantom (ICPSR HR Manager, ex officio). Four top candidates were selected by the Search Committee, and the top two were brought to Ann Arbor for interviews. Gutmann is now negotiating with the top candidate and that candidate's institution to settle upon a salary for the position of Associate Research Scientist. It is hoped that this appointment as Director of NACJD could begin as early as the spring or summer.

Director's Sabbatical

Gutmann described for the committee his plans for a sabbatical in 2005. He intends to be away from Ann Arbor for most of his sabbatical period (February-August, 2005), although he will return for the March and June, 2005 Council meetings. Gutmann and ISR Director David Featherman have asked Erik Austin to serve as Acting Director during Gutmann's sabbatical, and he has agreed. The committee enthusiastically endorsed the interim appointment.

PI Status for ICPSR Employees

Efforts continue in the quest to have ICPSR senior staff members declared eligible by the University of Michigan to be Principal Investigators on grants and contracts for archival projects. Committee members noted that the same issue is faced on other campuses, but reaffirmed their commitment to serving ICPSR members by seeking grants and contracts that benefit the entire membership. The committee felt strongly that PI status was an important incentive for non-PhDs on the ICPSR staff to manage externally-funded archival projects. Council chair Mark Hayward will write a letter to ISR Director David Featherman in support of PI status for ICPSR senior staff, arguing that such authority is both good for the Consortium but also good for the University of Michigan. Gutmann noted that very recently he had received signs from the U-M grants management office that they were prepared to be flexible in this matter.

ICPSR Reorganization

This item, covered in an earlier plenary session, was not discussed by the committee.

ISR Directorship Transition

The process of replacing David Featherman as Director of ISR was described to the committee. Prior to the Council meeting, Gutmann and Hayward visited University of Michigan Provost Paul Courant, and discussed the transition. Courant expects to appoint a search committee in the spring, to seek out both internal and external candidates for the position. Officials hope to have the next ISR Director in place by July 1, 2005. Hayward will write to Courant, on behalf of the Council and the ICPSR membership, with an offer to suggest candidates for the post. In the plenary discussion of this issue, Hayward asked Council members for suggestions of individuals who could be considered for the position, with the intent of including those names in his letter to Courant.

Flanigan and Miller Awards Committee

The committee reviewed a draft document prepared by Gutmann that proposed a new procedure for selecting candidates for these two awards (presented biennially at the OR meeting). The document recommended that Council create a Prizes Committee consisting of two members of Council, a previous Miller Award winner, a previous Flanigan Award winner, and a member of the ICPSR staff. Members of the Prizes Committee would be selected by the Council chair, in consultation with the ICPSR Director. The Prizes Committee would commence its work in January of odd-numbered years by soliciting written nominations from Council members, ORs, and staff. Nominations would be due by June 1, and the Prizes Committee would meet (in person or by phone) to select the winners for that year. The committee endorsed the new procedure, and asked Gutmann to re-write the document as an official ICPSR policy. In Council's plenary discussion of this issue, the new policy was enthusiastically endorsed by the full body.

Data Enclave Policies and Implementation

A draft document outlining policies for the ICPSR secure data enclave received extended discussion by the committee. That document laid out the furnishing of the enclave as well as proposed rules for the use by researchers of the facility. Committee members questioned the investment in a facility not likely to be used that much, but concluded that such a facility was needed to facilitate the acquisition of highly sensitive research data. The committee urged staff to canvass users of the Census Bureau's Research Data Centers (their equivalent of secure data enclave) to determine what did and did not work well with those facilities. The committee asked for changes in the policies portion of the draft document, particularly in the area of length of time needed for review of analytic output generated by the research users. Members of the committee agreed to have staff proceed with its plans to set up the enclave, and requested a revision of the policy document.

Review of 2003 Electronic Election

Staff reviewed for the committee the fall 2003 Council election, the first to be held electronically. Turnout increased by 67%, and many ORs noted how smoothly the process went. Comments were received from some voting ORs about the noncompetitive nature of the slate presented in the election. Committee discussion of the benefits of a competitive slate reached a tentative consensus that competitive Council elections were desirable. The committee recommended that a more complete discussion of competitive elections be put on the June, 2004 Council agenda.

Creating a Digital Archive of ICPSR's Administrative Documents

Gutmann described initial staff efforts to create digital versions of ICPSR administrative documents created in paper form over ICPSR's history. These include annual reports, newsletters, the annual versions of the data catalog (the ICPSR Guide to Resources and Services), and various documents from the ICPSR Summer Training Programs. Gutmann asked for the committee's advice on proceeding further with this conversion activity. Committee members supported the concept in principle, and encouraged staff to proceed with these conversions in a controlled, low-cost manner. They advised the staff to bring the issue back for future discussion if challenges arise in the conduct of this work.

Strategic Plan

The committee deferred discussion of the draft strategic plan to the June, 2004 Council meeting, where it will be a major item for plenary discussion.

Membership Relations Committee

Council: John Handy (Chair), Ruth Peterson, Walter Piovesan

Staff: Bree Gunter, Hank Heitowit, Mary Morris, Mary Vardigan

Membership Activity Report

Staff reported that two schools have joined this fiscal year, four schools have been dropped for nonpayment of fees, and four have given notice that they will drop at the end of this fiscal year, along with one federation. It is possible that some of those federation schools will join as individual members.

Review of 2003 OR Meeting

The committee briefly reviewed the feedback received from 27 attendees. Most ratings and statements were positive; staff will keep all feedback in mind when planning for the 2005 meeting.

Membership Restructure Report

The membership restructure report was introduced at a plenary session and discussion continued in the committee meeting. The committee focused primarily on the importance of notice and the need to inform ORs about changes to membership categories and fee structure as soon as Council makes decisions. Members of the committee are particularly concerned about those forty or so schools most impacted financially by the proposed change in membership structure. Committee members stressed the importance of preparing the groundwork for those schools; suggestions included developing marketing materials that lay out the benefits of Consortium membership, and talking personally with the ORs at those schools as well as those individuals who actually make the financial decision regarding ICPSR membership. The committee was in favor of as much advance notice of the new category and fee structure as possible and was very supportive of the phase-in period for the proposed fee structure for those schools most impacted.

The committee recommended that ICPSR adopt the Carnegie classifications for Baccalaureate Colleges (and not divide it by size of university enrollment as proposed) and that the fee for Baccalaureate Colleges be in the $2,000 range. Staff was instructed to rerun the simulations using that figure.

During the committee reports, Council asked staff to present the proposed changes in the Bylaws as a separate document for council vote at the June meeting. Council also asked staff to investigate further the 2005 edition of the Carnegie classifications being prepared by the Carnegie Foundation.

Information Technology Committee

Council: Darren Davis, Ilona Einowski (Chair), Paula Lackie

Staff: Bryan Beecher, Janet Vavra, Cole Whiteman

Visitor: Michal Peleg, European Representative

Overview of CNS and IT at ICPSR

Bryan Beecher began with an overview of the ICPSR Computing and Network Services group, highlighting CNS staff responsibilities, successes thus far this fiscal year, anticipated successes yet to come, and the CNS budget. Council mentioned that it would be useful to have wireless service for the next OR meeting.

Council suggested that the IT Committee grow to include ICPSR representation not only from CNS but also from the Collection Delivery team, since that team has responsibility for the ICPSR Web interface.

Web Services Continuity Plan

There was some discussion of the website registration system to be deployed during the fourth quarter of 2004. This is a self-service "MyICPSR" user view of the website. Users will create a password-protected identity and authenticate to the site and can set preferences to control the site's appearance and behavior. We expect that users will find this a desirable feature; for ICPSR this is a way to learn a bit about who is using the site and how. This will also enable ICPSR to build additional services such as user-specific notification of new study availability. Although it has taken a while to get all archives on board with this idea, many staff are eager to know who logs in; others, citing privacy concerns, have been adamant about ensuring that ICPSR will not know who logs in. The privacy concerns will be addressed by tailoring registration policies on a per-archive basis.

Last year, Council requested a document on Service Level Objectives and Service Continuity for ICPSR Online Services. At that time Beecher enumerated several potential ways that CNS could improve online service uptime, and has since implemented most of them. The following initiatives remain to be done: create and maintain an offsite electronic copy of the website and archives, and establish an automated monitoring system to track service availability and raise alerts when services are not visible.

Beecher noted that CNS has lots of insulation against potential small problems with the web server (such as disk failures and power failures), but not against a big serious problem (such as a building fire). The server room uses water-based fire protection; staff asked Council to think about whether CNS should switch to Halon or find an alternative location in the event of such an occurrence.

Currently ICPSR has one server that is used for both testing and production of Web content. This results in occasional confusion for users when a study is released, subjected to final testing, and then retracted as errors are found. To address this problem, CNS is interested in deploying a separate staging server - a place where staff can fully view and test new Web content, then "push a button" to copy them to a separate production server. CNS is exploring this with its new server for the CCEERC archive. Michal Peleg noted, from her experience with a similar arrangement, that it provides some defense against hacker damage; if the production server is compromised, staff can reload data from the test server.

Janet Vavra, in her new position as head of ICPSR Data Security and Preservation, will be putting together a Data Security plan with some IT-related components. Its scope will include how ICPSR brings data in, handles it internally, stores it, determines which elements are sensitive, maintains it, and distributes it. She expects the plan to have an impact on every ICPSR unit.

Strategic Technology Plan

There was some discussion of the matter of the expense of backing up data. Currently ICPSR expends a great deal of resources on backup tapes, given the low frequency of recovery requests. CNS gets occasional requests (perhaps four per month) from staff to recover data they have deleted inadvertently or prematurely. CNS gets no requests to recover data lost in a disaster. The tape recovery process is time-consuming and expensive. To address the cost and effort issues of backup and recovery, Beecher is considering short-term "warm backups" to disk rather than tape and will report to Council in June on the benefits both the staging and warm backup servers. Vavra also suggested shifting to larger capacity tapes (from 40G to 120G). Council also requested that she compose a policy statement on how IT would handle geographic data (such as TIGER files).

ICPSR has just received a $45k grant from Sun Microsystems for server equipment: a Solaris server and 1.5 terabytes of RAID storage. CNS is considering whether to deploy this as a staging Web server, or as a warm backup server.

Council mentioned the need to evaluate data analysis systems, and scheduled it for the plenary-style meetings in October. ICPSR should be fairly far along with the NESSTAR experiment of publishing datasets of challenging size (30 million records), and so should be in a better position to compare NESSTAR with SDA.

Summer Program Business Plan Report

Hank Heitowit presented the first iteration of a Summer Program Business Plan. The presentation covered the expenditure and income patterns for the 2003 Program. In addition, there was information on the Program schedule, facilities, enrollment patterns, and pricing schemes. He then presented several possible ways to grow the Program in terms of both income and curriculum development, and the potential impact that such growth might have on the Program budget.

There followed a discussion on the part of Council and staff. Topics raised included: the appropriate amount of a contribution from the general ICPSR Operating Budget to the Summer Program budget; Program fee rates; and potential impact of Program expansion, including trying to identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunity costs. Other topics discussed included locating courses in off-season time frames and in other locations outside Ann Arbor.

It was noted that we should attempt to balance the curriculum so as not to over-load specific time frames, nor neglect the many different constituencies that the Program tries to serve. Suggestions were also made to offer more courses devoted to the analysis of specific data sets, as well as on topics that have substantive themes as opposed to a strictly methodological focus. The organization could also explore adding courses on qualitative data issues.

There was some sentiment expressed about raising Program fees charges. A cautionary note was voiced that we needed to be careful not to price graduate students out of our potential market.

Budget Committee

Council: Ann Green, John Handy (Chair), Mark Hayward, Walter Piovesan

Staff: JD Alford, Bryan Beecher, Myron Gutmann

FY2004 Year End Projection

Staff distributed a summary of the FY2004 year end projection. Total revenue in excess of expenses is projected to be $192,000, and total reserves are projected to be $1.7 million. Staff noted that indirect cost recovery is tracking as expected, and that ICPSR has been spending out its grants and contracts. Newly deployed systems and processes are making it easier for ICPSR to manage its spending.

Council and staff established a 7-10 year target for reserves at $4.5-$5.0 million, noting that an average annual surplus of about $300,000 would achieve that goal. Council and staff recognized that it may be desirable to run a smaller surplus in some years in order to take advantage of opportunities that may materialize. An annual surplus of 3-5% of revenue was offered as a target, although staff cautioned that this target is easy to miss if there is even one medium-sized unanticipated expense during the fiscal year.

FY2005 Draft Budget

Staff noted that the FY2005 draft budget includes all known and anticipated expenses. The budget aims for $300,000 of revenues in excess of expenses, but this could grow closer to $400,000 since ISR will be covering a share of the ICPSR Director's salary in FY2005.

Council asked that staff revisit the inclusion of funds for an OR Sabbatical.

Space Charges for Perry Building

Staff stated that the space charges for the Perry Building will be about $299,000 in FY2005. Staff noted that the recent Memorandum of Agreement between the ISR Centers adds stability and predictability to space charges over the next 15 years, even with a new ISR Director in CY2005.

Data Enclave Construction

Council approved the expenditure of funds for constructing the secure data enclave. Staff estimated these costs to be $20-25,000.

Summer Program Actions

Council re-affirmed that they strongly endorse the philosophy of subsidizing the Summer Program since it is a core part of ICPSR's mission. Council and staff suggested that member funds supporting the Summer Program should be used for two purposes: tuition subsidies for ICPSR member institutions (historically these have been $500/student), and Summer Program leadership costs.

Council suggested that should the Summer Program begin to generate revenues in excess of expenses, these funds should be used to build a separate reserve for the Summer Program or for funding additional scholarships.

Quantitative Research and Training Committee

Council: Charles Franklin, Paula Lackie, Jim Oberly

Staff: Dieter Burrell, Hank Heitowit

Summer Program Business Plan

The Committee continued the discussion of the Summer Program from the morning Plenary Session. It was noted that five courses from 2003 had low enrollments. Three were dropped, and two have other institutional constraints - the Quantitative Historical Analysis course is partly funded by the University of Michigan, and the Quantitative Analysis of Crime and Criminal Justice is funded by BJS.

It was mentioned that the Program does not charge externally-funded courses for infrastructure costs, as an added benefit to those topical archives affiliating with ICPSR. The sponsored courses neither cost us funds up front (but do carry infrastructure costs), nor do they make money for ICPSR.

There was also a discussion of additions/deletions to course offerings as well as changes to the instructional staff. Heitowit noted that the proper venue for making decisions on courses and instructors was in the Summer Program Advisory Committee.

The Committee discussed alternative methods of offering course materials:

  • out-of-summer weekend courses in Ann Arbor
  • off-site, out-of-summer courses
  • digital video of classes
  • online courses
  • video teleconference courses (live courses)
  • short courses at professional conferences
  • traveling short courses to specific locations on other campuses

Council asked staff to create a spread sheet that presents the costs and income for each Summer Program course. We also need to set the financial accounting issue within the broader domain of curriculum development including serving our constituencies. Staff will also prepare a specific review of alternative methods of delivering courses and content along with some evaluation of these alternatives. In October, staff will present a detailed budget analysis for each individual course including costs, funding, and fees, and a second document on the pedagogic and curriculum goals of the Program and individual courses.

SIMI Activities

Jim Oberly gave a brief history of the SIMI initiative, the instructional modules, and the website for new Council members. The committee will be reconstituted with Lackie and Oberly as Co-chairs, and will organize a conference call in the spring and a meeting in November. Gutmann and Hayward will work with them to appoint additional committee members.

Gutmann noted that Oberly's suggestions are on track with current budgeting for SIMI: we need a strong evaluation by October 2005 of the SIMI Initiative, and we need a strong statement by the SIMI Committee on whether ICPSR should continue with the current type of SIMI modules or shift in another direction such as online analysis.

Archival Development Committee

Council: Darren Davis, Ilona Einowski, Ruth Peterson, Ron Rindfuss (Chair)

Staff: Peter Granda, Peter Joftis, JoAnne O'Rourke, Amy Pienta

Report on Acquisitions

The committee briefly reviewed the report on acquisitions. Staff clarified that Council recommendations for new acquisitions are encouraged and welcomed.

Policy on Archiving Without Dissemination

Staff pointed out several reasons for developing a policy on acquisitions without dissemination:

  • ICPSR needs a statement for handling requests that come to us for preservation without dissemination via the usual paths

  • It is important to take advantage of the institutional memory regarding a particular data collection while it is still available

  • If dataset is significant, then it is important to obtain it whenever possible

  • The quality of the preservation is very important and easier to guarantee the sooner a collection is archived.

Reasons for investigators to delay dissemination include embargo (e.g., waiting until a book is published), self-dissemination, and human subjects protections. The committee discussed the cost of preservation and noted that there is no direct short-term benefit to the membership for preservation-only data. Staff pointed out that even data collected 50 to 60 years ago are still very interesting and that new methods can often provide new insights into older data. The committee preferred the term "delayed dissemination" rather than "without dissemination."

The committee also discussed the possible motivation for data depositors to archive data without dissemination. Motivation could involve human subjects issues, which include important reasons for not disseminating data for a long time (e.g., very old people, very specific geography that could be linked to land use data and ultimately to each house, and bio-markers like DNA and HIV). In fact, researchers may not want to submit data with human subjects concerns at all. It was also noted that there is a misperception that people at U-M or closely associated with ICPSR have greater access to the data.

Though this policy represents a break with past policy, generally, the committee did not see any philosophical problems with accepting data for delayed dissemination but wanted to balance that with some timeframe within which we could expect to be able to disseminate the data. Otherwise, "delayed dissemination" could mean 50 or more years. The committee agreed that a timeframe would be preferable to waiting for a specific event (e.g., a book or first journal article being published). The committee also noted that it may be necessary to process the data as soon as possible after receiving it so the investigator and others close to the data will still be available to answer questions. If we wait until it is close to the time we will disseminate the data, the people most familiar with the data may not be available.

Staff noted that some variables in the Eurobarometers are under embargo for a maximum of two years for use by the principal investigators. Some variations of the data are released early, and the remainder are released at the two-year mark. The committee agreed that the clock should begin when the data are handed over to ICPSR and that embargoed data should not be held longer than one year after receipt.

The issue of the valuing of data was brought up as a potential problem: what data collections should be accepted for delayed dissemination and which should be rejected? The committee deferred this discussion to a later meeting.

Council suggested that staff create an IRB-like committee to review data to be released to ensure full disclosure analysis. Council also requested that the reasons for delayed dissemination be re-ordered in the policy to convey a hierarchy, as follows: 1.) human subjects protections, 2.) self-dissemination, and 3.) embargo.

Policy on Re-distribution of Data

ICPSR received a request to use a subset of variables in the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study (ICPSR 3818) for a textbook related workbook used to teach students about statistics in criminal justice. This prompted staff to request a policy from Council about the redistribution of data so that staff can handle future requests without involving Council.

In the draft policy, staff realized that the ICPSR data deposit form lacks verbiage about redistributing data, and amended the form to include new language. Staff also added a reference to the ICPSR terms of use in the Bylaws.

The committee reviewed the draft policy and noted that the policy does not include anything about metadata, and only refers to "other materials" in addition to data. The committee discussed the difficulty in regulating the use of metadata, especially for non-commercial uses and asked staff to draft a policy regarding the re-distribution of metadata. Council members asked about the nature and volume of previous requests. Some previous requests were commercial and therefore had no benefit to membership.

Council approved the request regarding the College Alcohol Study and requested to see a year's worth of requests and corresponding Council decisions in order to make a decision about how to proceed with a general policy.

Letter from Zentral Archiv

ICPSR received a letter regarding the purchase of CD's containing the 1999-2000 European Values Survey. The cost would be $50 Euros per copy and the data are distributed on CD only. Staff reported that we have purchased 20-30 copies in the past and then distribute those to members as requested. Staff requested more explicit rules or guidelines from Council regarding when ICPSR should obtain data on CD versus when we should send people to other archives.

European archives make these data available; therefore, the committee wondered whether duplicating this effort would benefit the membership. One benefit would be that they get the data at no cost. Data distributed by ICPSR on CD are catalogued as usual and show up in searches of our holdings.

The general issue raised by this request involves what the link between ICPSR and other archives should be, since these data are available elsewhere. The committee discussed whether it would be desirable to try and get a site license. Staff reported that we have not tried to negotiate a site license for these types of data, but Council noted that these types of data are easy to obtain and that they are typically low cost.

The committee recommended that we deny the request from the ZA on the grounds that it is a marketing request. Council felt they did not have enough information to make a fully informed recommendation regarding a general policy and requested that staff provide a summary of issues and recommendations for the June Council meeting.

Collection Development Policy

Staff reported that this policy was written about four years ago and needs to be made more specific (it is now quite general). The role of the Acquisitions Director also needs to be factored in, since this is a relatively new position.

Council agreed that internal and external IRB reviews are needed. The internal review could consist of staff only or a combination of Council and staff. Council also agreed that the new draft should include:

  • The role of the Acquisitions Director

  • Whether or not ICSPR should have IRB oversight (or some mechanism for external review)

  • Possible new directions/disciplines from which to obtain data

  • Criteria for acquisitions

  • An assessment of the quality of potential data holdings

Child Care Archive and Recent Proposals

The committee agreed that members could read the documents on the child care archive and recent proposals outside the committee meeting.

Open Session

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

Archival Development

The Council approved the Redistribution of IPCSR Data Collections Policy and recommended minor revisions to the Preservation Data with Delayed Dissemination Policy. The Council requested an additional policy on the distribution of metadata. In June, the Council will discuss data collections archived elsewhere and will review the Collection Development policy.


The Council appreciates the work of the staff on the Membership Restructure Report. They agreed to the timeline and the use of the Carnegie classification system. Staff will revise the recommendation using the exact Carnegie categories and revised fee simulations. Changes to the Bylaws will be made at the June meeting.

Planning and Policy

Mark Hayward will send a letter to David Featherman to endorse the PI status for ICPSR employees. Hayward will also send a letter to Paul Courant recommending candidates for the ISR Director position. Gutmann will prepare a formal policy for the Flanigan and Miller Award Committee. The Council will recommend possible replacements for Liz Gerber by April 26. The Council recommended that staff proceed on the data enclave policies and implementation. The Council also approved the creation of a digital archive of ICPSR's administrative documents without additional burden to cost and time. In June, the Council will discuss the 2003 electronic election and the Strategic Plan.

Quantitative Training

The Council praised staff's first draft of the Summer Program Business Plan. They recommended that it be revised with more information on alternative developments in new instructional approaches. They would also like a more detailed budget analysis and implications for course offerings to be included. The Council approved the reconstitution of the SIMI Committee.

Information Technology

The Council requested a review of the use of new server(s) for warm back-up and staff recommendations for data security. The report on Tiger Line files was deferred until June.


The Council requested that the final budget include funds for more OR sabbaticals and member funds for Summer Program leadership and scholarships.

Council thanked the staff for their work on the briefing books and the meeting adjourned.

Council Action Items - March 2004




Archival Development

Revise preservation with delayed dissemination policy

June 2004

Amy Pienta, Ilona Einowski

Prepare discussion on data archived elsewhere

June 2004

Peter Granda

Review Collection Development Policy

June 2004

Amy Pienta

Prepare policy on distribution of metadata

June 2004

Mary Vardigan


Add OR sabbatical to final budget

June 2004

Myron Gutmann, JD Alford

Implement Secure Data Enclave

Include member funds for Summer Program leadership and scholarships

June 2004

Myron Gutmann, JD Alford

Member Relations

Revise recommendations using exact Carnegie categories

June 2004

Myron Gutmann, Bree Gunter

Revise fee simulations with the lowest fee at $2,000

June 2004

Myron Gutmann, Bree Gunter

Propose a change in Bylaws as a formal document

June 2004

Mary Morris

Quantitative Research and Training

Prepare revised Business Plan with more information on alternative developments in new instructional approaches

Oct. 2004

Hank Heitowit, Dieter Burrell

Prepare more detailed budget analysis and implications for course offerings in Business Plan

Oct. 2004

Hank Heitowit

Reconstitute SIMI Committee

March 2004

Dieter Burrell

Information Technology

Review use of new server(s) for warm backup

June 2004

Bryan Beecher

Prepare initial data security recommendations

June 2004

Janet Vavra

Prepare deferred report on Tiger Line files

June 2004

Janet Vavra

Planning and Policy

Send letter to Featherman about PI status for ICPSR staff

Mark Hayward

Send letter to Courant about choices for ISR Director

Mark Hayward

Prepare formal policy for Flanigan/Miller Award Committee

June 2004

Myron Gutmann

Recommend possible replacements for Liz Gerber to Mark

April 26


Revise Secure Data Enclave documents

Mary Morris

Discussions for future meetings:

June 2004

  1. Changes to the Council nomination process
  2. Strategic Plan

October 2004

  1. User Support, Online Analysis, and the 2005 web page
  2. Future of the Summer Program and Business Plan
  3. SIMI

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