ICPSR Council Minutes
June 26-27, 2004
Council members present: Ilona Einowski, Elisabeth Gerber, Ann Green (Chair), Mark Hayward, John Korey, Steve Ruggles, James Sweet, Bo Wandschneider
ICPSR staff present: Erik Austin, Rita Bantom, Bryan Beecher, Dieter Burrell, Edward Czilli, Chris Dunn, Peter Granda, Sheila Grindatti, Bree Gunter, Myron Gutmann (Director), Hank Heitowit, Peter Joftis, Stacey Kubitz, Jim McNally, Mary Morris, Mary Vardigan, Janet Vavra
Visitors: Tamás Rudas, TARKI, Hungary; Dorothy Russell, ISR; Pam Smock, ISR; Cole Whiteman, ICPSR Consultant
Process Review Description
The Council, meeting in plenary session, discussed the Process Review Project that ICPSR has undertaken in the current calendar year. Myron Gutmann described the goals of this project, which are to develop a mechanism to understand our current data archiving, processing, and dissemination activities clearly and then design a software system to track the flow of information through the organization. The ultimate aim of the project is to improve our processes and procedures in order to deliver data collections to our users as efficiently as possible.
Gutmann introduced Cole Whiteman, who was hired as an outside consultant in April, to review and document current processing steps. Whiteman prepared a detailed process "map" that he showed to Council. He concentrated his presentation on an overview of all the steps, taking a closer look at the section of the diagram that describes intensive processing. Whiteman emphasized that his efforts were still a 'work in progress,' but his objective was to address both the Council and ICPSR staff and ultimately provide a training tool for the organization as well.
Council members remarked that the flow chart could serve many purposes providing different levels of detail for different users. The 'tracking' database, which will monitor the flow of information throughout the organization, should include a time-stamped log file to highlight the major decision points as studies proceed from acquisition to release. Since the creation of metadata is such an important part of the process, Council suggested that when and how such metadata was created could significantly affect the entire processing operation. Council also thought that the creation of this processing model would become an important long-term evaluative tool for managers and staff as they evaluate what they learn and address issues raised by the model in their day-to-day work.
Gutmann described the steps that would follow and reviewed the process timeline that was distributed at the meeting. A Process Improvement Committee, with Bryan Beecher as Chair, will produce a report by September 15 delineating ways in which processes could be improved and proposing recommendations to implement the improvements. An external advisory group will also be formed in the early fall to meet with staff and evaluate the recommendations of the Process Improvement Committee. An Implementation Plan will be announced in November with recommended changes scheduled for completion by the end of June, 2004.
The Council recommended that ICPSR provide its user community with timely announcements to keep them informed about the intent of this initiative and reports on reaching its goals.
Gutmann reiterated the importance of the process review project at ICPSR, reported in the plenary session.
News Since March
Gutmann reported that there are approximately 650 students expected for this year's Summer Program. He distributed a quarterly report of data collections and noted that there are now 272 members of ICPSR Direct. There is no news on pending grants, but he did report that ICPSR is a part of the University of Michigan's Extensible Terascale Facility proposal, which will provide money for ICPSR's backup server if funded. Gutmann anticipates that applications for a Demography Archive and a Child Care Archive will be made during the second half of 2003. He also reported that the search for a Director of NACJD has begun.
Strategic Planning Discussion
Gutmann reviewed the following key principles and tasks of ICPSR:
- ICPSR is a membership organization.
- ICPSR archives, preserves, disseminates, and facilitates the use of social science data.
- ICPSR provides on-site instruction on quantitative methods for graduate students and faculty.
- ICPSR provides equitable access to data.
He then explored the following key strategic questions that ICPSR should ask:
How should the ICPSR Collection develop in the future? Gutmann asked Council to think about the structure of the topical archives and whether they should be strategically chosen or simply reflect opportunity. He also discussed whether ICPSR should place more emphasis on large surveys with extensive secondary analysis prospects or smaller studies with more limited prospects. Is it better to have more studies that are less intensively processed, or fewer studies that are more intensively processed?
What should education activities look like in the future? Council should think about what the optimal size and structure of the Summer Program is. Should ICPSR extend its off-site program and make courses available to new audiences, such as policy makers? Gutmann also discussed extending the program to include undergraduate instruction, and asked if staff should investigate the demand for that service.
What is the future of membership? Gutmann discussed what is included in the membership of ICPSR and what types of institutions are represented. He noted that the balance between membership activities and externally sponsored funding needs to be explored.
Gutmann concluded by asking Council to think about the process of developing a strategic plan, who should lead that process, and what role Council should play.
Membership Relations Committee
Council: John Korey (Chair), Tamás Rudas (European Representative), Bo Wandschneider
Staff: Hank Heitowit, Mary Morris
2004-2005 Dues Increase
Council approved the staff-recommended 3% dues increase for the 2004-2005 fiscal year.
2003 OR Meeting Update
The committee finalized the proposed OR Meeting agenda and indicated that staff should move forward with contacting presenters. The committee also endorsed the proposed Miller and Flanigan awardees.
Extending ICPSR Direct to National Members
ICPSR Direct was not offered to national members when it was introduced in 2000 because at that time an ad-hoc committee on membership structure was considering all membership issues, including the relationship between nationals and ICPSR. It was suggested that the ad-hoc committee recommend structure and uniformity for national members, after which we could offer ICPSR Direct. Another issue regarding ICPSR Direct and national members related to managing the potentially large number of IP addresses.
Recent requests for ICPSR Direct service from nationals called for a review of that decision. The committee was uncertain as to when the ad-hoc membership structure committee would be addressing the national membership issues and was reluctant to postpone a decision about nationals and ICPSR Direct. Committee members suggested that offering ICPSR Direct to nationals would be an incentive for them to maintain membership even if at some point the ad-hoc committee recommends changes to the configuration and fee structure of national memberships.
Committee members recommended opening this service to national members with the proviso that it does not become burdensome to staff in terms of managing the database.
Recruitment Initiative for Non-members
At the March Council meeting, staff and committee members discussed the costs involved in contacting and visiting non-member schools for recruitment purposes, and the fact that our current budget precludes such activities. Committee members decided that an initial personal contact by a Council member could be an alternative method, and instructed staff to prepare a cover letter that Council members could send to colleagues at non-member schools. The cover letter and list of non-member schools were sent to all Council in May, and staff has not yet received any membership inquiries. Council members were encouraged to use this method if they have colleagues at non-member schools.
Membership Activity Report
This fiscal year, eight universities have joined ICPSR (including one rejoin), and five schools will drop at the end of this fiscal year. Lack of usage was the main reason given for the schools that were dropping membership. Additionally, five universities will be dropped for nonpayment of annual dues. Although the membership coordinator worked with these schools, their budgetary concerns precluded them from paying their fees.
Archival Development Committee
Council: Ilona Einowski, Steve Ruggles (Chair)
Staff: Peter Granda, Jim McNally, Amy Pienta, Mary Vardigan
New Data Acquisitions
Amy Pienta opened with a discussion of her work as the new Director of Data Acquisitions. She reported that she has identified unique data collections that are in line for each of the major archives within ICPSR and has already acquired a data set on China which is being processed though NACDA. In terms of the General Archive, Pienta requested Council to consider the needs and directions that serve this broad archival group. She has a solid working list for NACDA, and Peter Granda has suggested some data for the Education Archive that were identified in a recent advisory meeting for that group. SAMHDA has also made suggestions regarding possible data directions.
Council asked how the acquisitions goals fit within the broader framework that Gutmann laid out for the strategic plan earlier that morning. There is also an interest in how the new data will be managed within the limitations of time and manpower. Staff pointed out that at present, the General Archive has several dozen studies at the moment, each at various stages in the acquisition process.
Review of Archival Data Processing Operations
Council suggested that the Welfare Workplace Study might be useful for ICPSR and may represent something that could be placed within the SDA archive. Staff indicated that there is a dual cost. It is cheap to acquire data and make it safe however, processing is a major cost. Staff asked Council to consider public relations issues as well. What are the potential costs of acquiring a study that just sits and is not processed? Could this generate ill will with depositor?
The committee discussed the fact that although a study has been assigned a number, it cannot be viewed by the user community until it is processed. Staff noted that some data, such as fast track data, can be self archiving, however most unprocessed studies cannot be accessed. The reason for this is that we have to make sure that the available data is safe and does not violate confidentiality.
Council asked staff to describe the Decision Matrix concept. Would we want to try and write something down that takes advantage of this? Do we want to develop a formal archival policy? How would we go about creating a systematic decision tree? Council asked Pienta to work on identifying holes in the General Archive's collections and noted that reviewing the processes will be a good way to streamline certain activities.
Content of the Variables Database Currently Under Development
Staff reported that there are 47 studies currently in the database, but it is difficult to know what the final structure of the database will be. Some suggestions were a SPIRES structure or aggregate series data. Staff also noted that users can search for a specific subset of a study, and that perhaps 20 more studies will be added.
Council asked whether we should go for diversity or continue with our current focus. Staff indicated that while diversity would increase the quantity of the variables, it would not increase the quality of the variables. Council agreed that the current direction is the right way to go with these studies, noting that it makes sense to move slowly and to test one research area thoroughly. Staff also noted that we used to have a search function for PDF codebooks, and that we may be able to bring this function back with the new system.
Renewed Availability of IMF Data
Staff reported that discussions are ongoing. We are still waiting for a cost estimate and expect the cost to be prohibitive.
The World Values Survey was recently made publicly available through the U-M Library but has since been taken off the public access site. Staff also noted that two scholars wish to use ICPSR data for grant development. Council did not feel this would be problematic.
Regarding the Research Data Center, Council noted that Chicago is doing well with their seat, but everyone is having some difficulty in getting interest in the data. Costs are also an issue. Council requested that staff continue to monitor the RDC on a regular basis to determine if the benefits are worth the costs.
Recent Proposals Submitted/Awarded
Staff reported that we are still waiting for the results of all recently submitted grant proposals.
Council: Ann Green, Jim Sweet (Chair)
Staff: Myron Gutmann, Stacey Kubitz
Status Report on FY2003 Budget
Staff shared with Council that as of 5/31/03, they projected ending the fiscal year $612,000 unfavorably (including Perry furniture) leaving us with approximately $1,310,000 in reserves. They further explained that the revised projections were more favorable than forecast in March due to the following:
- Concerted efforts to transfer staff effort to sponsored projects, which relieved member dues and generated more IDC revenue
- Reduction of all member dues spending
- Receipt of CCRA and RWJ awards
- Deferral of some expenses until FY04 (NHGIS cost sharing for example)
Review of Professional Development at ICPSR
The discussion was primarily handled with the Policy and Planning Committee meeting.
Fringe Benefits and Related Costs at ICPSR
Historically, ICPSR has used a 28% rate for budgeting. Staff is in the early stages of reviewing whether or not this rate is reasonable. Preliminary findings suggest that 28% is not sufficient. In the absence of a complete analysis, staff set aside $225,000 for a fringe benefit reserve.
2004-2005 Dues Increase
The 3% dues increase was voted on and passed in the meeting's first committee reports session.
The discussion of the FY2004 budget was brief as the exhibits had not changed significantly since March. Staff is projecting $168,000 revenues in excess of expenses for FY2004. Staff highlighted the following changes: staff set aside $225,000 for a fringe benefits reserve, the Computer and Network Services budget was augmented to purchase a UPS system and to accrue funds for the Sun systems replacement ($10,000 and $36,000, respectively), the Official Representatives meeting budget was increased to $65,000 from $50,000, the recruitment budget was increased to $15,000 from $10,000 to accommodate the recruitment of a new NACJD Director, and member dues revenue estimates decreased to $2,671,000 from $2,700,000 based on recent member communications.
Quantitative Research and Training Committee
Council: Liz Gerber, John Korey (Chair)
Staff: Dieter Burrell, Edward J. Czilli, Hank Heitowit, Amy Pienta
Update on Summer Program
Staff provided an overview of the 2003 Summer Program. Although the Program's primary goal is to serve the membership, it reaches out to non-members with funding where possible.
Due to increased enrollment this year, the Program will incur higher costs for duplicating, the hiring of additional teaching assistants, etc. The committee noted that there is a trade-off between costs and support for faculty and participants and members were satisfied that the Program is investing the resources needed to accomplish its mission.
Update on QMUG
Efforts continue to secure special funding for minority support in the Summer Program. Funding agencies would like to see proof of need. Hank Heitowit and Dieter Burrell have developed a questionnaire that deals with knowledge of quantitative material. They intend to send the questionnaire to students enrolled in top-tier social science programs.
Other potential sources of funding suggested were the Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation. The committee requested that a proposal be prepared the fall meeting.
Update on SIMI
There has been slow initial progression in the acquisition of new modules, but there are number of modules currently in development. The committee suggested that Amy Pienta may be able to assist ICPSR in encouraging scholars to develop and contribute instructional modules.
The committee proposed that the SIMI evaluation period should begin in September 2003. The initial start date of June 2003 proved problematic because Burrell's Summer Program responsibilities have limited the amount of time available for him to devote to SIMI.
The committee discussed the types of instructional material that ICPSR might archive (i.e., static data files, interactive websites). Burrell is engaged in the creation of a set of methods for archiving instructional materials.
While some individuals and institutions use the SIMI material, the committee would like to get a better sense of which institutions use the material and how they employ it.
Report on new Space in the Perry Building
Summer Program offices will move to the second floor of the Perry Building this fall.
Discussion of Fee Structure for the Summer Program
Although the Summer Program is priced well relative to other institutions, Program fees may need to increase next year in order to meet budget requirements. Heitowit will prepare a report on the Summer Program fee structure for the October meeting.
CIC students can take Summer Program courses and pay home in-state tuition. Currently CIC students cannot enroll for one-week courses. Long would like to open up more courses for CIC student enrollment. The discussion was tabled until October when Scott will be present for the discussion.
Information Technology Committee
Council: Bo Wandschneider (Chair), Ilona Einowski, Mark Hayward, John Korey, Steve Ruggles
Staff: Bryan Beecher, Peter Joftis, and Janet Vavra
Update on March 2003 Action Items
Revised Strategic Technology Plan: No revised Strategic Technology Plan was presented. Staff asked the Council to defer this item and to discuss possible technologies that ICPSR may use in the future as part of the second agenda item.
Revised Web Services Continuity Plan: Staff provided the committee with an updated copy of the Service Level Objectives and Service Continuity for ICPSR Online Services document, incorporating the revisions requested by Council during discussions of the first draft at the March 2003 meeting. The changes requested earlier by Council were presented and discussed.
The Time to Respond and Time to Repair on page 3 were further clarified. Time to Respond is within 30 minutes during normal business hours or the next business day at other times. Time to Repair is within 4 hours during normal business hours and the next business day otherwise. These numbers are consistent with key ICPSR service contracts, such as the one for hardware support with Sun Microsystems. Council asked staff to assure that the information on our website also reflects this.
The Perry Building LAN diagram was updated to reflect some recent changes. ICPSR has added some additional LAN switches, but more importantly, the switch serving the web server is now multi-homed. It is connected to both the "primary" distribution switch and the "secondary" distribution switch, and so can survive the failure of either.
Council had voiced concern about service monitoring at ICPSR. Bryan Beecher has been involved in discussions with the University's Network Operations Center to work out a contract to monitor our servers. The University charges $10 per month for each server they monitor. The $10 per month charge could include both monitoring and recovery services if we wanted. Beecher is interested in learning how often there are problems and what they are. Being able to see what patterns emerge would enable us to then arrange for additional services if warranted. We could request that the University Network Operations staff login to our servers and make whatever fix is needed.
Discussions with the University group about this were moving along very nicely in May, and it was expected that this contract would be completed by the end of May. However, this did not materialize and Beecher is currently waiting for responses to several emails he has sent inquiring about the status of the agreement.
During the March meeting there was discussion about having ICPSR staff "on call" to perform service on the system as needed. Currently, we can call on staff and they come in and take care of the problem during "off hours". But, if we are going to require that staff be "on call" at all times outside of normal business hours, they will need to be paid at an hourly rate that is equal to 20% of the minimum salary in the salary grade of the staff member involved. Staff estimate this cost at about $20,000 per year. Clearly, the network monitoring option noted above is cheaper.
If there are concerns about catastrophic happenings such as fires, floods, etc., then the staff recommends that ICPSR have delivery systems replicated in a separate location. The staff has presented more detailed information about a "warm" backup option in item d of the handout materials for this meeting.
Council instructed staff to maintain the current status quo about "on call" and watch what is happening.
UPS Purchase: Staff intended to purchase a UPS system the last quarter of the current fiscal year, however, early in 2003, all staff were instructed to postpone all unnecessary spending due to budget constraints and so this purchase was suspended. We now plan on purchasing a UPS system in either the first or second quarter of fiscal year 2004. Money for the purchase has been allocated in the FY2004 budget. We have also identified a system that will meet our current needs and provide for some additional capacity.
Warm Backup: Staff laid out costs for providing a warm backup for the ICPSR website and concluded that a warm backup is cheapest to implement and would do what we needed. Staff are looking for a location that would be near us geographically (i.e., North America), and would also be connected to Internet2's Abilene network. We have assumed that we would replace the equipment every five years.
ICPSR was recently contacted by a group on campus asking that we participate with them in a proposal to be part of the U-M partnership in the Extensible Terascale Facility (ETF). If this proposal is successful, ICPSR would receive $20,000 for equipment that would serve this purpose. We have in mind a Sun Fire V210 server with a 450GB Sun StorEdge RAID-5 storage unit. If the grant is not funded, we will need assistance from Council in determining whether we wait for another year and then allocate the money ($20,000) in the next fiscal year, or how we proceed. The committee recommended that the equipment be purchased if the grant is awarded. If the proposal is not successful, then some attempt should be made to put this purchase into the budget.
Capital Equipment Budgeting: Beecher and Stacey Kubitz met with the University's Cost Reimbursement office staff in May to explore ways that ICPSR could handle capital expenses for computing equipment over the long term. They were advised that we could use the recharge to recover cost on capital equipment. If a piece of equipment is purchased with a given lifetime, the cost of that equipment can be divided by the years of its lifetime and each following year that amount can be recovered through the recharge rate. This cannot be done retroactively once a year is over, but it can be done for all remaining years in the lifetime of a piece of equipment. The money is held in an accrual account from which the new purchase can be made.
ICPSR plans to implement this by adding an entry to the Computer Recharge account which will begin recovering the costs of our Sun systems that run our web server and our staff server. The recovery of these costs will begin in Fiscal Year 2004.
NSF Extensible Terascale Facility (ETF): The existing Extensible Terascale Facility (ETF) consists of a 40 gigabyte network pipe between two hubs, one at Los Angeles and the other at Chicago. Both Chicago and Los Angeles have a small number of attached sites, such as Argonne National Labs (Chicago) and the San Diego Supercomputer Center (Los Angeles). The National Science Foundation is offering money to connect to this network. The University of Michigan is already buying fiber between Ann Arbor and Chicago and so we would not need to put in network that we already have. This helps us look better in our grant application for some of this money.
The University of Michigan was looking for someone on campus with big computing power and big data collections as partners. ICPSR qualified because of its large data holdings. If this proposal is successful, we would put a machine on campus and that would connect to Chicago. This will serve as background for resources to talk to each other. In ICPSR's portion of this proposal, in addition to the $20,000 for equipment, there is 10% of Beecher's salary and 10% of Gutmann's. In addition to the funding, ICPSR data holdings would be available at very high speeds to other resources attached to the ETF. This will help facilitate the use of ICPSR data.
Future ICPSR Services
What services could ICPSR offer in the future? Staff asked for input from Council regarding additional services they would like to see ICPSR offering to the membership. The immediate response was to continue with on-line analysis with some of the data in SDA. It was noted that these services could draw in community colleges as members. There was a discussion of systems offering on-line analysis such as SDA, Nesstar, and VDC. Currently SDA is all there is, although staff indicated that they continue to look at Nesstar capabilities. It was agreed that VDC is not a viable option at this time.
Council asked that staff use SDA for the short run, but continue to look at more options. It was further suggested that staff have as a goal ultimately putting all the General Archive data into SDA. There was discussion about how to archive collections that are in SDA. Staff responded that since the data collections in SDA have already been archived there is no need to archive the SDA files--they can easily be regenerated. Council agreed that SDA files should be regenerated if necessary. Since some General Archive collections are already in SDA, staff needs to report which part of the General Archive has moved into SDA, what are the costs, and what plans are there for continuing this and how will this activity be funded. A report will be prepared for the October meeting.
Other kinds of data and services discussed were teaching modules and geospatial holdings. ICPSR staff has already downloaded some of the 2000 Census maps and plans to distribute the TIGER/LINE files for 2000. There was discussion about the nature of the files in the mapping areas, their formats, the software needed, and the preservation implications for these collections. All these raise questions for us. ICPSR should think about partnering with others on these projects, but staff also needs more information about these collections. Accordingly staff should really get a better understanding of these materials and the implications of handling them before proceeding with partnerships. This task should not be as daunting as it might have been several years ago when staff had little experience with geographic data. Staff will prepare a report for the October meeting that begins to explore these issues.
Staff mentioned the internal discussions about a My ICPSR service. This would be a service where users would authenticate and ICPSR would track their activities while they are on the site. It would allow us to notify them of changes in collections they are interested in and similar services. The issues of privacy for users came up with several Council members noting that such information cannot be collected in certain environments or is not allowed to be collected at all. Staff responded that if users are informed that the information is being collected and how it will be used, there should not be an issue. More discussion about collecting information about users will need to take place.
Planning and Policy Committee
Council: Ann Green (Chair), Mark Hayward, Jim Sweet
Staff: Erik Austin, Rita Bantom, Myron Gutmann
Proposal for Online Council Election Voting
Staff proposed that Council elections be conducted electronically, beginning with the 2003 elections. They explored an online voting system called "campus-vote," which was developed by a Biology professor at Georgia Southern University. It has been used by fifty or so professional associations and academic organizations. For a modest fee, campus-vote will set up an entire election, from e-mail notification to "voters" through posting of biostatements, and on to tabulation of the voting outcomes. The online system also includes a section where "voters" can enter comments and reactions to the electronic procedure.
The Planning and Policy committee was enthusiastic about the prospect of using such a system for Council elections. They noted that the "rules" for conducting Council elections are touched upon only briefly in the ICPSR Bylaws (Article VI. Elections), with detailed procedures described in a Nominating Committee memorandum sent to Official Representatives at the start of each nominating/election cycle. Members of the committee raised concerns about ORs who are not frequent users of e-mail. It was agreed that notification of the new election procedure be sent to all ORs, in both e-mail and paper form, in September, 2003. With that modification, the committee endorsed adoption of the electronic system for Council elections. At the plenary session, the full Council agreed to employ the online voting system, but asked staff to report to Council after the election with an assessment of the system's use (including comments entered into the system by the ORs who voted.)
Review of Professional Development at ICPSR
At its previous meeting, Council asked for a report on ICPSR's expenditures for professional staff development. A report in the briefing book showed those expenses for the period July1, 2002 through May 31, 2003. A total of $94,580 had been expended during that period, with the largest amounts covering conference participation, internal University of Michigan training (chiefly technical and management short courses), and tuition reimbursement. The committee felt that the amount spent was reasonable for an organization the size of ICPSR. In response to committee member questions, Myron Gutmann expressed his view that conference participation was the most problematic area of professional development expenditure. He acknowledged that management received more requests for professional development activities than allowed for in the amount of funds budgeted, and explained the system of manager triage used to constrain the requested activities within allowable budget amounts. When asked to advise the staff on priorities for types of professional staff development, the committee expressed their preference for leaving that to ICPSR management. The committee urged management to make decisions in this area according to two principles: the staff development activities should "benefit ICPSR" and should, as well, "further the goals of ICPSR."
Areas of Research Expertise and Hiring of Research Scientists at ICPSR
The committee devoted considerable time to pondering the role of research activities at ICPSR, and its connection to the hiring of senior managers for the various leadership roles in the organization. Gutmann emphasized the importance of having a research presence at ICPSR, both for its relationship with the rest of ISR and the University of Michigan and to enable recruiting of the type of future leaders that the organization needs. He described three areas of research in which ICPSR has a "natural advantage:" data archiving and related questions, quantitative historical research, especially historical demography, and research related to ICPSR's topical archives. Gutmann noted the difficulties ICPSR has encountered in gaining University approval for designating as PIs staff members who do not hold Research Scientist titles.
Committee members asked numerous questions about the implications of ICPSR hiring Research Scientists. Chief among them were concerns about obligations (for tenure and governance) that would be incurred with such hires, the "fit" of scientific research with ICPSR's main mission, and competition with research programs at the University of Michigan and elsewhere. Gutmann described overtures he had begun to form partnerships with other units (on the U-M campus and elsewhere) to involve other entities in cross-program research ventures (like historical demography) that would minimize competitive aspects of engaging in more research activities.
Gutmann asked for support from the committee for the principle of hiring some Research Scientists (including some with what ISR considers tenure rights). The committee supported the careful employing of these titles as a means of recruiting future leaders of the organization.
OR Meeting and Perry Building Celebration in October
Staff presented to the committee its nominations for the Miller and Flanigan awards, which have traditionally been presented on behalf of staff and Council at the biennial meeting of Official Representatives. The Warren E. Miller Award is for meritorious service to the social sciences, and is named for the founder of ICPSR. Staff recommended that for 2003, the award be given to Jerome M. Clubb, the third and longest serving Executive Director of the Consortium (1975-1991). Put forward for the William H. Flanigan Award was Lennart Brantgarde, Director of the Swedish Social Science Data Service, and the Swedish National Membership's Official Representative to ICPSR for over two decades. The Flanigan Award was named for the University of Minnesota's OR from the founding of the Consortium through the late 1990s. The committee chose to take these two nominations to the full Council in its executive session. Following that session, the Council endorsed the two nominees for 2003, but expressed its concern about the process of putting forward nominees for these awards. Selecting nominees had traditionally been the responsibility of the staff and Director. Council asked for a proposal from staff to formalize this process and to permit input from more quarters.
The committee next discussed ICPSR's 40th anniversary celebration, to be held on Friday, October 10 in conjunction with the 2003 biennial meeting of Official Representatives. The celebration includes a keynote speaker (Kenneth Prewitt, Dean at Columbia University and former Director of the U.S. Census Bureau), with introductions by ISR Director David Featherman and University of Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman. Some committee discussion focused on backup introducers, should president Coleman be drawn away by the roll-out of Michigan's capital campaign that same day. The committee also discussed invitations for special guests and reimbursement amounts for ORs as well as meeting program participants. The committee recommended paying full expenses for ORs who were making presentations on the Biennial Meeting program.
March 2003 Action Items
Gutmann next reviewed the status of action items from the March, 2003 Council meeting. Council chair Ann Green was to consult with ISR Director David Featherman on the salary of the ICPSR Director. They agreed to put this discussion on hold for the 2004 fiscal year, and to revisit it in the Fall of 2003 for effective implementation in the 2005 fiscal year.
All of the nominees for the Council election of November 2003 were contacted by Gutmann, and all accepted nomination. With Frank Gilliam's resignation from Council, it was necessary to fill his seat for the remainder of his term. After consultation with members of Council, Gutmann recruited Ronald Rindfuss (Sociology, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) to replace Gilliam.
Staff was asked to explore the feasibility of various organizations paying their DDI Alliance membership dues in Euros. Because of currency exchange difficulties that U.S. institutions encounter with Euros, the DDI secretariate decided that those dues should be paid only in dollars.
Re-allocation of Space in the Perry Building
Gutmann reported on the relocation of staff from the lower level of the Perry Building to the second floor of that building. As described at the March, 2003 Council meeting, these moves were in service of lowering the rent paid by ICPSR. By the time of the June Council meeting, all but three offices on the lower level had been vacated. The last three offices (housing Summer Training Program staff) are scheduled to be released at the end of the 2003 Training Program. A suite of about 2,500 square feet in Perry's lower level will be retained by ICPSR but sub-let to new the Center for Advanced Study in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (CABSS), to be directed by current ISR Director David Featherman. The committee endorsed ICPSR retention of this space, and its sub-leasing, as a way of retaining ICPSR flexibility.
DDI Alliance--Formation and Operation
The DDI Alliance (directed by ICPSR staff member Mary Vardigan) was scheduled to begin operations on July 1, 2003. A significant amount of revenue has been raised from dues charged to the ca. 25 organizations expressing interest in participating in this venture. (Dues were set at $2,500 per year per organization.) Work on several critical tasks is underway, including developing software tools and making the DDI standard easier to employ. Upcoming meetings (in October, 2003 and in conjunction with the IASSIST meeting in 2004) have been scheduled.
Report from Tamás Rudas
Tamás Rudas, a representative from the Hungarian National Membership, provided his impressions of the Council meeting and also described TARKI, Hungary's social science data archive.
TARKI, a consortium of nine universities and the Hungarian Central Statistical Office, has been in existence for 18 years and is part of the general social science infrastructure in Hungary. In addition to archiving and distributing about 550-600 files of research data, TARKI also designs surveys, does consulting work, and performs policy analysis for government data in order to generate additional income. TARKI has topical archives that focus on the elderly, on women, and on historical data.
Rudas suggested that if ICPSR was interested in outsourcing some of its data processing activities, TARKI might be able to assist. They have just completed a process review with the goal of applying quality assurance standards across the archive. Rudas also indicated that his experience with activities like the process review is that such activities erode over time. ICPSR should be mindful of this as we move forward with the upcoming process review.
Hank Heitowit remarked that TARKI was one of the first organizations to contact ICPSR when the political situation changed in Eastern Europe and that TARKI began right away to send students to the Summer Program. ICPSR values its longstanding relationship with TARKI.
Report from Executive Session of Council
OR Sabbatical: Council Chair Ann Green asked for information on the 2003 OR Sabbatical Opportunity, which was advertised early in the year. The announcement was designed to recruit an OR who was interested in working on user support issues, but no candidates applied for the fellowship. Subsequently, the budget situation necessitated canceling the sabbatical for 2003. Council would like to see the OR Sabbatical on the agenda again at the October meeting.
Travel Reimbursement for OR Meeting: Council is concerned that ORs are not aware that the travel reimbursement procedures associated with the 2003 OR Meeting have changed from past years and that ICPSR will not be rebating the same amount. Council wants to be sure that the OR meeting travel policies do not erode attendance or harm member relations. To that end, Council asked staff to consider boosting that stipend while remaining fiscally responsible, if possible. They recommended that a letter be sent out to ORs very soon explaining the 2003 meeting package and describing logistics, such as transportation to and from the Detroit airport. They also recommended that information be communicated to federations about their OR meeting participation, which is handled differently from individual members.
ORs need to book their travel soon to get good airfares so they need to know how much their participation in the meeting will cost. It is also the case that many ORs have already submitted travel budgets to their universities based on assumptions that the reimbursement would be the same as for past OR meetings.
Number of Council Meetings: Council is interested in getting the staff's reaction to holding two rather than three Council meetings in the years that there is no OR Meeting. Basically, we would consolidate the March and June meetings and hold the meeting in May or June. Budget review could be handled in advance through secure email.
Process Review: Council discussed the nature of the process review document that Cole Whiteman has begun work on and recommended that it remain an internal document until we have fully developed and understood it and used it for its intended purposes. We need to think carefully about how to present this information to the membership and to the outside world. In addition, Council recommended that the External Review Committee remain external in nature, with no Council member participation.
Strategic Plan: Council thinks the structure of the strategic planning materials look good. Staff should focus on developing the underlying principles carefully; they should be the first components of the document to come to agreement about. We might consider adding additional strategic principles that would focus on ICPSR's role in the social science infrastructure and its role in promoting the integrity and quality of social science data.
Council also discussed how much they should be involved in the strategic planning process. They came to the conclusion that Council should be very involved in the early stages and should remain active throughout the process. The strategic plan should become part of the Planning and Policy Committee's agenda. Member comments should be elicited when appropriate.
Further, the strategic plan should make explicit the choices being made as strategic questions are answered, the pluses and minuses of those choices, what is involved to implement the choices, and what alternative responses might be. There should be a clear decision tree reflecting follow-up and causality.
Action items coming out of each of the Committee meetings were reviewed, and the meeting adjourned.