Council Minutes
October 17, 2007

Council present: Darren Davis, Charles Franklin, Michael Haines, Aletha Huston, Paula Lackie, Jim Oberly, Ruth Peterson (Chair), Walter Piovesan, Matthew Snipp

ICPSR staff present: George Alter, Rita Bantom, Bryan Beecher, Dieter Burrell, Peter Granda, Bree Gunter, Myron Gutmann, Bill Jacoby, Peter Joftis, Stacey Kubitz, Felicia LeClere, Chris Maxwell, Nancy McGovern, James McNally, Mary Morris, Asmat Noori, JoAnne O'Rourke, Amy Pienta, Diane Thompson, Mary Vardigan

Visitors present: Helena Laaksonen, Finnish Social Science Data Archive; Kevin Schürer, UK Data Archive; Elaine Kuttner, Cambridge Concord Associates; Pat Mahon, Cambridge Concord Associates

The minutes from the June 2007 Council meeting were approved unanimously.

Director's and Budget Report

Budget

Director Myron Gutmann reported a FY2007 result of $438,514 of revenue over expenses. This figure includes the 2006 Summer Program payment from the University of Michigan. Gutmann noted that FY2008 is off to a strong start, particularly in the area of grants and contracts, and that FY2009 will present the challenge of devising a new revenue model for the Summer Program. Total fund balance is $3,271,000 ($3,500,000 if one includes the Perry loan). Reserves have been trending upwards since FY2004.

Summer Program

Gutmann reported that change in leadership: long-time Summer Program Director Hank Heitowit has moved into a semi-retirement role, and newly hired Summer Program Director Bill Jacoby and newly hired Summer Program Manager Diane Thompson provide new leadership. Gutmann notes that the Summer Program experienced another record year (818 students), and that Heitowit received an award from the Society for Political Methodology for his contributions to the field.

Gutmann reported that the University of Michigan both withdrew from the CIC Traveling Scholar Program and unilaterally changed the fees it was willing to pay to send its own students to the ICPSR Summer Program. (U-M had paid 90 percent of the tuition for a given student, but is now willing to pay only the standard Program Scholar fee.) Gutmann noted that it would be essential to set new Summer Program fees at this meeting to offset this large reduction in revenue.

Membership and Outreach

Gutmann reported a total current membership of 617 institutions and the following trend in membership: net -8 members in FY2004, +15 in FY2005, +22 in FY2006, +52 in FY2007 and +22 in FY2008 (to date). Most new members are BA and Master's institutions. Current and recent membership and outreach activities include: two undergraduate research paper competitions; a blog for the ORs; the MyClass account creation system; and the launch of ICPSR Anywhere.

ICPSR staff attended three conferences since June and will attend six more through the end of 2007. ICPSR staff have presented at 18 different times and produced nine publications.

Gutmann also reported status on the soon-to-be-launched Online Learning Center (soft launch in 12/2007 with 15-20 datasets in Sociology, 15-20 in Political Science, and ten in methods; hard launch in midsummer 2008 with 50, 50, and 25 datasets, respectively).

Collection Delivery

Gutmann reported the availability of a new ICPSR Bulletin and Corporate Brochure; a new Terrorism Web Site; and, a new CPES Project Web Site. Gutmann also noted that two ORs were visiting ICPSR - Ron Nakao (Stanford) and Denise DeGarmo (Southern Illinois - Edwardsville), and that ICPSR was intending to launch its refreshed website later in the year to coincide with the conclusion of the Summer Program so that the two sites may be more closely aligned. Overall number of databases and terabytes downloaded were a bit lower in FY2007, but still far ahead of FY2005. ICPSR's bibliography (and usage) continued to grow: 1.9 million hits in FY2007, 400k visitors, 1.4 million searches, and 2k citations added.

Collection Development and Grant News

Gutmann reported that the procedure for acquiring and processing US Federal data would be examined and automated to increase the speed with which ICPSR can release newly created datasets. Gutmann also noted a long list of newly release "greatest hits" such as the Israeli Election Study, 2006 (ICPSR 20221) and the Japanese General Social Survey, 2005 (ICPSR 4703).

Gutmann reported several successes: 2007-2012 NACDA continuation; NIA-NIH Long Term Care Survey archiving; NLM Barriers & Opportunities for Sharing Research Data; MacArthur Foundation Chicago Neighborhood Project additional funding; Three Cities Study user support; NSF Collaboration with China on digital preservation; and, NIA Mihigan Center for Urban African American Aging.

Gutmann also identified many proposals under review: NSF INTEROP; NSF CI-TEAM; NEH Digital Preservation Management; Liaoning Multi-Generational Panel Dataset; and, continued funding for our Robert Wood Johnson and NACJD projects.

Technology and Preservation

Gutmann reported that the upgrade from legacy server systems was complete, and that ICPSR had developed an internal tool for browsing and downloading its complete archival holdings. ICPSR also developed and released a web-based tool for anonymizing qualitative data.

Gutmann reported that the ICPSR Digital Preservation website had been launched, and that a Digital Preservation Management tutorial would be launched in November. Planning for a new formal role at ICPSR - Registrar - is nearly complete. Behind the scenes the archives have been moved from magnetic tape to spinning disk, and several off-site rental storage locations have been emptied as superfluous paper documents have been destroyed, such as paper printouts of datafiles that are available on-line. ICPSR is continuing to refine and improve its deposit process as well.

Strategic Plan Discussion

Elaine Kuttner of Cambridge Concord Associates facilitated a discussion of the draft Strategic Plan and Mission Statement. She opened by reviewing what had happened to date. The plan was introduced to Council at the June meeting, during which Council provided their perspectives and insights. Subsequently, the Strategic Planning Committee met three times, several subcommittees met via telephone, Kuttner met with staff, and ORs were surveyed. The result is the draft Strategic Plan and Mission Statement with rationales to set context for each strategic direction.

Myron Gutmann mentioned that while we are getting close to having a completed Strategic Plan, we still need to prepare an implementation plan to translate the broader plan into action. He indicated that he had tried the plan out on a handful of ORs and received some valuable input that we will want to integrate into the next version of the plan.

Kuttner reminded the Council that this process is about understanding the desired future and determining what we need to do to make it happen. She reiterated that the plan is starting to solidify but that it is not yet finished. She envisions three stages to the planning process. The first is establishing the mission and directions - the stage we are just completing. The second and third, which often occur in parallel, are determining what it's going to take to move in these directions in terms of financial support, human resources, and infrastructure, and what it's going to take in terms of an appropriate governance structure.

She urged Council to consider whether this is the right framework to move the organization forward. The plan is grounded in a moment in time - what are the most important directions to pursue at this particular time for this organization? She also emphasized that while the strategic directions tell a story starting with leadership and culminating in the organizational capacity needed to support it, they are not prioritized. Actions undertaken to implement each direction will, however, need prioritization since they require funding allocations. In reviewing the plan, Kuttner asked the Council to consider what they liked about each direction, what concerned them, and whether anything was missing.

Mission Statement Discussion

Draft ICPSR Mission Statement

ICPSR provides leadership in acquiring, enhancing, preserving, delivering, and analyzing data that reflect our diverse world and the expanding scope of the social sciences.

Our commitment to leadership:

  • Best-in-class educational programs and research
  • Broadening access to data and training for underserved groups and new constituencies
  • Ensuring the protection of research subjects

Council indicated that the notion of ICPSR's service to the larger scientific community doesn't come through in the mission statement as written. It sounds as if we are doing all of the work internally and that there is no communication with external users. Further, there is no sense of the ultimate purpose of our activities, which is to enhance the social science enterprise by providing data access to researchers. Currently, the word "delivering" has to carry all of this meaning.

The emphasis on protection of research subjects seems to indicate a new area not traditionally associated with ICPSR and may be too narrowly expressed. That is, protection of research subjects is part of a larger mission that involves providing open access while at the same time protecting subjects of research.

What we are seeing is the transformation of ICPSR from an organization that is the best in the world at delivering data to a new leadership role in which we participate in solving intellectual problems. This new mission statement is an indication of where we would like to be. We want to be an advocacy organization acting in support of data sharing, data transparency, and the protection of research subjects. We have a role to play in helping universities with ethical obligations, and we are positioned to have an impact in a way that individual universities cannot.

It was also noted that education is not part of the first sentence in the mission statement and probably should be. Also, it's not clear what is meant by "analyzing" because it sounds as if we are the ones doing the analyzing. We do some of that through our own research, but we also facilitate data analysis by others through our data archive, the Summer Program, and the tools that we provide. We could perhaps say "leadership and education in..." It was also noted that there is no mention of research per se in the mission statement. It does have a central role in the organization, although there is a weighting of all of the activities that ICPSR performs.

Strategic Directions Discussion

  1. Expand ICPSR's leadership role in archiving, curating, preserving, and validating data in the social sciences and related disciplines by developing standards and practices and ensuring their wide adoption.

    If we decide to keep the text about areas of leadership (archiving, etc.), these areas should match up with the areas in the mission statement. However, Council indicated that there is no value in reiterating the areas and that the important piece of the sentence is at the end - that is, standards and practice.

    From ORs, we have heard that there is not enough emphasis on ICPSR's performing its core activities. We need new language along the lines of "While continuing its excellence in ..." or "Building on the solid core of..." and then we can follow this up with text about the new leadership areas.

  2. Broaden ICPSR's research horizon and data collections to encompass human and organizational behavior, human health, and the expanding realm of the social sciences, and to include digital preservation, the universe of social science data, and the protection of research subjects.

    We should add to the rationale direct observational data, ubiquitous data collection, and others. We also need to add something about new digital content types into the direction itself. Again we need to address core collection building.

  3. Strengthen the value of membership in ICPSR and attract new members and other research data users by providing increasingly innovative and responsive services and products of highest quality to help member organizations achieve their objectives.

    We should involve not only the single OR on a campus but other faculty as well. There may be a place for departmental representatives.

    Our outreach has become much broader and we are working more with the policy community. We need to find the right balance in serving traditional members and new members that may need different products and services. This may not be too problematic because traditional members have an easier time accessing data now. There is a tradeoff involved: do we want to spend resources on newer members like those using the MDRC or on tools to make complex data easier to use, which might appeal more to our traditional users?

  4. Expand and strengthen the ICPSR educational and training programs to meet the needs of a growing community of audiences, to embrace a changing body of knowledge, and to incorporate new training methods, technologies, and tools.

    This direction is about capacity building in education. Some of the language here (e.g., "investigate opportunities") may be too cautious.

  5. Build on ICPSR's human, financial, technological, and organizational capacities to strengthen its leadership role, research breadth, value to members, and educational charter - supporting the underlying principles of quality, diversity, and integrity.

    Some members of Council questioned the need for this last direction, but Elaine indicated that this focus on building organizational capacity and infrastructure is necessary to ensure that we can be successful in bringing the plan to life, especially because so much of our work involves responding to change in technology and the environment. This direction is also useful because it states publicly that organizational change is part of ICPSR's culture and goals.

The strategic plan gives ICPSR leadership a mandate to spend resources and recommends where they should be spent. In the rationale, there is language about new funding streams but there is no strategy for this, and it should be added because new funding is necessary to support innovations we want to undertake. The strategies are all about staff as they currently are written. This section needs more work and shaping. We should see each direction as a challenge and the strategies as how to answer the challenge.

Broader Discussion

Elaine Kuttner asked the group what will be different if we implement this plan. Council responded that ICPSR will be known as an advocate for open access, will be a more integral player on campuses, and will be facilitating research in more disciplines with more data users brought into the fold.

Gutmann mentioned that six years ago as he became ICPSR Director he had three goals, which were to ensure excellence in Web-based dissemination of data, quality staff well-prepared on the technology front, and increased financial resources. What are the broader goals embedded in this plan? They appear to be: (1) Actively assert and claim leadership - e.g., rather than reading interesting editorials about data in Nature, we will be writing them; (2) Broaden content areas; and (3) Train more people and add more topics to training. The organization will become much more diverse as a result of these activities.

The plan is almost there. It needs some tightening and some certainty. Is the plan aggressive enough? It may be that we are already in good shape and that we don't need radical change. However, the language of the document should be more passionate about the important principles that we are taking leadership to support, especially in the introduction.

Budget and Policy Committee

Council: Michael Haines, Aletha Huston, Jim Oberly, Ruth Peterson (Chair), Walter Piovesan

Staff: JD Alford, Rita Bantom, Myron Gutmann, Bill Jacoby, Stacey Kubitz

FY2007 Year-End Results

ICPSR ended fiscal year 2007 with $594K in revenue over expenses. This brings ICPSR's fund balance up to approximately $3.5M (including money owed to ICPSR for the Perry II addition). Myron Gutmann suggested that ICPSR may want to transfer more money into endowments in the near future.

Staff noted that ICPSR's more favorable than budgeted results stemmed from an increase in revenue (Summer Program and investment income) and a decrease in expenses (mostly unfilled positions). Gutmann expressed his continuing frustration with the University of Michigan's slow pace regarding the proposed ICPSR Diversity Director position.

Summer Program Financial Issues

ICPSR is pleased to announce that the Summer Program did receive the full amount ($550K) of UM/CIC in fiscal year 2007. These fees were for the 2006 Summer Program and included a one-time transfer from ISR. However, ICPSR expects to only receive about two-thirds of this amount for the 2007 Summer Program in fiscal year 2008. This will be the final payment of CIC fees and UM tuition rates. Beginning with the 2008 Summer Program, University of Michigan students will pay same fees as students from all ICPSR member institutions pay. This necessitates that ICPSR increase Summer Program fees to recoup lost revenues. Staff recommends the Program Scholar fees be raised to $2,400 for member institutions.

Staff suggested that ICPSR may need to encourage early payments by students by offering an early payment discount option. This change in cash flow will help cover the expected fiscal year 2008 deficit. Council also suggested that ICPSR may want to require a deposit from students who do not wish to utilize the early payment option.

Council Election Slate

This was acknowledged but without discussion.

Grant Applications Submitted Since June

Council offered congratulations to staff on the number of applications and awards and also especially appreciates the diversity of principle investigators submitting the applications.

Collection Development Committee

Council: Darren Davis (Chair), Charles Franklin, Paula Lackie, Matthew Snipp

Staff: George Alter, Peter Granda, Chris Maxwell, Amy Pienta

Visitors: Helena Laaksonen

Report on What IRB Documents are Required with Data Submissions

The group discussed the importance of IRB status and documentation to be received during the deposit process. Matthew Snipp suggested that ICPSR consider reviewing the guidelines set forth by the IRB accreditation body. The group also had a discussion of the importance of playing a role in educating the public. ICPSR should assemble a set of language to demonstrate how to include relevant data sharing plans within informed consent statements. Council requested that ICPSR staff enhance the ICPSR deposit form to more readily collect, but do not require depositors give us IRB information. Council also requested that staff draft a statement about what "public-use" means (what does ICPSR certify).

Federal Government Data Acquisitions and Processing

The committee was favorable about the approach outlined in the document provided in the briefing book. The group suggested that ICPSR consider providing access to the economic censuses. The HHS Data Council is a good point of contact for these data. The group also suggested that ICPSR be mindful of potential funding sources/streams/models to support the government data archiving activity.

Finally, Council indicated that they were please with the launch and development of both the Terrorism and MDRC archives at ICPSR.

Membership and Marketing Committee

Council: Aletha Huston, Jim Oberly, Walter Piovesan (Chair)

Staff: Bree Gunter, Linda Detterman, Mary Morris

Visitors: Kevin Schürer

Membership Activity & Utilization Reports

Since July 1, 2007, the beginning of the 2008 fiscal year, 23 new members have joined the consortium for a total of 618 members. One member was dropped for nonpayment and one institution dropped due to financial constraints. Utilization in FY2007 was somewhat lower than in FY2006, though of no concern.

Membership & Marketing Initiative Updates

The 2008 ICPSR Undergraduate Research Paper Competition has been announced to Official Representatives via the OR listserv. The MDRC will also sponsor a similar competition where the requirement is that a dataset available through the MDRC will be used as the basis of the analysis and research paper content.

To assist users/members, ICPSR is developing an online library of user tutorials called the Data User Help Center. Tutorials are being produced using Camtasia software and will cover topics including reading data into various statistical software packages, using SDA, using the Bibliography, and several other topics. Tutorial productions are based on the most frequently encountered problems users are contacting our User Support area to resolve.

In ongoing recruitment efforts, a mailing last spring was conducted to assess the desire for new memberships via current and new federations. A Minnesota and a SUNY federation are currently under development. Additional mailings to new potential federations will continue in late Fall and again in Spring 2008.

Progress continues on the development of the Online Learning Center. Additional Data-Driven Learning Guides (DDLGs) were populated this summer with the help of four graduate students in sociology, political science, and the methods/statistics areas. The first version of the MyClass was launched on July 1, 2007. "MyClass" is a mass registration process where faculty and librarians are able to reserve temporary user accounts for a class or training group who will be working with ICPSR data and resources. Research on the Online Learning Center (OLC) concept was conducted over the summer. Selected teaching faculty and ORs were solicited for feedback. They were directed to the concept website and queried about their reaction to the OLC with particular focus on the DDLGs. Overall reaction was positive. Respondents provided several good ideas for improvement and the development group will incorporate where possible. The OLC will be launched in late 2007. This is considered the 'soft launch' meaning that the site is fully functional with some content. The hard launch is scheduled for Summer 2008 with the key difference being significantly more content and some updates to current tools, where feasible. A launch campaign will be developed in January 2008.

The OR blog was launched just prior to the OR Meeting. The blog is using Live Journal. The OR Blog is largely in a testing phase at this point. ICPSR is providing the interface and continuation of the OR Blog indefinitely will depend on its use. Libbie Stephenson has volunteered to moderate the blog and recruit other moderators.

A third Fall campaign to solicit donations to Warren Miller Scholars Fund is underway. Approximately 4,400 letters accompanied by a 2007 Summer Program in Review brochure were mailed to support the campaign. Details on donations resulting from this drive will be available in March.

ICPSR continues to evaluate the plausibility of an annual fund drive and will begin to develop plans to execute the concept later this fall. It is estimated that the development cycle for an ICPSR annual fund will require about one year prior to the actual solicitation for funds for the annual fund. Updates to the development will be provided as the process progresses.

ICPSR developed a new corporate brochure over the summer, redesigned the Bulletin, and updated the OR Handbook. The OR Handbook is now fully electronic.

ICPSR staff have exhibited at three conferences since June 2007 with plans to exhibit at six more through December 2007.

OR and DR Designations

Exploration of developing content that explains who is most qualified to serve as an OR for an institution, including what the roles and expectation are. ICPSR staff will also identify where this information should be posted.

Exploration of the possibility of having as many DRs assigned to an institution based on the needs of the institution. The idea is that it would benefit ICPSR usage to have as many people as possible at member institutions receiving our updates and administrative communications. The committee believes this will help grow awareness across member institutions, and staff has agreed to investigate how to implement this idea realizing that it will likely impact our current database and web infrastructure.

2007 OR Meeting

The Biennial OR Meeting will be held October 18-20, 2007. 181 individuals registered for the meeting consisting of 112 ORs/DRs/OR substitutes. This is running slightly ahead of 2005.

Staff will complete a thorough analysis of the 2007 OR Meeting. The report is to be delivered at the March 2008 Council meeting, and should provide information that assists the committee in discussing the relevancy of the OR Meeting in its current format.

Preservation and Access Committee

Council: Paula Lackie (Chair), Darren Davis

Staff: George Alter, Bryan Beecher, Nancy McGovern, Mary Vardigan

Visitors: Helena Laaksonen, Kevin Schürer

Digital Preservation Web Site

ICPSR's Digital Preservation at ICPSR website was launched in September 2007. The primary purpose of the website is to demonstrate how ICPSR aligns with prevailing standards and practice of the digital preservation community; the secondary value is to raise awareness and provide a reliable source of information on digital preservation for ICPSR staff and users. The website incorporates two components that were approved by Council at the June meeting: the Digital Preservation Policy Framework and the Digital Preservation Glossary. In addition, the website defines the digital preservation function at ICPSR, the context for and outcomes of digital preservation policy development, citations and resources pertaining specifically to ICPSR's policies and generally to digital preservation developments that are relevant to ICPSR, recent events in the digital preservation community of interest for ICPSR, and information about digital preservation research and training at ICPSR. Through the evolution of the website, ICPSR is exploring what digital preservation would look like as a service to users. In the glossary, for example, the entry for each term provides a commonly-used definition and the local usage of the term at ICPSR to enable the glossary to both meet transparency requirements and be informative. The staff is developing a form to allow users to recommend resources that might be added to the website. There will be future updates developing the digital preservation website.

Archival Storage

Staff provided an update on the archival storage initiative. ICPSR recently completed copying files that had been stored offline on magnetic media to online storage. During this process, a checksum was created for each file that allows the integrity of the files to be verified over time and enables the rationalization of duplicate copies. Another outcome of the project was the development of a Web viewer that provides a tab for ICPSR staff to review the stored files. ICPSR now maintains two local copies of the files, remote copies of the files that are stored by trusted partners and regularly synchronized, and two failsafe copies of the files high-density magnetic tapes (LTO3). A set of mystery tapes remains that is being reviewed by staff to determine the origin and ongoing value of the contents on the tapes.

A related project involves sorting through and cleaning out the ICPSR warehouse that contains paper copies of documentation (most of which has digital equivalents), paper study folders that document the acquisition and turnover process, and related materials. ICPSR staff is assessing the content of study folders to identify materials that are valuable for long-term retention and materials that can be removed (e.g., printouts created by ICPSR of information that can be regenerated or is stored in ICPSR databases). Staff assured Council members that extra care is being taken to ensure that materials of value (e.g., rare hard copies of classic survey instruments) are identified, carefully stored, and documented. The warehouse also contains a lot of accumulated office debris that has been returned to the University for redistribution, recycled, or sent to waste management.

An outcome of the discussion was that ICPSR will collaborate with the UK Data Archive on the transformation of the Archival Information Package (AIP) into the Dissemination Information Package (DIP) in accordance with the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) Reference Model, an international standard for trusted digital repositories.

Service Delivery

ICPSR Anywhere (to allow members to log-in off-campus for six months by logging in once every six months from an on-campus machine) was launched in July and has been very well-received by members. ICPSR can address individual cases where a member cannot be on-campus for longer than six months (e.g., longer sabbaticals). There are no usage data yet, but staff expects to see increases in member downloads now that off-campus usage can be recorded.

Search engine for the ICPSR website: At the June Council meeting, staff explained why the Google Search Appliance was a bad fit for ICPSR and why the other options were being explored (e.g., the need for ranked searching, powerful query types, fielded searching, date-range searching, sorting by any field, merged results, and simultaneous updating and searching). The Web development team has selected Apache Lucene (a full-texted search engine library written entirely in Java) for developing a new search engine for the ICPSR website. This is on track for the third quarter. The UK Data Archive is also using Lucene and the developers at each end will share their notes. A programmer from ICPSR will go to Essex for two weeks when that can be arranged.

2009 website rollout: the Web development team has rescheduled the rollout from the usual March release to an August release to allow the Summer Program website to be included.

Warm Backup Status

ICPSR purchased a warm backup server as part of the 2007 technology refresh. At the June Council meeting, staff reported on progress towards deploying the warm backup server to the Minnesota Population Center (MPC). ICPSR staff tested the server hardware and the software needed for the server to perform as a warm backup. The lab tests have worked great. A final test will be to simulate the ICPSR server going down and the warm backup server at MPC taking over. This test may be conducted over the holiday break. The server is ready to send to MPC within the month. A caveat noted by staff is that the search engine software is not included on the warm backup server. The old search engine has a single license for the now decommissioned Sun Solaris server. If a service interruption occurs and the warm backup server is needed before the new search engine is deployed, the website provided by the warm backup server would not have a search engine so services would be limited. Staff also reported on the retirement of Wolf and Lion, two Sun servers.

ICPSR has hired two new programmers: one to support the Minority Data Resource Center (MDRC) and one to address the needs of the Summer Program and Membership Services.

Training and Instruction Committee

Council: Charles Franklin (Chair), Michael Haines, Ruth Peterson

Staff: Dieter Burrell, Bill Jacoby, Diane Thompson

Summer Program 2007

This year's Summer Program looks very similar to those we have offered in recent years. The core four and eight-week curriculum remain similar to the previous year. We have added a couple of new instructors this summer including Tom Pullum (University of Texas, Sociology), who was the instructor for the Categorical Analysis course; Brad Jones (UC-Davis, Political Science), who was added to the team that teaches the Advanced MLE workshop and Andres Martinez (University of Michigan, Education), who was added to the team that teaches Introduction to Statistics II.

The three to five-day portion of the program has added six new workshops:

  • Network Analysis: Theory and Methods
  • American Community Survey
  • Introduction to Spatial Analysis
  • Social and Economic Contexts of Childcare and Early Education
  • The Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys (CPES)
  • The National Long-Term Care Surveys

Summer Program Funding Update

The overall direct budget for Summer Program was reported as $1.2 million, not including ICPSR funding support. 40 percent of direct funding support comes from the University of Michigan through a tuition rebate program where the Summer Program receives 90 percent of the assessed tuition for CIC traveling scholars, who attend Summer Program courses for credit. It is expected that this program will end following the 2007 Summer Program and University of Michigan and all others attending the ICPSR Summer Program will attend at the same or similar member/non-member fees. Myron Gutmann provided a comparative Summer Program fee schedule of comparable courses across the country and at University of Essex where fees exceed those being charged at ICPSR.

Fee increases and a discussion of entities responsible for payment of Summer Program courses ensued. Examples of different cost structures were presented, including those at Stanford University, where courses are funded by the department, and Ohio State University, where the graduate school and the department each pay a portion of courses. Council approved one fee for members ($2,400), and one for non-members ($4,800) for the four-week courses. Council also approved increasing the 3-day courses to $1,200 for members and $2,400 for non-members, and the five-day courses to $1,600 for members and $3,200 for non-members for 2008.

Council asked staff to think about whether the core offerings of the Summer Program should be re-focused and whether a set of classes should be offered in the event of decreased enrollment. The Committee discussed other ways to counter the possibility of low enrollment and also discussed placing courses on a two-year cycle.

The Committee also discussed implementing a registration deadline of April 30 to help forecast enrollment. Other topics of discussion were the possible implementation of a registration fee, whether ICPSR should offer staff development grants, and whether ICPSR should create a financial aid pool composed of membership fees.

Open Session

The Open Session contained reports from Helena Laaksonen, Acting Director of the Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD), and Kevin Schürer, Director of the UK Data Archive (UKDA).

Helena Laaksonen stated that she closely observed the working of the Council since this was the first meeting that she has attended. She compared this experience with that of a similar council in Finland that oversees the work of FSD and strategic planning work that her organization undertook. She reported that she had some new ideas about marketing the ICPSR membership to a larger number of Finnish scholars and students since the extent of ICPSR services is still not widely known. She hopes that more students and faculty might participate in the Summer Program as well though the expense of doing so might be an obstacle.

Kevin Schürer described a new CESSDA project which will begin in January 2008. Funded by the EU the award will provide 3 million Euros to investigate fundamental questions about social science data and dissemination. The goals of the project are: 1) integrate the 21 national archives that are now members of CESSDA more fully to realize the idea of a "European data passport" for the research community where researchers from one country will seamlessly be able to access the resources in an archive in a different country; 2) create better resource discovery and enhance access to data through open source tools which will create data portals from different servers, improve thesauri management, and harvest the catalog records of all participating CESSDA archives as well as ICPSR; 3) provide better professional recognition for data archivists and do more training; 4) develop good authentication standards to certify trusted digital archives; 5) expand CESSDA both geographically to better understand the demands of archives in Central and Eastern Europe where there might be multiple archives and substantively beyond the usual quantitative survey data files into such areas as film, sound, and transaction data; 6) produce new tools and standards through further enhancement of DDI and grid middleware; and 7) focus on sustainability issues to assure that all national archives have some continuity of funding. The kickoff meeting for this project is January 15, 2008. Myron Gutmann is expected to attend and will contact NSF about providing some support for travel to future meetings.

Council Chair Ruth Peterson concluded the meeting by stressing the importance of continuity in the strategic planning process and offered the services of the outgoing Council members to finish the plan in the coming months. She also wanted to make certain that all necessary information about the process was passed on to new Council members. Peterson also described the great strides that she has seen in several areas during her time on Council including digital preservation, international data, the Online Learning Resource Center, various diversity initiatives including work on the Minority Data Resource Center, a favorable financial situation characterized by ongoing outside grants and contracts, new recruitment, and a successful transition due to retirements of senior staff members.

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