These Bylaws are authorized by the Constitution of the ICPSR.

Article I. Membership

  1. Conditions of Membership

    1. Educational institutions in the United States will be assigned to membership categories by ICPSR based on a widely accepted classification system of academic institutions, such as the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. ICPSR may refine the classification system as needed for the purposes of assigning annual membership fees. Members outside the United States will be classified according to their size. Federated and national memberships consist of a number of institutions that have joined together and pay for their membership jointly. Council shall review the classification system and the distribution of members within the classification system every six years. (Updated 10/11/2017)

    2. Not-for-profit research organizations having a clearly defined educational mission may, with approval of the Council, become members of ICPSR and be assigned to a membership category.

    3. Internal arrangements bearing upon the sources of financial support for the membership are the responsibility of the member. Each member is responsible for determining the eligibility of its faculty, staff, and students for participation in ICPSR activities.

    4. Associate Membership may be requested by other not-for-profit organizations having a clearly defined educational mission. Provision of services and appropriate dues will be set by Council. Associate membership does not carry voting privileges.

    5. Membership should be sought only with the expectation that benefits accrue with continuing participation. Short-term memberships are discouraged. Officials of member institutions agree to attempt to provide the necessary dues and local support on a continuing basis.

    6. Annual membership dues shall be paid by August 30 or at the beginning of such alternative annual membership cycle as may be agreed upon by individual members and ICPSR. Budgetary inability to meet a single year's membership dues will not necessitate termination of membership provided that the member is willing to make up the deficit across an agreed upon period not to exceed five years.

    7. A member planning to withdraw from membership is encouraged to provide one year's written notice mailed electronically or by postal mail to the Executive or Membership Director. Except under special circumstances, the ICPSR will require that use of all materials provided by ICPSR, including data and documentation, be discontinued upon termination of membership.

  2. Benefits and Obligations of Membership

    1. The ICPSR staff will endeavor to provide equitable services to each member. Given the variety of functions, the limitations on time and space in the performance of some activities, and the variable pace of research activities at member institutions, the goal shall be equality in service over a period of years.

    2. Members will not distribute data or other materials supplied by ICPSR to other members, organizations, or individuals at other institutions, without the written agreement of ICPSR or unless provided in the data terms of use.

    3. Member institutions agree that data and other materials provided by ICPSR are to be used solely for statistical analysis and reporting of aggregated information, and not for investigation of specific individuals or organizations, except when identification is authorized in writing by ICPSR. Each member institution gives assurance that such uses of statistical data will conform to widely-accepted standards of practice and legal restrictions that are intended to protect the confidentiality of research subjects.

    4. Books, articles, conference papers, theses, dissertations, and other publications or reports that employ data or other resources provided by ICPSR should cite both original data collectors and ICPSR as the source, in accord with recommended citation procedures for computer files in the social and behavioral sciences.

    5. Individuals who collect data or develop other research or instructional resources of general interest to the social science community are encouraged to make such resources available to the membership by offering them for deposit with ICPSR.

    6. Member institutions, through their Official Representatives, have the right to express concerns and complaints about services to the Executive Director, and if a matter is not satisfactorily resolved to file a grievance with Council. Council will investigate grievances and take such action as may be appropriate.

  3. Services for Nonmembers

    1. ICPSR data and documentation will be provided to individuals who are not affiliated with a member institution. Such individuals requesting data for their research or instructional use will sign a loan agreement and submit payment for charges assessed, before data are provided. ICPSR data and documentation may be provided to nonmember organizations on a basis negotiated by the organization and the Executive Director and approved by Council. Member-funded resources made available by ICPSR to nonmembers shall not be redistributed or sold to other individuals or organizations without the written agreement of ICPSR.

    2. Participation in ICPSR training functions or special research conferences supported solely by membership dues will be limited to students, faculty and staff from member institutions, unless exceptions are authorized by Council or the Executive Director.

    3. ICPSR may enter into annual subscription agreements with nonmember institutions, including for-profit institutions, for the purpose of providing access to ICPSR data resources and user support for all staff of the subscribing institution. These agreements will carry annual dues commensurate with dues charged to members, according to a scale established by the ICPSR Council and annually reviewed by the Council. No privileges of membership other than data access and user support will be provided under these agreements, and subscribers are ineligible to participate in the governance of ICPSR.

    4. Upon recommendation of the Executive Director and approval of the ICPSR Council, ICPSR may enter into partnerships with private publishers for the purpose of enabling instruction, advancing scientific research, or otherwise informing the public in the social and behavioral sciences. Fees, requirements, and procedures for such partnerships will be determined by the ICPSR Council in consultation with the Executive Director.

Article II. Official Representatives

Each member, including each national membership and each participant in a federation, will be represented by an Official Representative chosen by the member. The Official Representative serves as the liaison between ICPSR and the member and represents the member at meetings of Official Representatives. A member may designate a second Official Representative (referred to as the Designated Representative) to aid in the provision of services to the member or membership and to attend meetings of Official Representatives. Special representation arrangements for a national membership or federation may be negotiated by ICPSR Senior Staff and approved by the Council.

Article III. Council

  1. Membership

    The Council of the ICPSR consists of twelve persons elected by the membership. Six new Council members will be elected every two years to serve four-year terms. The Council will include the past Council Chairperson as an ex-officio non-voting member.

  2. Duties

    1. The Council is the Executive Committee of the membership and the governing body of the ICPSR. The Council is authorized to act on behalf of the ICPSR. The Council participates in the definition of organizational objectives and in the determination of policies to achieve those objectives. It is authorized to affiliate with other organizations for the purpose of developing organizational and fiscal arrangements of benefit to the ICPSR and its members. Actions taken on behalf of the ICPSR by ICPSR staff or staff of organizations with which the ICPSR is affiliated are subject to Council review.

    2. The Council will establish policies and procedures for approving activities to be carried out on behalf of the ICPSR, such as seeking grants, contracts, and other outside financial support, collaborating or participating in committees and studies, and undertaking a major data collection.

    3. The Council will establish policies regulating the participation of individuals in training programs and other activities for which limited resources preclude the simultaneous participation of all who might be interested.

    4. The Council will receive an annual report from the Executive Director and Senior Staff. The report will review and project ICPSR activities, revenues, and expenditures for the past year. The Council will transmit a summary of this report along with any recommendations it may have to the Official Representatives. The Council may request, and is entitled to receive, any additional information it deems useful concerning the operations and fiscal affairs of the ICPSR.

  3. Meetings

    The Council will normally hold three regular meetings each year. A special meeting of the Council may be called by the Chairperson, the Executive Director, six members of the Council, or other persons as agreed to by the Council. Seven members of the Council will constitute a quorum for Council action. The Executive Director, Senior Staff of ICPSR, a representative of the host organization with which the ICPSR has affiliated, and invited guests may attend open sessions of Council meetings. The Council may hold closed or executive sessions for specific purposes.

Article IV. Officers of the Council

  1. Chairperson

    1. The Chairperson of the Council will be elected by the membership (see Article VI). The Chairperson will normally be nominated from among the Council members who will be serving the third year of their terms and will serve a two-year term as Chairperson.

    2. The Chairperson is responsible for signing documents on behalf of the Council. The Chairperson will act as a liaison between the Executive Director and the Council and as a liaison between the Director of the host organization with which ICPSR is affiliated and the Council. The Chairperson will normally chair meetings of Official Representatives.

    3. The Council may appoint an acting Chairperson to serve when the Chairperson is not available to execute duties of the Chair.

  2. Other Officers

    The Council may designate and appoint other officers to carry out duties of the Council.

Article V. Past Chairperson of the Council

The immediate past Chairperson of the Council will serve as an ex-officio member of the Council for a period of one year.

Article VI. Elections

  1. Nomination

    1. The Nominating Committee for elections to the Council will be composed of the Council Chairperson serving as chair of the Committee, the other Council members serving in the final half of their terms, and at least two individuals not currently members of the Council designated by the Council Chairperson.

    2. The Chairperson, acting on behalf of the Committee, will solicit nominations from Council members, Official Representatives, the ICPSR Executive Director and Senior Staff, and the responsible executive official of the host institution. Nominees must be from member institutions. The Executive Director will gather and present to the nominating committee information on potential candidates. The Nominating Committee will present to the Official Representatives the names of a proposed Chairperson (see Article IV, Section 1) and nominees to the Council, with adequate time to allow additional nominations by Official Representatives in accord with stated procedures determined by the Council.

  2. Election

    1. Ballots will be mailed electronically to those Official Representatives eligible to vote. Election to each position will be by majority vote among votes properly cast for that position.

    2. The Council, by two-thirds vote of its members, may remove a member from Council for cause, such as persistent non-performance of duties.

    3. Vacancies that occur on the Council or in the office of the Council Chairperson between elections will be filled through appointment by the Council.

  3. Terms of Office

    The newly elected Council members and the newly elected Council Chairperson will assume office at the first regular meeting following the election and will serve until the beginning of the first regular meeting after their successors have been elected.

Article VII. Committees

The Council has the authority to create standing committees. The Chairperson, in consultation with the Council, will make appointments to standing committees. A standing committee will normally include at least one member of the Council. The Chairperson may establish and make appointments to ad hoc committees.

Article VIII. Executive Director and Senior Staff

  1. Positions

    The chief executive officer of the ICPSR is the Executive Director. The ICPSR staff will consist of such personnel as are necessary for ICPSR to perform the activities required to fulfill its constitutionally defined purposes and meet its obligations to its membership and Council. The Executive Director may designate, with consent of Council, selected managerial, supervisory, and professional personnel as ICPSR Senior Staff. The Executive Director, and the Senior Staff through the Executive Director, are responsible to the Council for the conduct of ICPSR affairs and to the host institution for adherence to its rules and regulations.

  2. Evaluation

    The Chairperson and other Council members designated by the Council are authorized to participate, along with responsible officials of the host institution, in the evaluation of job performance and recommendations for merit raises and promotion of the Executive Director and the Senior Staff. The Executive Director and the Senior Staff have the right to file job and other grievances with the Council. The Council will receive and investigate such grievances and take such action as may be appropriate within its authority. These provisions do not preclude or preempt use by the Executive Director and Senior Staff of normal grievance procedures of the host institution. Upon request, the Council may participate on behalf of the Executive Director or Senior Staff in grievance proceedings of the host institution in accord with the regulations of the host institution.

  3. Access to Council

    The Executive Director and Senior Staff, individually and collectively, have the right to bring issues and concerns to the Council Chairperson, the chairperson of a Council committee, or an individual member of Council. If formal Council response or action is requested or required, the matter will be communicated in writing to the Chairperson. The Council may establish investigative and grievance procedures to protect individual rights and assure fair and prompt response.

Article IX. Institutional Affiliations

The ICPSR Council is authorized to adopt one or more Memoranda of Agreement that affiliate the ICPSR with a host institution. A Memorandum of Agreement may designate the host institution to serve as fiscal agent for the ICPSR. All affiliation agreements shall be reviewed by the Council at regular intervals. An affiliation with a host institution may be terminated by the Council in accord with provisions of an operative Memorandum of Agreement.

Bylaws updated: March 2014 (Revision of Art. I, Sec. 1F and 1G, removal of 1H; revision of Sec. 2B and 2D; Sec. 3A and 3D; revision of Art. II; revision of Art. III, Sec. 2D; and revision of Art. VI, Sec. 2A)