OR Handbook: Overview

Role of the OR

The role of the ICPSR Official Representative (OR) at a member institution is to assist faculty, staff and students with using ICPSR resources. Responsibilities include establishing and maintaining IP-based access, answering questions about ICPSR resources, promoting ICPSR resources on campus, and insuring that membership dues are paid in a timely manner. The OR also votes for ICPSR Council members every other year and attends biennial OR meetings whenever possible.

All members of ICPSR, including Federation and National Membership members, must have an Official Representative. The primary reason for this is administration of IP-based access to the ICPSR website.

The Designated Representative (DR), if present, assists data users in locating, downloading, and working with ICPSR data. This position, while optional, can be a great asset to users and the OR. The DR is also welcome to attend the OR meetings.

A HubOR is the OR for a Federation. The HubOR ensures that each member institution has an OR, receives the invoice for the Federation, and communicates between ICPSR and the Federation. The HubOR generally also serves as the OR for one of the members. In addition to having full access to the OR site, the HubOR has the necessary permissions to run utilization reports for members of the Federation as well as for the Federation as a whole.

The National Membership Coordinator ensures that each member institution has an OR, receives the invoice for the National Membership, and serves as the point of contact between ICPSR and the National Membership. The National Membership Coordinator usually also serves as the OR for one of the member institutions. In addition to having full access to the OR site, the National Membership Coordinator has the necessary permissions to run utilization reports for members of the membership as well as for the membership as a whole. National Memberships exist in countries outside of the US and Canada.

OR Role in ICPSR Governance

ORs participate in the governance of ICPSR in two ways:

  1. Through their involvement in the candidate nominating process.
    ICPSR is governed by a council of twelve scholars and data professionals who meet three times a year. They guide and oversee the activities of ICPSR. Six new council members are approved by the ORs every two years to serve four-year terms. The nominating committee of Council, with input from ICPSR staff, ORs, and council members, nominates a slate of six candidates. Those six new council members are then approved by the ORs to serve four-year terms. The approval process (electronic voting) typically covers a two-month period that commences shortly after the end of the biennial OR meeting. For a staff perspective on your role in ICPSR governance see "A Word on ICPSR Council Nominations."

  2. Through their approval of the slate of nominees for Council representatives.
    ORs are also involved in the nomination of individuals for ICPSR's Warren E. Miller and William H. Flanigan Awards, which are biennial awards to individuals who have distinguished themselves in their service to the social science community. During the nomination phase, ORs, among others, are asked to nominate individuals who have had a profound impact on social science research and infrastructure (Miller Award) and individuals who have made significant contributions to the social science community and served as ICPSR representatives (Flanigan Award).

    OR/DR MyData Account

    Every OR/DR must have a MyData account to access particular pages on the ICPSR website. This account provides access to the OR page of the website, including the OR Meeting pages. The account allows the OR/DR to run utilization reports and Summer Program participation reports. Additionally, the account has expanded permission to download data from the ICPSR website. It can be used from any location, at any time, to download data limited to members-only access.

    Selection of OR/DR

    Member institutions must have one OR. Selection of a DR is optional. We encourage member institutions to fill both contact positions and have found that a successful arrangement tends to combine an OR from the library and a DR from an academic department in the social sciences.

    The OR/DR needs to be familiar with ICPSR resources in order to assist users with data-related questions. Resources include the Online Learning Center, Summer Program, and promotional resources developed to support the OR/DR. Additionally, the OR/DR needs to know about the resources available on campus to assist users with data-related questions, such as use of a statistical software set-up file. In the event the OR/DR does not have those skill sets, he/she should refer data users to individuals or resources on campus that do.

    Changing an OR/DR

    Requests to change an OR or DR generally come from the member's OR. They should include the new OR/DR's complete contact information, including office location, phone and fax numbers, and email address. If the OR is being replaced, the request may come from his/her immediate supervisor or department manager. Requests from outside the OR/DR department may be referred back to the OR and/or the department in which he/she resides. The sitting OR/DR is copied on all correspondence.