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Minutes from the General Assembly, Lausanne 2011

Date: 19 July 2011
Number of members present: 78

  1. President opens the meeting.
  2. The minutes of the third assembly (2009) are accepted without changes.
  3. Sent and received mail.
    The members were addressed to develop the inventory of courses on survey research, to invite the ESRA members to the ESRA course on questionnaire design in December 2009 and to inform them about the candidates the board suggested for the new board and to ask about further suggestions.
    The institutional members were contacted whether they want to renew their institutional membership. Three institutions did so: City University London, University of Essex and GESIS. Furthermore, ESRA got three new institutional members: InterFusion Services Ltd., Cyprus; German institute for economic research (DIW Berlin) and Research and Expertise Centre for Survey Methodology (RECSM, Barcelona).
  4. Report of the financial situation of ESRA.
    Daniel Oberski gave an overview of the revenues and expenses of the ESRA for the years 2009 to 2011 which was approved by the General Assembly.
  5. Plan for the 5th conference.
    Change in the organising committee, it will be formed by the former, the current and the future chair of the conference.
    So far no concrete suggestions for the venue of the next conference; members are welcome to make proposal.
    In the next conference each presenter is only allowed to present one paper but can be co-author of others. This shall stimulate a self-selection of the presentation in order to assure a high quality.
    Peter Farago, director of FORS, says that the size of the current conference should be the limit in terms of numbers of participants. Otherwise a professional organization should be contracted to organize the conference or alternatively he is suggesting to make conference on specific topics.
    Peter Sturgis explains that ESRA does not make profit as all fees are very low.
    A session coordinator comments that registration fees should be announced before the papers are accepted, recommends a waiting list rather than several sessions, and says that it would be nice for session coordinators to be able to change the presentation within their sessions themselves.
    Patrick Sturgis replies that the bugs in the system are well-known and will be taken care of. Moreover, that there will be a post-conference survey among coordinators and participants in order to estimate the quality of the conference.
  6. Report about the journal SRM.
    Rainer Schnell presents the report about SRM (link) and explains that new Associate Editors for non-response, sampling and websurveys are needed. He gives an overview of the visits of the journal. These are many which shows the success of the journal.
    Furthermore, in 2013 a replacement for Rainer Schnell as Editor will be needed.
  7. ESRA prizes.
    Report of Jaak Billiet, the chairman of the commission of the ESRA prizes, about the selection of the prize winners. There is one award for outstanding methodological work which was based on suggestions of the board (board members were excluded for nomination). The second new prize is the early career award. The commission received 16 submission, each article got scores (between 15-37 out of maximal 38) and then a final shortlist of 4 articles was handed to the members of the commission (Han Oud, Vasja Vehovar, Joan Manuel Batista). If someone from the own institution was on the final shortlist, then the commission member had to resign. Everybody who submitted an article can get the detailed comments from the commission upon request. Furthermore, for the next time, submission will only be accepted who have not jet been published or submitted to another journal, in order to guarantee that the winning paper(s) can be published in SRM.
  8. Budget for the next period of two years was approved by the General Assembly.
  9. Board election.
    The General Assembly votes unanimously the suggested candidates into their respective positions:
    New candidate: Patrick Sturgis; Previous: Willem Saris

    Chair of the Scientific Committee
    New candidate: Eldad Davidov; Previous: Patrick Sturgis

    General Secretary
    New candidate: Nick Allum; Previous: Wiebke Weber

    New candidate: –; Previous: Daniel Oberski

    Representative of Survey Research Methods
    New candidate: Jaak Billiet; Previous: Rainer Schnell

    Members of the committee
    New candidates: Frauke Kreuter, Jelke G. Bethlehem, Matthias Schonlau; Previous: Joan Manuel Batista, Peter Lynn

    As there was no candidate for the position of treasurer, the General Assembly assigns the election of the treasurer to the board.
    The board also highlights that the gender composition of the board does not reflect the composition of the members and encourages the members to propose in the following election more female candidates.
  10. Other issues? None.
  11. Closing of the meeting.