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Minutes from the General Assembly, Zagreb 2019

ESRA General Assembly, Tuesday 16th July 2017, 17:30
Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb, 10 000, Zagreb

  1. Report on changes to the voting procedures.
    Prior to the General Assembly at 17:30 on the 16th of July 2019, a proposed change to the ESRA voting system was presented at the conference opening and keynote address on the 16th of July at 9:00. This was to ensure that the required quota was met of at least two thirds of ESRA members being present for the vote. The proposal for allowing mail and electronic voting in addition to in-person voting at the biennial General Assemblies was presented and accepted.
  2. Minutes of the 2017 General Assembly and Matters Arising.
    The minutes from the General Assembly from 2017 were approved without any changes.
  3. Report from the President (Bart Meuleman).
    President Bart Meuleman presented his report, which included details of the BigSurv18 conference, the main biennial conference, the Travel & Stay grants, prizes and awards, the redesign of the ESRA website and the need for increased professionalisation of ESRA such as professional support for the Board, the Treasurer and conference organisation.
  4. By-law for electoral procedures.
    President Bart Meuleman presented a new by-law for electing Board members followed by discussion:
    1. The General Assembly elects members of the ESRA board. Memberships to the ESRA board are for six years. Board members can apply for a maximum of two consecutive terms of six years.
    2. Prior to every conference, the ESRA board identifies the positions open for election and distributes an open call to the membership. Candidates can nominate themselves by reacting to that call.
    3. The ESRA board can, depending on the current needs, create new roles and/or redistribute the roles among the board members.
    4. For the roles of President, Vice President, Conference Chair and Vice Conference Chair, the following procedures apply.
      • a) Candidates for the role of President, Vice President and Conference Chair need to have at least 2 years’ experience as current ESRA board member.
      • b) The Vice Conference Chair is not nominated through an open call but is proposed by the ESRA board.
      • c) The General Assembly elects the President, Vice-president, Conference Chair and Vice Conference Chair.
    5. The editor of Survey Research Methods is ex officio member of the ESRA board.
  5. Report from the Treasurer (Gabriele Durrant).
    The Treasurer, Gabriele Durrant, presented a preliminary report to the General Assembly which contains some errors that need to be corrected by Charity House. The figures provided should therefore be treated with caution. A corrected and up-to-date report will be provided as soon as possible and will be posted at
    Gabriele provided an overview of ESRA’s income and expenditure. The ESRA bank account currently holds £361,501 but there are still some costs from the ESRA 2019 conference that need to be paid for and some money coming in from BigSurv18.
    A discussion followed regarding the high exchange rate that is a consequence of the ESRA bank being located in the UK and conferences being held on mainland Europe (the Board is looking at alternatives such as TransferWise), the requirement to pay VAT on conference registrations, and how to use the ESRA surplus (e.g. professional support, investments). The Board will conduct a financial review.
  6. Report from the editor of Survey Research Methods (Ulrich Koher).
    Survey Research Methods (SRM) is ESRA’s peer reviewed open access journal. There are 3 issues per year, and 5 papers per issue. The number of readers has increased year on year, with 2,250 readers registered in 2019. The number of papers being submitted has increased, as has the number of rejections. The impact factor of the journal went down a little but still stands at an acceptable 0.9. There is a new website for the journal which provides a more flexible workflow, and its practices are GDPR-compliant.
    There was one special edition of the journal in 2017: Uses of Geographic Information Systems Tools in Survey Data Collection and Analysis. Another planned special edition (Inference from non-probabilty samples) has been cancelled due to insufficient papers. Two papers that would have been published in this special edition will now be published in ordinary editions of the journal. Another special edition on Measurement Invariance is forthcoming.
  7. Elections to the Executive Committee.
    • Four existing committee members are standing down:
      • Bart Meuleman,
      • Annelies Blom,
      • Gerry Nicolaas and
      • Malcom Fairbrother
    • Four new members were put to the vote:
      • Stephanie Steinmetz,
      • Vera Lomazzi,
      • Kathrin Thomas and
      • Emily Gilbert
    • Candidates for the roles of President, Vice President, Conference Chair and Vice Conference Chair were also put to the vote:
      • Caroline Roberts for President,
      • Annette Scherpenzeel for Vice President,
      • Alexandru Cernat for Conference Chair and
      • Vera Toepoel for Vice Conference Chair.
    • All officers were elected unopposed.
  8. AOB.
    The incoming president Caroline Roberts thanked Bart Meuleman, Annelies Blom, Gerry Nicolaas and Malcolm Fairbrother for their work as ESRA board members.