IFDO was established in the mid 1970s as a response to the research needs of the international social science community. The founders felt it would be advantageous to coordinate worldwide data services and thus enhance social science research. Through the foresight and planning of the late Stein Rokkan in November 1977, IFDO became a reality.
During several decades, IFDO was led by Ekkehard Mochmann, who retired from his presidency in 2009. IFDO maintains associate memberships in the International Social Science Council of UNESCO.
The current Articles of Governance were approved at the meeting of the IFDO General Assembly in 2011.
Articles of Governance
Organization Name and Definition
This organization shall be known as the International Federation of Data Organizations (IFDO for short). Generally, data organizations are actively engaged in providing the research community with digital information, data, documentation and analysis. The main domains of IFDO are social sciences and humanities.
Article I: Purpose
IFDO’s main purpose is to facilitate and support research through cooperation between data organizations across countries, regions and continents. IFDO shall:
- Promote and work for open access to digital data.
- Advocate the preservation of valuable digital resources.
- Support the development of standards, procedures and tools enhancing data usage.
- Promote and support the establishment and development of data organizations to further these objectives.
Article II: Membership
Membership is limited to those organizations having the capacity and expertise to further Federation objectives.
Article III: General Assembly
The General Assembly is the sovereign body of the Federation. Each Member Organization can participate at the General Assembly with two delegates at the most. The Member Organizations each have one vote at the Assembly. Voting in the Assembly can only be made by Member Organizations present. Voting rights are not transferable.
The General Assembly should meet at least once a year. Special sessions should be convened upon expressed request of one-third of the Member Organizations.
Elections and decisions of policy are binding by simple majority vote of Member Organizations attending a given meeting, i.e. if a quorum is present. A quorum consists of one-third of the Member Organizations. If a quorum is not present at a meeting, a mailed ballot shall decide a vote.
Article IV: Functions of the General Assembly
- To approve all matters of general policy.
- To elect Board Members and President who is a Member of the Board.
- To approve new members of the Federation.
- To set the annual membership fee.
- To elect the Treasurer of the Federation.
Article V: The Board
The Board consists of seven Member Organizations, including the one holding the presidency.
Only Member Organizations present at the General Assembly are eligible to the board.
Only Member Organizations present at the General Assembly have the right to vote. Voting rights are not transferable.
Members of the Board shall be elected from nominees put forward at the General Assembly by one or more of the present Member Organizations. When possible, the Assembly should promote geographical balance and gender balance in putting forward the nominees.
Terms for Board Members, including the President, are two years. Re-election is possible.
If a Board Member leaves his/her Member Organization, the organization elected to the Board shall appoint his/her replacement. If the President and/or the President Organization leave IFDO the remaining board elects an interim president among its membership. The interim president functions until the next GA where a new president shall be elected.
The Board should meet at least once a year.
Article VI: Functions of the Board
- To conduct the business of the Federation between meetings of the General Assembly.
- To designate a General Secretariat.
- To convene special meetings of the General Assembly based upon two-thirds majority vote of Board Members.
- To set up working groups to undertake specific tasks.
The Board may invite observers to the General Assembly.
Article VII: Admission of New Members
An Admissions Committee of three Member Organizations, designated by the Board, shall recommend membership on the basis of the criterion indicated in Article II. New Member Organizations are admitted by majority vote of the General Assembly.
Article VIII: Membership Obligations
- To circulate annual reports of their current activities, archive holdings, services and plans for new activities.
- Pay the annual membership fee as decided by the General Assembly.
If a Member Organization fails to fulfill its membership obligations repeatedly, the Assembly can cancel or suspend its membership in the Federation. Such decision should be based on the proposal and justification of the Board included on the agenda of the meeting of the General Assembly.
Article IX: Treasurer
The Treasurer shall ensure that accurate accounts are kept by the Federation, that dues and other sums are collected, that all properly approved bills are paid, and that financial statements are prepared.
The General Assembly elects the Treasurer from nominees put forward at the General Assembly by one or more of the present Member Organizations.
Term of the Treasurer is two years. Re-election is possible.
Article X: Relations with Other Organizations
The Federation is empowered to:
- Acknowledge regional groupings of Member Organizations.
- Encourage cooperative projects within these groupings, and report such projects to the General Assembly.
- Associate and cooperate with other international organizations sharing similar objectives with those of the Federation.
Article XI: Dissolution of the Organization
By two-thirds majority vote, the Board can recommend closure of the organization to the General Assembly or a special General Assembly may be called for the purpose. The closure must be decided by two-thirds majority vote of a General Assembly attended by at least half of the members.
In case of two-thirds majority supporting the closure, the General Assembly designates and instructs a three-person committee to proceed with closing the organization in an orderly and proper manner.
The General Assembly must indicate how the assets of the organization will be allocated after the settling of any outstanding liabilities.
Article XII: Amendments
Articles may be amended by two-thirds majority vote of the General Assembly.