Aims and Requirements
for Research Committees
Approved by ISA Research Council in Montreal, Canada, August 1997. Amended in 2002, 2010 and 2011.
I. Research Committees Statutory Rights and Obligations
II. Services provided
to RCs, WGs,TGs
III. Duties of
RCs, WGs and TGs
V. Policy for ISA
VI. Policy on Research Committe Journals
Research Committees Statutory Rights and Obligations
1. Research Committees (RC) are expected to carry out the relevant policies of the ISA and to follow the ISA Statutes. Each member of each RC should have a copy of the Statutes of the ISA.
The points below follow the spirit of the ISA Statutes. Where the Statutes do not cover relevant details, they have been supplemented to give guidance on practical interpretation.
2. Each RC is required to have written Statutes which reflect the principles and Statutes of the ISA, and have been approved by the majority (more than one‑half) of the RC members in good standing (members who had paid membership dues for the current year). The approved Statutes of each RC must include among others the following three important provisions:
(a) Rules on the election of a Steering Board with a definite term of office.
Such an election must be carried out by democratic procedures as approved by the ISA Research Council, representing all of the RC members in good standing. The election rules must include Provisions on how to fill in vacancies arising between World Congresses (for example, vacancies may be filled by appointment by the RC president).
(b) The Steering Board should consist of a president, a secretary, and at least 3 other members; all its members must be regular individual members in good standing of the ISA.
(c) Provision for the payment of dues, without which no member will be in good standing in the ISA and in the RC.
(d) Clear regulations on the procedures to amend the RC Statutes.
The ISA requires that the statutes of all ISA Research Committees contain the following elements:
A distinction between two types of individual membership of a Research Committee:
- ‘Regular members in good standing’, defined as financial members of both the relevant Research Committee and the ISA
- ‘Affiliated members’, defined as financial members of the relevant Research Committee only.
Provision may also be made for institutional members.
Provision for a Steering Board consisting of: a President, a Secretary, and at least three other Board members, with a clear identification of the role bearing the responsibilities of treasurer, which should be either a joint position with secretary or a separate designated position.
Identification of democratic election procedures, as approved by the ISA Research Council, for all the positions on the Board, containing provisions for making nominations open to all the RC’s regular members in good standing, and for voting by all the RC’s regular members in good standing.
Restriction of (a) voting in the RC's elections and affairs and (b) membership of its Board, throughout the four years of the Board’s mandate, to the RC’s regular members in good standing.
A mechanism for replacing inactive board members, ones who resign or ones who do not maintain their ISA and RC/WG/TG memberships throughout the mandate.
A mechanism for replacing a president who is not carrying out their presidential responsibilities.
Identification of membership fees.
A requirement for the Secretary/Treasurer to report the RC’s financial affairs to members at least at every World Congress.
Identification of the procedure for revisions of the statutes/bylaws, including: amount of notice to be given to the membership, how changes can be voted for, number (or %) of votes required for a change to be adopted.
A requirement that the Board provide a newsletter to the membership at least twice annually.
Provision for at least one business meeting of the available regular members in good standing for every 4-year World Congress cycle.
Provision for a mid-term conference to be held between World Congresses.*
[*A single session at the meetings of another association does not really fulfill this obligation. Several sessions at the meeting of another association, co-sponsoring a meeting with another association or having several sessions in conjunction with several different associations, preferably not all in the same part of the world, are acceptable alternatives to a free standing conference.]
Provision for naming the delegate and alternate to the Research Council meetings.
3. RC must distinguish between regular or affiliated members. All regular members are expected to be ISA individual members in good standing who have paid both their ISA and RC dues. Affiliated members in good standing are those who have paid RC dues but are not ISA members in good standing. RC may allow affiliated members to participate in the scientific activities of the group and to vote in its elections and business meetings, but affiliated members may not act as Board members except in the case covered in the below point 4.
4. Scholars from other disciplines who are only affiliated members of a RC may act as Board members, as well as participating in the scientific activities of the group and voting in its elections or business meetings, if that group is organised jointly with another disciplinary association to which they belong, and the joint arrangement for double affiliation has been approved by both associations. See also point 9.
5. To maintain its status as an RC of ISA, each RC must continue to meet the conditions laid down as necessary for eligibility to become a new RC. That is, the RC should have at least 25 individual ISA members in good standing with geographical diversity as determined by the Executive Committee: members from at least 10 countries in 2 continents or 7 countries in 3 continents.
6. Each RC is expected to include within its activities a broad range of areas and approaches; where appropriate, this may be reflected in the creation of sub‑committees with sufficient autonomy to pursue their more specialized research interests. Each RC is also expected to organise a programme of activities at each World Congress, and to arrange at least one independent meeting between one World Congress and the next.
7. Each RC should have a newsletter for communication among members covering the RC activities and other relevant types of material.
8. Each RC is represented on the Research Council, on which it has one vote. Each RC is entitled to elect one representative, and one alternate who may stand in for the representative. The alternate member may also attend the Research Council meetings as an observer when the representative is present, but is not entitled to vote. Please note:
(a) The Research Council plays a vital role in the ISA's formal structure as it represents the entire constituency of individual ISA members organised in Research Committees (RCs), Working Groups (WGs) and Thematic Groups (TGs).
(b) The Research Council together with the Council of National Associations which represents the collective members of ISA, form the highest decision-making body of the ISA, the Assembly of Councils.
(c) The Research Council elects half of the members of the ISA Executive Committee; oversees and promotes research activities among the RCs, WGs, and TGs; and makes decisions on the establishment, demotion and abolition of RCs, WGs, and TGs.
(d) The Research Council meets at each World Congress, and at least once in between Congresses. At the intermediate meetings, there is often an associated research seminar or academic conference.
9. Policy guidelines for Research Committees with double affiliations
(a) An agreement needs to be signed between the RC, ISA and other international associations.
(b) At least 50% of Board Members have to be ISA members in good standing.
(c) Research Committee has to have a minimum of 25 ISA members in good standing.
(d) Allocation of grants and of slots at the World Congress are based on the number of ISA members in good standing.
Beyond the points listed above, each RC is free to organise itself as it wishes, to administer its own funds, to engage in any activities it considers appropriate to its objectives, and to cooperate with other academic and non-academic bodies.
Services provided to Research Committees, Working Groups and Thematic Groups
The ISA secretariat provides a range of services
to RCs, WGs and TGs which include:
The grants will be allocated to the Research Committees
to support activities, such as conferences, workshops and
the production and distribution of their newsletter (printed
Every Research Committee in good standing
is entitled to apply for a grant once between the two World
Congresses, which implies the following conditions:
a) The Research Committee must send to its members and to the ISA Secretariat at least two newsletters every year (printed or electronic).
b) The Research Committee must send a detailed report of its activities to the ISA Secretariat every two years: a mid-term report and a full-term report in Congress years.
c) The Research Committee must organize an international
conference where all its members can participate. The
theme must be sufficiently general to attract most of
the members and not related only to the interests of a
small group of individuals.
d) The Research Committee must hold regular elections
of its board.
e) The Research Committee must have its own membership
dues. The current minimum fee set by the ISA Executive
Committee is US$10 discount fee for a 4 year period.
f) The Research Committee must submit a short proposal
to support its grant application and must send a report
at the end of the period for which the grant was allocated.
be allocated according to the following scale approved in 2012:
|Number of ISA members as
of December of the Congress/Forum year 2012
| 75- 99
| 50- 74
| 25- 49
Grants will be paid in two installments:
upon approval and upon receiving a final report.
2. Collection of dues on behalf of RCs, WGs
Dues can be paid to the ISA Secretariat by credit card,
personal cheque or bank transfer. A payee's name and address are immediately forwarded to the secretary of the relevant RC, WG, and TG. The amounts collected on behalf of the RCs, WGs, TGs, are transferred on request, free of charge, to each RC, WG, and TG bank account (or, if preferred, sent by cheque).
How does this service benefit Research Committees?
(a) Research Committees do not lose money
on banking charges: they are absorbed by the ISA which
processes all individual payments.
(b) Research Committees do not have to maintain any tedious
membership administration and book-keeping: the ISA Secretariat
does it for them.
(c) Although Research Committees officers change every
four years a continuity of the membership administration
is secured by the ISA Secretariat.
Note that the ISA Secretariat only deals with the payment of RC dues by ISA members. Dues (if any) from RC's affiliated members, guests or special participants have to be dealt with by the RC.
3. Preparation of membership lists.
Each Research Committee can request at any time from the ISA Secretariat a current list of ISA members who have paid their RC dues through the ISA Secretariat. Such a list can be provided in a requested format by e‑mail or as a print‑out.
4. Sending out renewal reminders.
ISA Secretariat each year in autumn sends out renewal reminders to ISA members whose dues to ISA and relevant RCs, WGs TGs have to be paid
5. Internet service.
ISA Secretariat uses e-mail for daily correspondence and
also for the circulation of announcements of meetings, calls
for papers, etc., which come from the RCs, WGs and TGs.
The Web World Wide Home Page provides general
information about the ISA (structure, activities, publications)
as well as about each Research Committee, Working and Thematic
The content of the home page relating to RCs is constantly
being updated on the basis of the information received directly
from the RCs, WGs, TGs. If a RC, WG or TG has its own home
page, a direct link is established and thus each group can
alter its home page itself.
According to the UE Data Protection Policy no personal contact addresses shall be made available on Internet. Mailing lists cannot be rented or sold to any third party.
Duties of RCs, WGs and TGs
RCs, WGs and TGs are expected to submit to
the ISA Secretariat:
1. Reports every two years of their activities when requested (every two years: a mid-term report and a full-term report in Congress years).
These reports should include:
(a) details of publications made and planned,
both newsletters and other types of publication;
(b) a list of current officers and dates of the next Board
election. As far as possible, elections for the Steering
Board should be held every fours years at a business meetings
scheduled during the week of the World Congress;
(c) details of past and planned meetings and other activities.
The reports are reviewed by the Research
Coordinating Committee at its meetings every two years.
2. The current list of members whose dues are collected directly by the RC, WG, TG and not by the ISA. Such list should be received at the ISA Secretariat by January 31 of each year for inclusion in the ISA data base.
3. A copy of each issue of the newsletter
as soon as it is produced
Approved by ISA Research Council, Montreal, August 1997
The ISA Research Council approved four
sets of recommendations:
A. Basic minimum requirements
B. Good practices for Research Committees (RCs)
C. Support and incentives from ISA Executive Committee and
D. Dealing with shortcoming
A. Basic minimum requirements
A1. Submit to ISA Secretariat current list of RC members whose dues are collected directly by the RC.
A2. Maintain a minimum of 25 ISA paid-up members.
A3. Members from at least 10 countries in 2 continents or 7 countries in 3
A4. Statutes should reflect the ISA Statutes.
A5. Appropriate activity between World Congresses as indicated in B5 below.
A6. Communicate and provide routine information to Secretariat and appoint delegate and alternate to ISA Research Council.
B. Good practices for Research Committees
B1.1 Keep up-to-date membership list with
dues renewal status and dates.
B1.2 Systematic reminders on dues payment and deletion
of those who have lapsed.
B1.3 Special dues categories for students and low GNI countries.
B1.4 Membership services should be only for paid-up members.
B1.5 Provide ISA and Research Committee information to
B2.1 Keep accounting system and report
accounts to members regularly.
B2.2 Aim at self-financing.
B2.3 Report subsidies received and avoid dependency on
any one external body.
B2.4 Encourage participation of sociologists from low
B3.1 Hold regular elections for Board officers
providing for turnover of officers.
B3.2 Make provision for continuity of business across
B3.3 Set up clear division of labour among Board members.
B3.4 Set up system to ensure participation in decision-making
of all Board members.
B4. Relations to ISA
B4.1 Encourage individual ISA membership
among all RC members.
B4.2 Organise full programme of high quality sessions
at ISA World Congresses.
B4.3 Meet deadlines set up for the organisation of the
B4.4 Respond promptly to ISA Secretariat's request for
routine information and send copies of newsletter to Secretariat
B4.5 Ensure that your representative to ISA Research Council
will be able to attend the meetings.
B5.1 Have regular newsletter with at least
two issues per year.
B5.2 Have at least one interim conference (or other academic
activity) and business meeting between World Congresses.
B5.3 Have a system of paper selection to ensure quality
& geographical representation.
B5.4 Encourage membership from different countries.
B5.5 Encourage scholarly publications from RC activities.
C. Suggestions for
ISA Executive and Secretariat on support and incentives
C1. Produce booklet on ISA philosophy,
aims and requirements for Research Committees.
C2. Provide training for Research Committee officers at
C3. Use RC's framework to consult RC officers and involve
C4. Offer a computer template via e-mail for response
to Secretariat's requests.
C5. Set up annual prizes on one of these aspects:
C5.1 best reporting of activities;
C5.2 greatest increase in ISA membership;
C5.3 most useful newsletter;
C5.4 greatest improvement in running of RC over specified
C5.5 best-run small and large RCs.
D. Suggestions for
ISA Executive and Secretariat on dealing with RCs' shortcomings
Policy for ISA awards
D1. Send a communique of the action(s)
likely to follow with one year time limit.
D2. RCs receiving communique will be put on probationary
D3. Provide advice or support to RCs in dealing with shortcomings
through either experienced individuals, or a group nominated
by the ISA Research Council, or the Research Coordinating
D4. When there is refusal to meet ISA criteria, appropriate
action involves the number of World Congress sessions
D5. Demotion or closure of a RC is appropriate only when
warning had been given and sufficient improvement had
not been shown by the specified deadline.
1. General principles
- (a) Any ISA awards should be for significant
contributions to sociology, to international issues directly
related to the ISA’s mission, or to the ISA as such.
- (b) All proposals for new awards should
need the approval of the ISA Executive Committee. Any
proposal for a new award should specify its purpose and
form, indicate who would be eligible for it, estimate
its costs and show how those could be covered, and provide
information on whether there were any existing awards
or prizes of similar character.
- (c) There should not be more than one
award of a similar nature (e.g. specifically for junior
sociologists, or general whole-career achievement), and
overlap with awards or prizes given by other bodies (in
particular, the Rokkan Prize of the International Social
Science Council for comparative research by a younger
person) should be avoided.
- (d) Unless awards are aimed at a particular
category of person, special care should be taken in the
procedures and personnel involved to ensure that gender,
language, nationality etc do not stand in the way of equal
opportunity to win the award.
- (e) Issues of general policy for ISA awards
should be decided by the Executive Committee, though it
would probably be appropriate to have a subcommittee responsible
for formulating proposals. However, such issues will not
arise often, so it would be unnecessary that this should
be a standing subcommittee.
- (f) If Research Committees have awards
or prizes, they should be consistent with the ISA’s
general policy, and should be described as an award of
Research Committee X of the ISA (not of the RC without
mention of the ISA, or of the ISA alone); proposals for
the establishment of such awards or prizes should be submitted
to the ISA Executive Committee for approval.
- (g) The award of any awards from the whole
ISA, the Research Council or the CNA should be announced
at a World Congress (where this might form part of a special
ceremony), so they should be given every four years. The
timetable leading up to this would need to be planned
so that recipients could be sure to be able to attend
the World Congress. If there were awards associated with
a particular Research Committee or region, they could
be given at interim meetings of the appropriate body.
2. Nominations and Selection Process
- (a) Some awards might be intended
specifically for ISA members, and others not; that should
be decided when an award is first established.
- (b) Nominations should be invited
from all ISA members, at a date which would allow reasonable
opportunities for discussion and liaison before the deadline
for their submission was reached. A nomination should
normally require more than one supporting member, the
number to be specified; the form that it should take would
always be that of providing evidence for the merits of
the candidate nominated for the award, but what that should
consist of would need to be laid down in relation to the
nature of the specific award in question. (For instance,
the nomination of a single publication would be quite
different from the nomination of the record of a whole
- (c) A sub-committee or jury should
be set up with members appropriate to the particular task;
at least one of those members, who will act as chairperson,
should be drawn from the Executive Committee. If the award
is made by the Research Council, proposals for membership
of the jury should be made by the Research Coordinating
Committee to the Research Council; if it is made by the
Council of National Associations, the National Associations
Liaison Committee should make proposals to the CNA.
- (d) The jury should report its proposed
award to the Executive Committee, which should be required
to approve the award; the grounds on which the EC considers
approval should be only those of procedural correctness
and conformity with general ISA policy on awards.
Policy on Research Committe* journals
*All the points made here would apply equally to Working Groups and Thematic Groups.
ISA warmly encourages RCs to run their own journals if the market and the resources of personnel and intellectual work are there. However, there are some guidelines, listed below, which should be borne in mind.
- RCs do not require permission to set up their own journals; however, they should inform the ISA Secretariat if they propose to do so, notify the Secretariat when one is actually established, and include information about the journal’s progress in their annual reports.
- RC journals may be run entirely by one RC, or cooperatively with another RC or some other body outside ISA. (If an outside body is potentially involved, the Vice-President for Publications should be informed before any decisions are reached in case issues are raised about the suitability of the partnership.)
Whichever is the case, the journal and associated material such as web sites should acknowledge the ISA connection, for instance by including a statement that the RC is an RC of the ISA. However, it must not be stated that the journal is sponsored by ISA (as distinct from the particular RC), or the ISA logo used on it, unless the proposal to do so has been approved by the ISA Publications Committee.
- It is expected that any RC journal will set up arrangements for journal governance and continuity, and follow customary academic practice. It should establish an editorial board if one is wanted, an appropriate division of labour for editorial tasks, a system of refereeing, and provision for the observation of relevant ethical standards. It is also expected that these arrangements, and the practical working of the journal, will observe ISA’s commitments to internationalism and to the goal of equality in opportunities for participation. The provision of some material in languages other than English is encouraged.
- Sage is currently the ISA publisher. Our contract with them does not require all journals associated with ISA to be published by Sage, though to create one which could reasonably be seen as in direct competition with the Sage ISA ones would not be acceptable. Sage would be interested to consider proposals to publish any new RC journals.
- The only funding that ISA might provide for an RC journal is the regular activity grant from the RCC, of which each RC may apply for one during a four-year period, which the RC could use for that purpose. No office support is available, but the Publications Committee would, however, be happy to offer advice on the practical issues involved in running a journal, and to help publicise RC-sponsored journals. A link to the journal from the ISA web site can be provided.