IAU Working Rules
Updated: Paris, November 5th, 2018
II. NATIONAL MEMBERSHIP
III. INDIVIDUAL AND JUNIOR MEMBERSHIP
IV. RESOLUTIONS OF THE UNION
V. EXTERNAL RELATIONS
VI. FINANCIAL MATTERS
VII. RULES OF PROCEDURE FOR THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
VIII. SCIENTIFIC MEETINGS AND PUBLICATIONS
IX. TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR DIVISIONS
X. TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR COMMISSIONS
XI. SPECIAL NOMINATING COMMITTEE
XII. IAU "ASSOCIATE" STATUS
INTRODUCTION AND RATIONALE
The Statutes of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) define the goals and organizational structure of the Union, while the Bye-Laws specify the main tasks of the various bodies of the Union in implementing the provisions of the Statutes. The Working Rules are designed to assist the membership and governing bodies of the Union in carrying out these tasks in an appropriate and effective manner. Each of the sections below is preceded by an introduction outlining the goals to be accomplished by the procedures specified in the succeeding paragraphs. The Executive Committee updates the Working Rules as necessary to reflect current procedures and to optimize the services of the IAU to its membership.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) follows the regulations of the International Council for Science (ISC) and concurs with the actions undertaken by their Standing Committee on Freedom in the Conduct of Science on non-discrimination and universality of science (cf. § 22 below)
II. NATIONAL MEMBERSHIP
The aim of the rules for applications for National Membership is to ensure that the proposed National Member adequately represents an astronomical community not already represented by another Member, and that such membership will be of maximum benefit for the community concerned (cf. Statutes § IV).
1. Applications for National Membership should therefore clearly describe the following essential conditions:
1.a. the precise definition of the astronomical community to be represented by the proposed Member;
1.b. the present state and expected development of that astronomical community;
1.c. the manner in which the proposed National Member represents this community;
1.d. whether the application is for membership on a permanent, interim, or observer basis;
1.e. the category in which the prospective National Member wishes to be classified (cf. Bye-Laws § 25);
1.f. the process by which the National Membership annual dues will be paid promptly and in full.
2. Applications for National Membership shall be submitted to the General Secretary, who will forward them to the Executive Committee for review as provided in the Statutes.
III. INDIVIDUAL AND JUNIOR MEMBERSHIP
The guidelines for the admission of new Individual Members, Junior Members and Honorary Members are drafted and regularly updated by the Membership Committee.
a. Regular Individual Members: Professional scientists whose research is directly relevant to some branch of astronomy are eligible for election as Individual Members of the Union (cf. Statutes § V). Individual Members are normally admitted by the Executive Committee on the proposal of a National Member. However, Presidents of Divisions may also propose individuals for membership in cases when the normal procedure is not applicable or practicable (cf. Bye-Laws § 4). The present rules are intended to ensure that all applications for membership are processed on a uniform basis, and that all members are fully integrated in and contributing to the activities of the Union.
b. Junior Members: Scientists who have completed their PhD studies and have the prospect of becoming professional researchers in some branch of astronomy are eligible for selection as Junior Member of the Union. Junior Members are admitted annually by the Executive Committee on the proposal of a National Member, supported by at least two referees that should assess the potential of the candidate to become a professional astronomer. The Junior membership is temporary and cannot be extended for more than 6 years.
c. Honorary Members: Individuals that have substantially contributed to the development of the astronomical research in their country, who are not professional astronomers (see art. III a) and do not qualify as Individual Member under the provision of art. III 4, may be proposed to become IAU Honorary Members.
3. The term "Professional Scientist" shall normally designate a person with a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) or equivalent experience in astronomy or a related science, and whose professional activities have a substantial component of work related to astronomy.
4. National Members and Division Presidents may propose Individual and Junior Members who fall outside the category of professional scientist but who have made major contributions to the science of astronomy, e.g., through education or research related to astronomy. Such proposals should be accompanied by a detailed motivation for what should be seen as exceptions to the rule.
5. Eight months before an ordinary General Assembly, National Members and Presidents of Divisions will be invited to propose new Individual Members; these proposals should reach the General Secretary no later than five months before the General Assembly. Late proposals will normally not be taken into consideration. Proposals from Presidents of Divisions will be communicated by the IAU 3 months before the General Assembly to the relevant National Members, if any, who may add the person(s) in question to their own list of proposals.
5.bis By September 15th of each year, National Members and Presidents of Divisions will be invited to submit a list of candidate Junior Members to the General Secretary together with the relevant referees’ assessment. The lists of proposed candidates should reach the General Secretary no later than March 15th. The lists will be reviewed by the Membership Committee and submitted to the Executive Committee for approval.
5.ter By September 15th of the year preceding a General Assembly, National Members will be invited to submit candidatures for Honorary Members. No more than one Honorary Member candidate per NM can be presented every triennium. The candidature shall be accompanied by a Curriculum Vitae of the candidate together with a documented motivation that justify the candidature.
6. National Members shall promptly inform in writing the General Secretary of the death of any Individual Member represented by them. National Members are also urged to propose the deletion of Individual Members who are no longer active in astronomy by including a written agreement of the member concerned. Such proposals should be submitted to the General Secretary at the same time as proposals for new Individual Members.
7. Proposals for membership shall include the full name, date of birth, and nationality of the candidate, postal and electronic addresses, the University, year, and subject of the M.Sc./Ph.D. or equivalent degree, current affiliation and occupation, the proposing National Member or Division, the Division(s) and/or Commission(s) which the candidate wishes to join, and any further detail that might be relevant.
7.bis Junior Members must indicate at least one Division they wish to join, they can join Commissions and Working Groups according to the same rules as Individual Members, but they cannot hold office within the scientific bodies, except in Commissions or Working Groups specifically established for Junior Members. As for the Junior Proposal details, § III 7. above applies. It is understood that, given the expected high mobility of Junior Members, their confirmation or the proposal to become a regular Individual Member (§ III 5.) may be submitted by a different National Member from the first proposer.
7.ter Honorary Members are exempted from choosing the affiliation to Divisions and do not have voting rights.
8. The standing Membership Committee advises the Executive Committee on its behalf on matters related to the admission of Individual, Junior and Honorary Members (Statute 13f.).
8.a Three months before a General Assembly, the Membership Committee shall prepare a list of at least 10 Individual Members of the Union who accept to serve on the Committee for the next triennium if elected, including a nominee for Chair. The General Secretary shall forward this list to the National Members and invite additional nominations from them with a deadline of one month before the General Assembly. The Membership Committee shall verify that the resulting slate complies with the rules in Statutes 13 and with general principles of scientific, geographical and gender balance. Members shall not normally serve more than two consecutive terms, and it is desirable that roughly half of the members are replaced at each election. The Chair of the Membership Committee shall present the resulting slate of nominations to the National Members together with the report of the Committee on the previous triennium at the beginning of the General Assembly, for final election at its closing session.
9. The General Secretary shall submit all proposals for Individual Membership to the Membership Committee for review, consolidated into two lists:
9.a one containing all proposals by National Members; and
9.b one containing all proposals by Presidents of Divisions, in accordance with Bye-Law § 4 .
10. The Membership Committee shall examine all proposals for individual membership and advise the Executive Committee on the proposals for individual membership.
11. In exceptional cases, the Executive Committee may, on the proposal of a Division, admit an Individual Member between General Assemblies. Such proposals shall be prepared as described above (cf. § 2) and submitted with a justification of the request to bypass the normal procedure. The Executive Committee shall consult the nominating committee or relevant National Member before approving such exceptions to the normal procedure.
12. The General Secretary shall maintain updated lists of all National and Individual Members, and shall make these available to the membership in electronic form. The procedures for dissemination of these lists shall be set by the General Secretary in such a way that the membership directory be properly protected against unintended or inappropriate use.
IV. RESOLUTIONS OF THE UNION
Traditionally, the decisions and recommendations of the Union on scientific and organizational matters of general and significant importance are expressed in the Resolutions of the Union. In order for such Resolutions to carry appropriate weight in the international community, they should address astronomical matters of significant impact on the international society, or matters of international policy of significant importance for the international astronomical community as a whole.
Resolutions should be adopted by the Union only after thorough preparation by the relevant bodies of the Union. The proposed resolution text should be essentially complete before the beginning of the General Assembly, to allow Individual and National Members time to study them before discussion and debate by the General Assembly. The following procedures have been designed to accomplish this:
13. Proposals for Resolutions to be adopted by the Union may be submitted by a National Member, by the Executive Committee, a Division, a Commission or a Working Group. They should address specific issues of the nature described above, define the objectives to be achieved, and describe the action(s) to be taken by the Officers, Executive Committee, or Divisions to achieve these objectives.
14. Resolutions proposed for vote by the Union fall in three categories as set out in Article 14 of the Union's Statutes:
14.a. Resolutions with implications for the budget of the Union (Statute 14a); or
14.b. Resolutions affecting the administration of the Union but without financial implications (Statute 14b).
14.c. Resolutions of a primarily scientific nature (Statute 14).
Proposals for Resolutions should be submitted following the IAU Resolutions Guidelines document, which is also available from the IAU Secretariat. They may be submitted in either English or French and will be discussed and voted upon in the original language. Upon submission each proposed Resolution is posted on the Union web site. When the approved Resolutions are published, a translation to the other language will be provided.
15. Resolutions with implications for the budget of the Union must be submitted to the General Secretary at least nine months before the General Assembly in order to be taken into account in the budget for the impending triennium. All other Resolutions must be submitted to the General Secretary six months (Bye-Laws 7c and 7d) before the beginning of the General Assembly. The Executive Committee may decide to accept late proposals in exceptional circumstances.
16. Before being submitted to the vote of the General Assembly, proposed Resolutions will be examined by the Executive Committee, Division Presidents, and by a Resolutions Committee, which is nominated by the Executive Committee. The Resolutions Committee consists of at least three members of the Union, one of whom should be a member of the Executive Committee, and one of whom should be a continuing member from the previous triennium. It is appointed by the General Assembly during its final session and remains in office until the end of the following General Assembly.
17. The Resolutions Committee will examine the content, wording, and implications of all proposed Resolutions promptly after their submission. In particular, it will address the following points:
i. suitability of the subject for an IAU Resolution;
ii. correct and unambiguous wording;
iii. consistency with previous IAU Resolutions.
The Resolutions Committee may refer a Resolution back to the proposers for revision or withdrawal if it perceives significant problems with the text, but can neither withdraw nor modify its substance on its own initiative. The Resolutions Committee advises the Executive Committee whether the subject of a proposed Resolution is primarily a matter of policy or primarily scientific. The Resolutions Committee will also notify the Executive Committee of any perceived problems with the substance of a proposed Resolution.
18. The Executive Committee will examine the substance and implications of all proposed Resolutions. Proposed Resolutions shall be published in the General Assembly Newspaper before the final session, and shall state if the Resolution is open to electronic voting after the General Assembly. The Resolutions Committee will present the proposals during a plenary session of the General Assembly with its own recommendations, and those of the Executive Committee, if any, for their approval or rejection. A representative of the body proposing the Resolution will be given the opportunity to defend the Resolution in front of the General Assembly, after which a general discussion shall take place
19. Resolutions with implications for the budget of the Union are voted upon by the National Members during the final plenary session of the General Assembly. Other resolutions may be voted upon by the National Members or by Individual Members as appropriate according to the Statutes of the Union by correspondence after the General Assembly. The Union will facilitate electronic discussion of all Resolutions on the Union website in advance of a vote either at the General Assembly or electronically (Statutes 15a. and 15.b.).
V. EXTERNAL RELATIONS
Contacts with other international scientific organizations, national and international public bodies, the media, and the public are increasing in extent and importance. In order to maintain coherent overall policies in matters of international significance, clear delegation of authority is required. Part of this is accomplished by having the Union's representatives in other scientific organization appointed by the Executive Committee (cf. Bye-Laws § 15). Supplementary rules are given in the following.
20. Representatives of the Union in other scientific organizations are appointed by the Executive Committee upon consultation with the Division(s) in the field(s) concerned.
21. In other international organizations, e.g. in the United Nations Organization, the Union is normally represented by the General Secretary or Assistant General Secretary, as decided by the Executive Committee.
22. The Union strongly supports the policies of the International Council for Science (ICSU) as regards the freedom and universality of science. Participants in IAU sponsored activities who feel that they may have been subjected to discrimination are urged, first, to seek clarification of the origin of the incident, which may have been due to misunderstandings or to the cultural differences encountered in an international environment. Should these attempts not prove successful, contact should be made with the General Secretary who will take steps to resolve the issue.
23. Public statements that are attributed to the Union as a whole can be made only by the President, the General Secretary, or the Executive Committee. The General Secretary may, in consultation with the relevant Division, appoint Individual Members of the Union with special expertise in questions that attract the attention of media and the general public as IAU spokespersons on specific matters.
VI. FINANCIAL MATTERS
The great majority of the Union's financial resources are provided by the National Members, as laid out in the Statutes § XII and Bye-Laws § VII. The purpose of the procedures described below is twofold: (i) to provide the best possible advice and guidance to the General Secretary and Executive Committee in planning and managing the Union´s financial affairs, and (ii) to provide National Members with a mechanism for continuing input to and oversight over these affairs between and in preparation for the General Assemblies. The procedures adopted to accomplish this are as follows:
24. At the end of each of its final sessions the General Assembly appoints a Finance Committee of 5-6 members, including a Chair.
24.a. Three months before a General Assembly, the Finance Committee shall prepare a list of at least 10 Individual Members of the Union who accept to serve on the Committee for the next triennium if elected, including a nominee for Chair. The General Secretary shall forward this list to the National Members and invite additional nominations from them with a deadline of one month before the General Assembly. The Finance Committee shall verify that the resulting slate complies with the rules in Statutes 13 and with general principles of scientific, geographical and gender balance. Members shall not normally serve more than two consecutive terms, and it is desirable that roughly half of the members are replaced at each election. The Chair of the Finance Committee shall present the resulting slate of nominations to the National Members together with the report of the Committee on the previous triennium at the beginning of the General Assembly, for final election at its closing session. The Finance Committee remains in office until the end of the next General Assembly (cf. Statutes § 13.d.) and cooperates with the National Members, Executive Committee and General Secretary in the following manner:
24.b. After the end of each year the General Secretary will call for a legal audit of the accounts by a properly licensed, external auditor. The auditor will make a report addressed to the General Assembly. The General Secretary provides the Finance Committee with the auditor's report and summary reports covering the financial performance of the Union as compared to the approved budget, together with an analysis of any significant departures, and information on any Executive Committee approvals of budget changes. Upon receipt of the above reports from the General Secretary, the Finance Committee examines the accounts of the Union in the light of the corresponding budget and any relevant later decisions by the Executive Committee. It reports its findings and recommendations to the Executive Committee at its next meeting. The Finance Committee may at any time, at the request of the Executive Committee or the General Secretary, or on its own initiative, advise the General Secretary and/or the Executive Committee on any aspect of the Union's financial affairs.
24.c. Towards the end of the year preceding that of a General Assembly, the General Secretary shall submit a preliminary draft of the budget for the next triennium to the Finance Committee for review. The draft budget, updated as appropriate following the comments and advice of the Finance Committee, shall be submitted to the Executive Committee for approval together with the report of the Finance Committee and shall be sent to the National Members as a draft budget as stipulated in Bye-Law 7b. The final budget proposal as approved by the Executive Committee shall be submitted to the National Members with a statement of the views of the Finance Committee on the proposal.
24.d. Before the first session of a General Assembly, the Finance Committee shall submit a report, including the auditor's reports, to the Executive Committee on its findings and recommendations concerning the development of the Union's finances over the preceding triennium. The Finance Committee shall also prepare, in consultation with the National Members, a slate of candidates for the composition of the Finance Committee in the next triennium, preferably providing a balance between new and continuing members.
24.e. The report of the Finance Committee, together with the audited detailed accounts and the earlier comments on the proposed budget for the next triennium, will form a suitable basis for the discussions of the Finance Committee leading to its recommendations to the General Assembly concerning the approval of the accounts for the previous triennium and the budget for the next triennium, as well as the new Finance Committee to serve during that period.
25. The General Secretary is responsible for managing the Union's financial affairs according to the approved budget (cf. Bye-Laws § 28).
25.a. In response to changing circumstances, the Executive Committee may approve such specific changes to the annual budgets as are consistent with the intentions of the General Assembly when the budget was approved.
25.b. Unless authorized by the Executive Committee, the General Secretary shall not approve expenses exceeding the approved budget by more than 10% of any corresponding major budget line or 2% of the total budget in a given year, whichever is larger. This restriction does not apply in cases when external funding has been provided for a specific purpose, e.g. travel grants to a General Assembly.
25.c. Unless specifically identified in the approved budget, contractual commitments in excess of €50,000 or with performance terms in excess of 3 years require the additional approval of the Union President.
26. The National Representatives, in approving the accounts for the preceding triennium, discharge the General Secretary and the Executive Committee of liability for the period in question.
VII. RULES OF PROCEDURE FOR THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The Executive Committee must respond quickly to events and thus it needs to be able to have discussions and take decisions on a relatively short timescale and without meeting in person. The following rules, as required by Bye-Law 14, are designed to facilitate EC action in a flexible manner, while giving such decisions the same legal status as those taken at actual physical meetings.
27. The Executive Committee should meet in person at least once per year. In years of a General Assembly it should meet in conjunction with and at the venue of the General Assembly. In other years, the Executive Committee decides on the date and venue of its regular meeting. The meetings of the Executive Committee are chaired by the President or, if the President is unavailable, by the President Elect or by one of the Vice-Presidents chosen by the Executive Committee to serve in this capacity.
28. The date and venue of the next regular meeting of the Executive Committee shall be communicated at least six months in advance to all its members and the Advisors, and to all Presidents of Divisions. Any of these persons may then propose items for inclusion in the Draft Agenda of the meeting before the date posted on the IAU Deadlines page.
29. Outgoing and incoming Presidents of Divisions are invited to attend all non-confidential sessions of the outgoing and incoming Executive Committee, respectively, in the year of a General Assembly. The President will invite Presidents of Divisions to attend the meetings of the Executive Committee in the years preceding a General Assembly. Division Presidents attend these sessions with speaking right, but do not participate in any voting.
30. The Executive Committee may take official decisions if at least half of its members participate in the discussion and vote on an issue. Decisions are taken by a simple majority of the votes cast. In case of an equal division of votes, the Chair's vote decides the issue. Members who are unable to attend may, by written or electronic correspondence with the President before the meeting, authorize another member to vote on her/his behalf or submit valid votes on specific issues.
31. If events arise that require action from the Executive Committee between its regular meetings, the Committee may meet by teleconference or by such electronic or other means of correspondence as it may decide. In such cases, the Officers shall submit a clear description of the issue at hand, with a deadline for reactions. If the Officers propose a specific decision on the issue, the decision shall be considered as approved unless a majority of members vote against it by the specified deadline. In case of a delay in communication, or if the available information is considered insufficient for a decision, the deadline shall be extended or the decision deferred until a later meeting at the request of at least two members of the Executive Committee.
32. The Officers of the IAU should, as a rule, meet once a year at the IAU Secretariat in order to discuss all matters of importance to the Union. The other members of the Executive Committee and the Division Presidents shall be invited to submit items for discussion at the Officers' Meetings and shall receive brief minutes of these Meetings.
33. Should any member of the Executive Committee have a conflict of interest on a matter before the Executive Committee that might compromise their ability to act in the best interests of the Union, they shall declare their conflict of interest to the Executive Committee, and such conflict shall be recorded by the Secretariat. The remaining members of the Executive Committee determine the appropriate level of participation in such issues for members with a potential conflict of interest.
VIII. SCIENTIFIC MEETINGS AND PUBLICATIONS
Meetings and their proceedings remain a major part of the activities of the Union. The purpose of scientific meetings is to provide a forum for the development and dissemination of new ideas, and the proceedings are a written record of what transpired.
34. The General Secretary shall publish in the Transactions and on the IAU web site rules for scientific meetings organized or sponsored by the Union.
35. The proceedings of the General Assemblies and other scientific meetings organized or sponsored by the Union shall, as a rule, be published. To ensure prompt publication of Proceedings of IAU Symposia and Colloquia, the Assistant General Secretary is authorized to oversee the production of the material for the Proceedings. The Union shall publish an Information Bulletin at regular intervals to keep Members informed of current and future events in the Union. The Union shall also publish a more informal, periodic Newsletter which it distributes electronically to its members. The Executive Committee decides on the scope, format, and production policies for such publications, with due regard to the need for prompt publication of new scientific results and to the financial implications for the Union. At the present time, publications are in printed and in electronic form.
36. Divisions, Commissions, and Working Groups shall, with the approval of the Executive Committee, be encouraged to issue Newsletters or similar publications addressing issues within the scope of their activity.
IX. TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR DIVISIONS
The Divisions are the scientific backbone of the IAU. They have a main responsibility for monitoring the scientific and international development of astronomy within their subject areas, and for ensuring that the IAU will address the most significant issues of the time with maximum foresight, enterprising spirit, and scientific judgment. To fulfill this role IAU Divisions should maintain a balance between innovation and continuity.
The following Terms of Reference, revised and approved by the Executive Committee during the XXIXth General Assembly in Honolulu (2015), have been drafted to facilitate that process, within the rules laid down in the Statutes § X and the Bye-Laws § V.
37. As specified in Bye-Law 18, the scientific affairs of the Division are conducted by a Division Steering Committee, headed by the Division President, Vice-President, and Secretary. In addition, the Division Steering Committee is composed of the Presidents of their affiliated Commissions or their representatives (in the case of "Cross-Division" status of the Commission) (see §41b), and 6 at-large members elected by the Division membership. All significant decisions of the Division require the approval of the Steering Committee, and the President and Vice-President are responsible for organizing the work of the Committee so that its members are consulted in a timely manner. The Division Secretary is designated among the members of the Division Steering Committee (see §39e), but cannot be a Commission President. Contact information for the members of the Steering Committee shall be maintained at the Division web site.
Unless agreed otherwise by the Executive Committee on a case-by-case basis, the President of a Division cannot be President of another Division or of a Commission, or be Chair of a Working Group.
38. Individual Members of the Union can freely join or leave the Division(s) of their choice, but must belong to at least one Division. If they want to change their affiliation, members of a Division must inform immediately the Division Secretary, and notify the IAU Secretariat so that the membership database is kept up to date at all times.
38.a. The membership of the Division is regularly updated by the IAU Secretariat, and can be exported from the IAU membership database for the purposes of communication within the Division. Alternatively, the IAU Secretariat may provide help in disseminating information among Division members (via e-newsletters, etc.).
39. The effectiveness of the Division relies strongly on the scientific stature and dedication of its President and Vice-President to the mission of the Division. The Executive Committee, in proposing new Division Presidents and Vice-Presidents for election by the General Assembly, will rely heavily on the recommendations of the Steering Committee of the Division. In order to prepare a strong slate of candidates for these positions, and for the succession on the Steering Committee itself, the following procedures shall normally apply:
39.a. Candidates are proposed and selected from the membership of the Division on the basis of their qualifications, experience, and stature in the fields covered by the Division. In addition, the Steering Committees should have proper gender balance and broad geographical representation.
39.b. At least six months before a General Assembly, the outgoing Steering Committee submits to the membership of the Division a list of candidates for President, Vice-President (for which there should be the names of at least two persons willing to serve), and for the incoming Steering Committee, according to the composition defined in §37. The outgoing Steering Committee devises the procedure by which the requisite number of candidates is elected by the membership, and requests nominations from the entire membership in preparing this list or may call for self-appointment. It is desirable that more names are proposed than there are eligible positions to be filled on the new Steering Committee. A vote is then organized, normally electronically, among all the members for the above offices. The results of the elections are reported to the General Secretary for information at least three months before the General Assembly.
Electronic voting may be arranged by the Secretariat.
39.c. The Vice-President is normally nominated to succeed the President. The outgoing President participates in the deliberations of the new Steering Committee in an advisory capacity. Members of the Steering Committee normally serve a maximum of two terms, unless elected Vice-President of the Division. Presidents normally serve for only one term.
39.d. A member of the Steering Committee normally serves a maximum of two terms, unless elected Vice-President of the Division in her/his second term.
39.e. The Steering Committee decides on the procedures for designating the Division Secretary, who is responsible for maintaining the Division web site and/or providing the relevant information to the IAU Secretariat, records of the business of the Division, and other rules for conducting its business by physical meetings or remotely.
39.f. In the event of a newly formed Division, paragraphs 39a - 39c do not apply. The Executive Committee shall consult the Steering Committees of the relevant predecessor Divisions on possible candidates for President and Vice-President of the new Division for the next triennium. The Executive Committee shall select the names to be proposed to the General Assembly for election.
40. A key responsibility of the Steering Committee is to maintain an internal organization of Commissions and Working Groups in the Division which is conducive to the fulfillment of its mission. The Steering Committee shall take the following steps to accomplish this task in a timely and effective manner:
40.a. Within the first year after a General Assembly - with a business meeting of the Division at the General Assembly itself as a natural starting point - the Steering Committee shall discuss with its Commissions, and within the Steering Committee itself, if changes in its Commission and Working Group structure may enable it to accomplish its mission better in the future. As a rule, Working Groups may be created (following the rules in Bye-Law 21 and Bye-Law 23) at any time for new activities that are either of a known, finite duration or are exploratory in nature. If experience, possibly from an existing Working Group, indicates that a major section of the Division's activities require a coordinating body for a longer period (a decade or more), the creation of a new Commission may be in order (Statutes, § 22), and a corresponding Call for Proposals for Commissions considered.
40.b. Whenever the Steering Committee is satisfied that the creation of a new Division Working Group or Commission is well motivated, it may take immediate action as specified in Bye-Law 21 or Bye-Law 23, independently of General Assemblies. However, in preparation for General Assemblies, the Steering Committee must submit for approval its complete proposal for the continuation, discontinuation, or merger of its Commissions and Working Groups to the General Secretary at least one month in advance of the Executive Committee meeting being held before the relevant General Assembly.
40.c. The President and Steering Committee maintain frequent contacts with the other IAU Divisions to ensure that any newly emerging or interdisciplinary matters are addressed appropriately and effectively.
X. TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR COMMISSIONS
The role of the Commissions is to organize the work of the Union in specialized subsets of the fields of their parent Division(s), when the corresponding activity is judged to be of considerable significance over times of a decade or more. Thus, the Executive Committee, upon the recommendation of one or more Divisions, may decide to issue a public Call for Proposals for Commissions, when fields emerge that are clearly in sustained long-term development and where the Union may play a significant role in promoting this development at the international level (Statutes, § 22). Similarly, Commissions may be discontinued by the Executive Committee upon the recommendation of the parent Division(s) when their work can be accomplished effectively by the parent Division(s). In keeping with the many-sided activities of the Union, Commissions may have purely scientific as well as more organizational and/or interdisciplinary fields. They will normally belong and report to one of the IAU Divisions, but may be common to two or more Divisions (see Bye-Laws § 23). The Commissions within a Division are not expected to cover all the scientific areas of the Division, therefore some specific areas may not be covered by Commissions for some period of time.
A Division may temporarily have no Commission.
The following Terms of Reference have been revised and approved by the Executive Committee during the XXIXth General Assembly in Honolulu (2015). They apply if a Division has one or more Commissions.
41. The activities of a Commission are directed by an Organizing Committee of 4-8 members of the Commission, headed by a Commission President and Vice-President (cf. Bye-Laws § 22). A member of the Organizing Committee normally serves a maximum of two terms, unless elected Vice-President of the Commission in her/his second term. Presidents may serve for only one term. All members of the Organizing Committee are expected to be active in this task, and are to be consulted on all significant actions of the Commission. The Organizing Committee appoints a Commission Secretary who maintains the records of activities of the Commission in co-operation with the Division Secretary and the IAU Secretariat. Contact information for the members of the Organizing Committee shall be maintained at the IAU Secretariat.
Unless agreed otherwise by the Executive Committee on a case-by-case basis, the President of a Commission cannot be President of a Division or of another Commission, or be Chair of a Working Group.
41.a. Commission Presidents, or their representatives, are ex-officio members of the Steering Committees of the Divisions to which they are affiliated (Working Rules, § 37), as specified in the next section.
41.b. In their relations with Divisions, Commissions fall in three categories:
(a) Regular Commissions are affiliated to one "parent" Division only. The Commission President is a member of the Steering Committee of its parent Division.
(b) Inter-Division Commissions are affiliated to more than one Division, but one is the "primary" Division. The Commission President is a member of the Steering Committee of its primary Division.
(c) Cross-Division Commissions are affiliated to more the one Division on a parity basis. The Commission Organizing Committee will send one representative as ex-officio member in each Steering Committee.of its parent Divisions.
42. Individual Members of the Union may join or leave a Commission at any time, while belonging to no more than three Commissions (joining a 4th Commission is allowed if the latter belongs to Division B or C). They should notify immediately the relevant Commission Secretary and the IAU Secretariat. The Commission Secretary should keep at all times an up-to-date list of the Commission members, in coordination with the IAU Secretariat. If a change in Commission affiliation implies a change of Division affiliation, this change must also be notified to the relevant Division Secretaries, and to the IAU Secretariat, to keep the membership database updated at all times.
43.a. At least six months before a General Assembly, the outgoing Organizing Committee submits to the membership of the Commission a list of candidates for President, Vice-President (for which there should be the names of at least two persons willing to serve), and for the incoming Organizing Committee, according to the composition defined in Bye-Laws §22a. The outgoing Organizing Committee devises the procedure by which the requisite number of candidates is elected by the membership., and requests nominations from the entire membership in preparing this list or may call for self-appointment. It is desirable that more names are proposed than there are eligible positions to be filled on the new Organizing Committee. A vote is then organized, normally electronically, among all the members for the above offices. The results of the elections are reported to the General Secretary for information at least three months before the General Assembly.
Electronic voting may be arranged by the Secretariat.
43.b. The Vice-President is normally nominated to succeed the President. The outgoing President participates in the deliberations of the new Organizing Committee in an advisory capacity. Members of the Organizing Committee normally serve a maximum of two terms, unless elected Vice-President of the Commission. Presidents normally serve for only one term.
44. At least six months before each General Assembly, the Organizing Committee shall submit to the parent Division(s) a report on its activities during the past triennium, with its recommendation as to whether the Commission should be continued for another three years, or merged with one or more other Commissions, or discontinued. If a continuation is proposed, a plan for the activities of the next triennium should be presented, including those of any Working Groups which the Commission proposes to maintain during that period.
45. The Organizing Committee decides its own rules for the conduct of its business by physical meetings or (electronic) correspondence. Such rules require approval by the Steering Committee of the parent Division(s).
XI. SPECIAL NOMINATING COMMITTEE
46. Approximately six months before the start of the General Assembly the General Secretary shall invite Division Presidents and the members of the Executive Committee to nominate potential members of the SNC with a deadline of 3 months before the General Assembly. The Executive Committee shall prepare a list of candidates in consultation with the Membership Committee for appointment at the final Business Session of the General Assembly. The SNC, once appointed, shall elect its own Chair.
XII. IAU "ASSOCIATE" STATUS
The IAU status of "Associate" is offered by invitation exclusively, to individuals who are not IAU members, but are actively involved in the work of the IAU, as members of a Working Group, a Commission, or a Division. The status is temporary and must be reconfirmed at the time of the General Assemblies. Associates are nominated by the Working Group, Commission, or Division with which they are working, and are listed on the IAU web site as "Associates".
47. The appointment of IAU "Associates" must be approved (with due justification) by the Chair/President/Committee at the next hierarchical level. More precisely:
47.a. Commission WG Associates must be approved by the relevant Commission President;
47.b. Division WG Associates must be approved by the Division President;
47.c. Commission Associates must be approved by the Division President;
47.d. Division Associates must be approved by the Division Steering Committee upon the recommendation of the Division President.
48. Appointments (or termination of terms) can take place at any time. In all cases, the Division Secretary (or Division Secretaries, in the case of inter-Commission or inter-Division WGs) must be informed of the appointment. The Division Secretary keeps track of all the Associates within the Division, and is the contact person with the IAU Secretariat to update the database.
49. In order to maintain a reliable Associate database, the Associates must be explicitly reconfirmed every triennium by Division Secretaries, by way of notification to the IAU Secretariat. By default, Associates not reconfirmed at the end of each General Assembly will be put automatically to "inactive" status in the database until reconfirmed.
50. Once the Associate status has been granted, Associates are considered as IAU members (equal access to information, e-Newsletters, internal Commission or Division communication, participation in Commission or Division activities, etc.), except that they cannot vote. In practice this means that their e-mail addresses are not included in the voting list, reserved for IAU members.
51. As a rule, Associates should not be appointed by more than one IAU body (WG, Commision, etc.), and they should form only a small fraction of the IAU body which has appointed them. The supervision of a WG by a Commission, etc., and the monitoring by the Division Secretary, should be a good safeguard in this respect.
52. For clarity in the connection between an Associate and the IAU, the "Associate" profile in the IAU database will mention only the inviting body (e.g., "Division H Commission 34 WG Astrochemistry Associate", and not have a separate affiliation to " Division H Interstellar Matter and Local Universe" and "Division H Commission 34 Interstellar Matter" by default as is the case when one is an IAU member of a given Commission or Working Group).
53. In recognition for their role, Associates working closely with the IAU for a long period of time may be recommended for IAU membership to the Executive Committee by the President of the relevant Division, who should inform the General Secretary (in charge of notifying the relevant National Committee) six months before the start of a General Assembly.
54. Associates may be also appointed at any time as members of an Executive Committee Working Group (EC-WG), upon the recommendation of its Chair. In that case, the appointment is approved by the General Secretary, on behalf of the Executive Committee. The IAU database is correspondingly updated, with the mention "EC-WG [WG name] Associate". EC-WG Associates have the same status as other IAU Associates (see item 49, replacing "Division Secretaries" by "General Secretary", and item 50), but ending when the EC-WG is terminated.
Top of the page