IAU Bye-Laws

Beijing, 21 August 2012

Contents:

I. MEMBERSHIP
II. GENERAL ASSEMBLY
III. SPECIAL NOMINATING COMMITTEE
IV. OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
V. SCIENTIFIC DIVISIONS
VI. SCIENTIFIC COMMISSIONS
VII. ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCES
VIII. FINAL CLAUSES

 

I. MEMBERSHIP

  1. An application for admission to the Union as a National Member shall be submitted to the General Secretary by the proposing organization at least eight months before the next ordinary General Assembly.
  2. The Executive Committee shall examine the application and resolve any outstanding issues concerning the nature of the proposed National Member and the category of membership (§ VII.25). Subsequently, the Executive Committee shall forward the application to the General Assembly for decision, with its recommendation as to its approval or rejection.
  3. The Executive Committee shall examine any proposal by a National Member to change its category of adherence to a more appropriate level. If the Executive Committee is unable to approve the request, either party may refer the matter to the next General Assembly.
  4. Individual Members are admitted by the Executive Committee upon the nomination of a National Member or the President of a Division. The Executive Committee shall publish the criteria and procedures for membership, and shall consult the Membership Committee before admitting new Individual Members.

II. GENERAL ASSEMBLY

      5. The ordinary General Assembly meets, as a rule, once every three years. Unless determined by the previous General Assembly, the place and date of the ordinary General Assembly shall be fixed by the Executive Committee and be communicated to the National Members at least one year in advance.



      6. The President may summon an extraordinary General Assembly with the consent of the Executive Committee, and must do so at the request of at least one third of the National Members. The date, place, and agenda of business of an extraordinary General Assembly must be communicated to all National Members at least two months before the first day of the Assembly.



      7. Matters to be decided upon by the General Assembly shall be submitted for consideration by those concerned as follows, counting from the first day of the General Assembly:



      7.a. A motion to amend the Statutes or Bye-Laws may be submitted by a National Member or by the Executive Committee. Any such motion shall be submitted to the General Secretary at least nine months in advance and be forwarded, with the recommendation of the Executive Committee as to its adoption or rejection, to the National Members at least six months in advance.



      7.b. The General Secretary shall distribute the draft budget prepared by the Executive Committee to the National Members at least eight months in advance. Any motion to modify this budget, or any other matters pertaining to it, shall be submitted to the General Secretary at least six months in advance. The Executive Committee shall consider whether or not to adopt any such motion in a modified budget, which shall be distributed to the National Members at least four months in advance. Should the Executive Committee decide to reject the motion it shall also be submitted to the General Assembly with the reasons for its rejection.



      7.c. Any motion or proposal concerning the administration of the Union, and not affecting the budget, by a National Member, or by the Organizing Committee of a Scientific Division of the Union, shall be

 

      placed on the Agenda of the General Assembly, provided it is submitted to the General Secretary, in specific terms, at least six months in advance.



      7.d. Any motion of a scientific character submitted by a National Member, a Scientific Division of the Union, or by an ICSU Scientific Committee or Program on which the Union is formally represented,

 

      shall be placed on the Agenda of the General Assembly, provided it is submitted to the General Secretary, in specific terms, at least six months in advance.



      7.e. The complete agenda, including all such motions or proposals, shall be prepared by the Executive Committee and submitted to the National Members at least four months in advance.



    8. The President may invite representatives of other organizations, scientists in related fields, and young astronomers to participate in the General Assembly. Subject to the agreement of the Executive Committee, the President may authorise the General Secretary to invite representatives of other organizations, and the National Members or other appropriate IAU bodies to invite scientists in related fields and young astronomers.

III. SPECIAL NOMINATING COMMITTEE

      9.  The Special Nominating Committee consists of the President and past President of the Union, a member proposed by the retiring Executive Committee, and four members selected by the representatives of the National Members from up to twelve candidates proposed by Presidents of Divisions, with due regard to an appropriate distribution over the major branches of astronomy.



      9.a. Except for the President and immediate past President, present and former members of the Executive Committee shall not serve on the Special Nominating Committee. No two members of the Special Nominating Committee shall belong to the same nation or National Member.



      9.b. The General Secretary and the Assistant General Secretary participate in the work of the Special Nominating Committee in an advisory capacity, and the President-Elect may participate as an observer.

 

     
    10. The Special Nominating Committee is appointed by the General Assembly, to which it reports directly. It assumes its duties immediately after the end of the General Assembly and remains in office until the end of the ordinary General Assembly next following that of its appointment, and it may fill any vacancy occurring among its members.

IV. OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

      11. Terms of office:



      11.a. The President of the Union remains in office until the end of the ordinary General Assembly next following that of election. The President-Elect succeeds the President at that moment.



      11.b. The General Secretary and the Assistant General Secretary remain in office until the end of the ordinary General Assembly next following that of their election. Normally the Assistant General

 

      Secretary succeeds the General Secretary, but both officers may be re-elected for another term.



      11.c. The Vice-Presidents remain in office until the end of the ordinary General Assembly following that of their election. They may be immediately re-elected once to the same office.



      11.d. The elections take place at the last session of the General Assembly, the names of the candidates proposed having been announced at a previous session.



12. The Executive Committee may fill any vacancy occurring among its members. Any person so appointed remains in office until the end of the next ordinary General Assembly.
 
13. The past President and General Secretary become advisers to the Executive Committee until the end of the next ordinary General Assembly. They participate in the work of the Executive Committee and attend its meetings without voting rights.
 
14. The Executive Committee shall formulate Working Rules to clarify the application of the Statutes and Bye-Laws. Such Working Rules shall include the criteria and procedures by which the Executive Committee will review applications for Individual Membership; standard Terms of Reference for the Scientific Commissions of the Union; rules for the administration of the Union's financial affairs by the General Secretary; and procedures by which the Executive Committee may conduct business by electronic or other means of correspondence. The Working Rules shall be published electronically and in the Transactions of the Union.
 

15. The Executive Committee appoints the Union's official representatives to other scientific organizations.

16. The Officers and members of the Executive Committee cannot be held individually or personally liable for any legal claims or charges that might be brought against the Union.

V. SCIENTIFIC DIVISIONS

17. The Divisions of the Union shall pursue the scientific objects of the Union within their respective fields of astronomy. Activities by which they do so include the encouragement and organization of collective investigations, and the discussion of questions relating to international agreements, cooperation, or standardization. They shall report to each General Assembly on the work they have accomplished and such new initiatives as they are undertaking.
 
18. Each Scientific Division shall consist of:

18.a. An Organizing Committee, normally of 6-12 persons, including the Division President and Vice-President, and a Division Secretary appointed by the Organizing Committee from among its members. The Committee is responsible for conducting the business of the Division.

18.b. Members of the Union accepted by the Organizing Committee in recognition of their special experience and interests.
 
19. Normally, the Division President is succeeded by the Vice-President at the end of the General Assembly following their election, but both may be re-elected for a second term. Before each General Assembly, the Organizing Committee shall organize an election from among the membership, by electronic or other means suited to its scientific structure, of a new Organizing Committee to take office for the following term. Election procedures should, as far as possible, be similar among the Divisions and require the approval of the Executive
Committee.

20. Each Scientific Division may structure its scientific activities by creating a number of Commissions. In order to monitor and further the progress of its field of astronomy, the Division shall consider, before each General Assembly, whether its Commission structure serves its purpose in an optimum manner. It shall subsequently present its proposals for the creation, continuation or discontinuation of Commissions to the Executive Committee for approval.
 
21. With the approval of the Executive Committee, a Division may establish Working Groups to study welldefined scientific issues and report to the Division. Unless specifically re-established by the same procedure, such Working Groups cease to exist at the next following General Assembly.

VI. SCIENTIFIC COMMISSIONS

22. A Scientific Commission shall consist of:

22.a. A President and an Organizing Committee consisting of 4-8 persons elected by the Commission membership, subject to the approval of the Organizing Committee of the Division;

22.b. Members of the Union, accepted by the Organizing Committee, in recognition of their special experience and interests, subject to confirmation by the Organizing Committee of the Division.
 
23.  A Commission is initially created for a period of six years. The parent Division may recommend its continuation for additional periods of three years at a time, if sufficient justification for its continued activity is presented to the Division and the Executive Committee. The activities of a Commission are governed by Terms of Reference, which are based on a standard model published by the Executive Committee and are approved by the Division.
 
 
24. With the approval of the Division, a Commission may establish Working Groups to study well-defined scientific issues and report to the Commission. Unless specifically re-appointed by the same procedure, such Working Groups cease to exist at the next following General Assembly.

VII. ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCES

25. Each National Member pays annually to the Union a number of units of contribution corresponding to its category as specified below. National Members with interim status pay annually one half unit of contribution,
and those with prospective status pay no dues.

Categories as defined in article 10 of the Statutes

I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII
1 2 4 6 10 14 20 27 35 45 60 80

number of units of contribution

26. The income of the Union is to be devoted to its objects, including:

26.a. the promotion of scientific initiatives requiring international co-operation;

26.b. the promotion of the education and development of astronomy world-wide;

26.c. the costs of the publications and administration of the Union.
 
27. Funds derived from donations are reserved for use in accordance with the instructions of the donor(s). Such donations and associated conditions require the approval of the Executive Committee.
 
28. The General Secretary is the legal representative of the Union. The General Secretary is responsible to the Executive Committee for not incurring expenditure in excess of the amount specified in the budget as approved by the General Assembly.
 
29. The General Secretary shall consult with the Finance Committee (cf. Statutes § 13.d.) in preparing the accounts and budget proposals of the Union, and on any other matters of major importance for the financial health of the Union. The comments and advice of the Finance Committee shall be made available to the Officers and Executive Committee as specified in the Working Rules.

30.  An Administrative office, under the direction of the General Secretary, conducts the correspondence, administers the funds, and preserves the archives of the Union.
 
31. The Union has copyright to all materials printed in its publications, unless otherwise arranged.

VIII. FINAL CLAUSES
 

32. These Bye-Laws enter into force on 21 August 2012.

33.  The present Bye-Laws are published in French and English versions. For legal purposes, the French version is authorative.

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