Bratislava, March 1996 Board

Minutes of the board of Directors

22nd-23rd March 1996, Bratislava, Slovakia

The meeting was held in the Faculty of Mathematics & Physics of the Comenius University, Bratislava – the largest university in Slovakia with approx 20,000 students.

Present:

Robin McDonough (UK)

Gordon Young (Ireland)

Yves Epelboin (France)

Jean Francois Desnos (France)

John Heap (UK)

Merik Meriste (Estonia)

Jan Sandrej (Slovakia)

Peter Mederly (Slovakia)

Jan Knop (Germany)

Kristel Sarlin (Finland)

Ivan Vrana (Czech Republic)

Nicolae Andronaty (Moldova)

Stanislaw Slopien (Poland)

Alexander Sandalov (Russia)

Viljan Mahnic (Slovenia)

Excused: Bruno Paternostre (Belgium)

1. Membership of EUNIS

The meeting consisted of representatives from the UK (2), Ireland, France (2), Germany, Slovakia (2), Russia, Estonia, Moldova, Poland, Czech Republic, Finland, Belgium and Slovenia.

Nominations for membership of the Executive Committee have been received from Israel, Georgia, Latvia and Hungary. An initial contact has been made with Bulgaria. As yet, it has not been possible to get representation from Italy, Spain or Greece.

2. European Union proposal

It had been determined (at an earlier Executive meeting) to seek funding for the operation of EUNIS from the EU. This has not yet been done but preparation of the necessary supporting documentation (relating to the various national bodies that are represented on EUNIS and its current range of activity) is in hand. The hope is to get funding (at least) for Executive Committee meetings. The ‘rationale’ for funding is EUNIS’ role in facilitating the exchange of information. Thus EUNIS has to convince the EU of its ability to act as the centre of an information network, and to demonstrate the credibility of member organisations as being appropriate national bodies.

A second proposal is that funds should be sought to support, via EUNIS, students seeking further study in a different country – the relevance to EUNIS is that the process of arranging programmes of study (a form of ‘dating’ agency matching students with Universities) and support offered to students would be via the WWW. (This is likely to be in co-operation with an existing European group representing – currently 30 – University Presidents known as the Santander group.)

The intention is that a ‘system’ would be built so that a student in University 1 would access via his/her own WWW site a list of all other Universities with which his/her own has co-operative arrangements, and could then link to selected sites to investigate content/conditions. This would be to a common structure.

Funding would be for a co-ordinator and for project officers in each participating country of the pilot.

A sub-group of the EUNIS Executive has been charged with holding an initial discussion with representatives of the Santander group to discuss the project.

3. EUNIS 95

This conference, in Dusseldorf was a significant success with over 50 papers (in two tracks) presented to an audience of over 250 delegates from 31 countries. The event broke even – which was an excellent result considering that of the total expenditure of 117,000 DM, approx one third was used to support the travel of delegates from central/eastern Europe, and something just less than a third was to cover the costs of simultaneous translation.

4. EUNIS 96

An event has been planned for the end of 1996. This was to have been in Tilburg but, unfortunately, the representative from Tilburg has suggested that this is not now possible. It was always planned that this would be smaller than the Dusseldorf event (EUNIS 97 will be another large-scale event) with invited speakers and an audience of approx 100 Some initial costings had been done for the event to be held at the Manchester Business School, and although thisseemed to be quite cheap travel to Manchester could be expensive. At this late hour, it was important to take a decision quickly. During the meeting, a small sub-group met to discuss a possible programme, costings and possibilities for sponsorship or other funding to support the travel costs of delegates from Eastern Europe. The date has been fixed for 16/17 December 1996.

5. EUNIS 97

A sub-group of the EUNIS Executive has been established as a planning panel for EUNIS 97 which is planned for September, 97 in Grenoble, France.

6. Microsoft Survey

Gordon Young (of the University of Limerick) has conducted a survey, on behalf of EUNIS, of Microsoft prices across Europe. This was an information-gathering exercise only, and was not intended as any form of negotiation. The survey showed that the Eastern countries were cheapest and France was the dearest (5 times the cost of equivalent prices in Hungary: prices in the UK are approx twice the Hungary price). Broadly speaking there were two levels – one for Eastern Europe and one for Western Europe – but France and Germany were special, higher-priced cases. It was suggested that the Eastern European prices seemed to be ‘dollar prices’ (ie the same prices as in the US) and that, rather than Eastern Europe receiving a subsidy, Western Europe seemed to be paying a premium. Microsoft explained that educational discounts were the same in each country but the base price was set by the local Microsoft organisation. Microsoft also explained (helpfully?) that it was possible for a corporate buyer to buy for a number of countries from a Select agreement with one country – presumably where the cheapest prices are.

It was agreed that it was useful for EUNIS to make such information available – for member countries to do with as they wish.

Gordon Young agreed to continue with investigating prices for Borland products, for SPSS and for Word Perfect.

7. Collaboration with CAUSE

CAUSE is one of the two organisations in the US concerned with HE IS (the other being EDUCOM) and is the body mostly concerned with management and strategy issues. CAUSE is a publisher of useful documents (see their Web site). EUNIS is in contact with CAUSE to discuss possible information exchange and/or joint activity. Separately, Robin McDonough reported on discussions with JISC to see if JISC would make available a mirror of the CAUSE Web site for the UK HE community: this is being investigated.

8. EUNIS WWW server

EUNIS has a Web site (based in France – http://www.lmcp.jussieu.fr/eunis/) – to which the UCISA site needs to link. It was agreed that through the EUNIS site, a user should be able to link with national sites and onto individual University sites of that country.

9. EUNIS Constitution

The next Executive Committee meeting is to discuss the constitution, ready to present a version to the EUNIS AGM at the EUNIS 96 event. (EUNIS is currently working to an interim constitution which requires modification due to the growth in membership.) Since EUNIS is officially ‘registered’ in Belgium, the constitution must conform to Belgian law/regulation.

10. Date of next meeting

Prior to the Manchester conference on December 15

W. Robin Mc Donoug