International Union of Crystallography

Guidelines regarding Commissions of the IUCr


These guidelines are intended for the guidance of the Chairs and members of the IUCr Commissions. The Executive Committee and the IUCr greatly appreciate the valuable, voluntary work undertaken by the Commissions and wish to encourage the crystallographic community to cooperate with the Commissions and to participate in their activities.

The Commissions are working bodies charged with a number of tasks for the IUCr

  • The Commissions should promote their areas of interest within the International Union of Crystallography, to crystallographers, to scientists in related areas and to the general public.
  • The Commissions are consultants for the International Programme Committee of the Triennial Congresses.
  • The Commissions act as reference bodies for applications to the Meeting Support Committee.

In order to fulfil these charges, the Commissions are expected to

  • maintain an actively managed web site (linked to the IUCr-maintained web page that contains the members and consultants, reports and Terms of Reference), featuring links to Current and Past Activities.
  • interact closely with the Commission on Journals, Commission on International Tables and the Editorial Office to ensure that their community is properly represented in the publications of the Union.
  • organize meetings and schools.
  • engage in activities involving other Commissions of the Union, Special Interest Groups of the Regional Associates and other Scientific Unions and Associations.
  • provide liaison with other activities of the Union, such as input to the IUCr Newsletter and the Online Dictionary of Crystallography.
  • develop and maintain standards as necessary.
  • undertake other activities as may be necessary to further the work of the Commission.

To ensure their efficient operation, it is essential that the Commissions satisfy demands for continuity, rejuvenation and balanced representation of IUCr affiliates.

  • A Commission consists of a minimum of about seven members, representing areas of interest and activity and not as representatives of countries, including a Chair and a Secretary and other officers according to the specific requirements for each Commission.
  • Membership is based on the ability of a person to render active service and not on the basis of worthiness for honour.
  • Chairs should appoint individuals or sub-groups of individuals to be responsible for different aspects of the work of the Commission as detailed above.
  • The commissions should have vice chair or secretary.
  • Members of the Commission are elected by the General Assembly for a term of three years, renewable for a maximum of nine consecutive years in total (or 12 consecutive years if serving the final term as Chair).
  • Members of the Commission answer to the General Assembly, and not to National Committees.
  • The Chair is elected by the General Assembly for a term of three years. A Chair may serve an additional term (or additional terms) as Chair up to a maximum of 12 consecutive years.
  • Subject to the approval of the President, consultants may be appointed at any time to strengthen a Commission. The immediate past Chair is automatically appointed as a consultant.  Consultants who have proved active in working for a Commission are good candidates for nomination as full members.


  • The Commissions are working bodies organized to provide a useful service on some aspect of crystallography; their formation and continued existence is to be justified on this basis.
  • The size of each Commission is determined by the General Assembly for each successive period between General Assemblies; the size should be adjusted from time to time so that it is always appropriate to the current level of activity in the field of the Commission.
  • The organization of a Commission may be governed by formal Rules of Procedure for any Commission that chooses to formulate such Rules, but there is no rigid pattern recommended for all Commissions.
  • Continuity of experience is essential to the success of all Commissions. Attention should be paid to some scheme of changes in membership that will provide experienced members in every period while observing the limitation of three consecutive full terms for any one member and a fourth consecutive term as Chair. It is not expected that all persons will automatically serve three successive full terms; ordinarily only one-half to two-thirds of the members will be re-nominated at the end of any term. The Chair in each period should give active consideration to the question of their own successor. (The retiring Chair automatically becomes a consultant if not remaining as a member.)
  • Recommendations for the Chair and members of Commissions shall be decided by a majority of the members of the Commission and shall be accompanied by a written statement that the consent of the persons recommended has been obtained.  All members (including consultants) may be consulted when making recommendations for membership but only full members elected by the General Assembly (including ex officio members) may take part in voting.  Commissions should consider nominations put forward by National Committees but are not obliged to accept these.
  • The foregoing suggestions are provided for the guidance of Commissions and represent the consensus of the Executive Committee, but are not intended as formal requirements of the sort provided by the Statutes and By-Laws or action of the General Assembly. Commissions on publications of the IUCr have special status in some respects as provided in Statutes 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3 and By-Law 7.3.
  • If a member of a Commission wishes to bring anything to the attention of the IUCr he or she should direct the remarks to the General Secretary, in the same way as National Committees, in accordance with Statute 3.9.