These bylaws have been approved by membership vote on July 27, 2020.


This organization shall be known as the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC).

The IASC is devoted to bringing together multi-disciplinary researchers, practitioners, and policymakers for the purpose of improving governance and management, advancing the understanding and creating sustainable solutions for commons, common-pool resources, or any other form of a shared resource.

To achieve its purpose, the Association will engage in a range of activities including sponsoring publications, holding global, regional and thematic meetings of members to share the results from practical experience, research, and theoretical developments, and fostering a range of mechanisms for dissemination of findings, such as sponsorship of publications, workshops and symposia on specific topics.

The Association will not take or endorse positions on public policy issues except in extraordinary situations and only if consistent with the purpose of the IASC and approved by a majority of the Executive Council.


Membership is open to all persons and organizations interested in the study of the commons and who pay dues to the Association. Subject to approval by the Secretariat, in-kind services may be substituted for monetary payment of dues.

Membership in the Association shall be renewable on an annual basis. Multi-year memberships can be acquired.

Both individual and organizational members shall have the right to participate in programs and activities of the IASC, subject to the rules established by the Executive Council and the Association’s Bylaws. In addition, individual members shall have the right to

1. hold office in the Association;
2. vote for elected officers;
3. vote on matters referred by the Council;
4. vote on changes, additions, and deletions to the bylaws;
5. seek to petition the Council


The Executive Council of the Association shall consist of the President, President-Elect, immediate Past-President, six Councilors, and one Representative of the Early Career Network. All of the members of the Executive Council have to be in good standing.

The Early Career Network consists of IASC members who are working towards a degree at Master or Ph.D. level, or are within 10 years of the date of the award of their highest degree. During each election year the Early Career Network will select their representative for the Council.

1. Regular terms of office begin on January 15 following the general election.
2. The President-Elect serves two years and succeeds to the office of President upon completion of the President’s term.
3. The President serves two years and succeeds to the office of the Past-President.
4. The Past-President serves two years.
5. The President-Elect, President, and Past-President are voting members of the Executive Council.
6. Councilors will serve staggered terms, each to last six years, except the Representative of the Early Career Network who will serve a two-year term (see under 8).
7. A Councilor may not be re-elected to a successive term as Councilor, except the Representative of the Early Career Network (see under 9).
8. The Representative of the Early Career Network will serve a single two-year term.
9. The Representative of the Early Career Network will not be eligible for election to a second term, but will be eligible for election as a regular IASC Council member after the end of his/her term as Representative of the Early Career Network.

1. The Council shall be responsible for the administration of the Association’s affairs. The Council shall have authority to execute on behalf of the Association all powers and functions of the Association consonant with the Bylaws.
2. The Council shall meet either in person or electronically. Council meetings shall
be as frequent as needed.
3. The Council shall supervise the use of Association funds, approve the annual budget, and receive the Executive Director’s annual Budget Report.
4. Based on Member´ s proposals to host IASC meetings, the Council shall select the sites for the Global, Regional and Thematic Meetings.
5. The Council shall approve the themes of global, regional and thematic meetings, and shall also discuss and approve the budgets of global, regional and thematic meetings proposed by the relevant meeting organizers.
6. The Council will coordinate with the relevant meeting organizers in order to support the operation and management, or any other aspect of the meeting as deemed suitable by the Council, (this might include, for example, program development, evaluation of abstracts, administration, registration, assisting with keynote speakers), in accordance with agreements as stated in a signed Memorandum of Understanding and the conference guidelines.
7. As soon as is practicably possible following approval of a meeting, the Council will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the organizers of each approved global, regional, or thematic meeting that identifies the relevant responsibilities, duties, and expectations of both the meeting organizers/organizing body, and the IASC.
8. The Council shall undertake other activities as deemed appropriate by the Council in the pursuit of its purpose.
9. The President shall be the presiding officer of the Association and Chair of the Council. The President shall exercise the duties and responsibilities commonly associated with the office.
10. The Council may appoint and instruct an Executive Director, Editors, and any other administrative officers as deemed necessary by the Council.

1. Valid decisions require that a quorum of at least four Councilors and the President, or President-Elect and Past-President are present (either in person or virtually) and voting.
2. Decisions by the Council shall be made by a simple majority of those voting, except for decisions that change the schedule of dues, or categories of membership, which shall require a two-thirds majority (at least 6 votes).

1. Each elected Councilor has the duty to participate in Council meetings.
2. In the event of legitimate reasons making participation impossible, the Councilor has a duty to explain the reasons to the President. The Council shall determine if the non-attendance is justified.
3. In the event of a continued unjustified absence, the Council may decide to terminate the Councilor’s membership of the Executive Council. Termination of a Councilor’s term of office will require a two-thirds majority vote of the Executive Council.

1. In the event of death, resignation, or incapacity (as determined by two-thirds of the Council) of the President, the vacancy will be occupied by the immediate past-President if the vacancy occurs during the first year of the leaving President’s term; if it occurs during the second year of the leaving President’s term it will be occupied by the President-elect. The person appointed to replace the President will hold the title of Acting President until the next General Election.
2. The Council may, by appointment, but preferably from the list of substitutes from the previous election, fill a vacancy in a Councilor office. Such appointment will be effective until the planned end of the original Councilor’s term.
3. In the event of death, resignation, or incapacity (as determined by two-thirds of the Council) of the President-elect, an extraordinary nomination committee will be appointed (based on the same criteria used to form nomination committees in ordinary elections) and dates established for the start and end of the term of office. The Council will assign the duties of the President-elect to one or more Council members until such time as the new President-elect is able to take up the office.
4. Should the immediate past-President be unable to serve as chair of a nomination committee, the past President (prior to the one unable to serve) will be asked to occupy this position; if it is not possible, then another past-President or former Council member may be appointed by the Council.


1. The Executive Director, or the Council itself, may create, with Council approval, functions that support the activities of the organization. Those appointed to such functions may serve as ex-officio members of the Executive Council. The exofficio members of the Executive Council should be in good standing.

1. The Executive Director shall be responsible for implementing directives of the Council and for the day-to-day administration of the Association. The Executive Director’s duties will include the following:

  • maintain the Association’s records and general correspondence
  • maintain membership and subscriber lists
  • collect dues and subscriptions
  • manage accounts
  • prepare and present the annual Budget and Financial Reports for the annual meetings of the Council
  • other activities as directed by the Council.

2. The Executive Director is appointed by the Council. The appointment can be terminated by a two-thirds majority vote of the Council if the duties are not satisfactorily fulfilled.
3. Any change of the Executive Director should be accompanied by a transition plan, discussed and approved by the Council.

1. The secretariat will be hosted by an organization agreed upon by the Council.
2. Any agreement to host the IASC Secretariat must specify a minimum duration for the agreement, which can be renewed subject to evaluation and approval by the Council.
3. The IASC Council will sign an agreement with the institutional host, defining mutual obligations and responsibilities, and the duration of the agreement.
4. The Council may terminate the agreement with the institutional host, if the conditions are not satisfactorily being met, through a two-thirds majority vote.
5. Any change of the institutional host should be accompanied by a transition plan, discussed and approved by the Council.


1. All IASC members in good standing during the voting period may vote for the election of officers.

1. The immediate past-President shall chair the Nominating Committee, which shall consist of two first or second term Councilors and two persons appointed by the President after consultation with Council and the Executive Director.
2. The Nominating Committee shall prepare a slate of candidates with at least one nominee and no more than two nominees for President-elect, and at least two nominees for each upcoming Councilor vacancy. The Committee shall strive to promote balanced representation in regard to age, gender, citizenship, professional background (academics and practitioners), locations of residence, and geographical and disciplinary areas of specialization, but shall not be bound by any particular formula. The Nominating Committee may not nominate any of its members.
3. The Nominating Committee shall ascertain that each candidate is a member of the Association in good standing and that the candidate has given the Committee formal consent to be nominated.
4. The slate of nominees shall be given to the Executive Director no later than October 1 of the election year. The Executive Director shall add any other nominations (see Section C, below) and immediately forward the slate of nominees to the President and Council.

1. Candidates may be nominated for elected offices upon written petition from a minimum of one percent of the membership. Candidates must be eligible for office, members in good standing, and have given written consent to their nomination. The Executive Director must receive such nominations and the candidates’ written consent no later than October 1 of the election year.

1. Ballots containing the Nominating Committee’s slate and any other valid nominations shall be sent to the membership electronically no later than November 1 of the election year.
2. Ballots shall be returned to the Executive Director no later than December 1 of the election year. The Executive Director shall tabulate the results and forward them to the President no later than January 1 of the year following the election. Results will be announced no later than January 31st of the year following the election.

1. The procedure for voting shall strive to ensure that voting is secret and that only members in good standing may vote.
2. Voting will be by electronic media.


1. The fiscal year for the Association shall be the fiscal year of the country where the organization is constituted.

1. The Association shall endeavor to raise funds from donor institutions, and membership dues and conference fees. The Council may approve additional fundraising activities.

1. Dues shall be set by the Council. The Council may create different categories of membership and variable levels of membership dues. Alterations to the categories of membership or the schedule of dues shall require a two-thirds majority of the Council.
2. If membership dues are not paid, memberships shall expire one calendar month after the renewal date.


A Membership Meeting open to all members and guests of the Association will be organized at each biennial global conference organized by the IASC for the purpose of building stronger links and encouraging communications between Members, the
Council, and the President. Activities undertaken at the meeting may include, but are not be limited to, the following:

  • Presentation of reports presented by the Executive Director, the Council members, and the Editors as appropriate.
  • Other committees and individuals may also give reports with agreement of the Council.
  • Activities that enable members to meet with and engage in discussion with the
    President, Council, Executive Director and other officers.

A. Amendments to these Bylaws may be proposed by the Executive Council, or by written petition to the Executive Council signed by a minimum of one percent of the voting membership.

B. Proposed amendments will be submitted to the membership for ratification. Proposed amendments will usually appear on the ballot for the election of officers but may, at the discretion of the Executive Council, be submitted to the membership at other times.

C. Amendments will be adopted by a simple majority of those voting.


Every person who is or shall have been a director, officer, or ex-officio member of the Executive Council shall be indemnified by IASC against all costs and expenses reasonably incurred by or imposed upon him or her in connection with or resulting from any action, suit, or proceeding to which he or she may be made a party by reason of his or her being or having been a director, officer, or ex-officio member of the Executive Council, except in relation to such matters as to which he or she shall finally be adjudicated in such action, suit, or proceeding to have acted in bad faith and to have been liable by reason of willful misconduct in the performance of his or her duty as a director, officer, or ex-officio member of the Executive Council. “Costs and expenses” shall include, but without limiting the generality thereof, attorney’s fees, damages, and reasonable amounts paid in settlement.