Letter from WAPOR President (July 2021)

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Timothy P. Johnson, WAPOR President

Dear WAPOR Colleagues,

Warm greetings from Chicago, where I write to you in the midst of a glorious summer day to provide an update on recent WAPOR activities and accomplishments. There are several. Most importantly, a highly qualified Editor-in-Chief has been identified to assume leadership of our journal, the International Journal of Public Opinion Research, effective September 1, 2021. After a six-month effort, a search committee led by Publications Chair Jibum Kim nominated, and WAPOR’s Council approved, the appointment of Dr. Porismita Borah (College of Education, Washington State University) as IJPOR’s next Editor. Pori comes to this position well-prepared, with prior experience having served as an IJPOR Associate Editor and with an impressive publication record of her own. We are thus very confident that WAPOR’s journal will remain in good hands.

I would also like to recognize and thank outgoing IJPOR Editors Paul Brewer and Michael Xenos for their outstanding service these past four years. We have just learned that IJPOR’s annual impact factor increased again this year to what we believe is its highest impact score ever, more evidence of the great work Paul and Michael accomplished on our behalf. In addition, Secretary-Treasurer Henning Silber informs me that income from the journal increased for 2020 by 42%, another indicator of IJPOR’s success and importance to WAPOR.

In late June, WAPOR’s Council also approved revisions to our Code of Ethics, the first update to that document in a decade. While the revised document will be quite familiar to WAPOR members, the updated version assures that our ethical guidance remains timely and relevant in serving public opinion researchers around the world. It is currently undergoing careful translation into several languages, after which a public announcement will be made and all language versions released simultaneously. Watch for that to happen before the end of July. A special thank to David Jodice, our Professional Standards Chair, who has been working on this project for almost two years. 

Also in June, the joint AAPOR/WAPOR Task Force Report on Quality in Comparative Surveys was formally released. You can find it here. This extensive report, which required three years to complete, reviews current state-of-the-art cross-national and comparative survey research, identifies current challenges and recommends future research priorities. The Task Force Committee was co-chaired by Lars Lyberg, who passed away earlier this year. Lars was also WAPOR’s 2013 Helen Dinerman Award recipient and a highly respected leader in what has come to be known as 3MC (multinational, multiregional and multicultural) research. Here’s a photo of Lars accepting the Dinerman Award.

Plans for WAPOR’s 2021 conference (November 2-6) continue. Peer review of submitted proposals for papers and special panels will be completed by mid-July and you can expect to see acceptance notifications and a draft program by late August. In addition, Natalia Soboleva has accepted an appointment as Associate Conference Chair for this year’s meeting. Natalia received the Elizabeth Nelson Prize for best paper from a society in transition at WAPOR’s 2017 conference and is currently a Senior Research Fellow with the Ronald F. Inglehart Laboratory for Comparative Social Research in the Higher School of Economics at the National Research University in Moscow. We are very pleased to welcome her to our conference planning team.  

Due to ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions, this year’s conference will again be held virtually. We learned much from our first virtual conference in 2020 and plan to make this year’s experience more dynamic – with more live presentations – and also more user friendly. Also, WAPOR is currently working to identify organizations willing to help sponsor the 2021 conference. If your organization might be interested in helping, sponsorship information is available here.

WAPOR’s most recent webinar Mixed-Mode in Survey Research: Why and How to Implement it, was presented by Tobias Gummer (GESIS, Germany), Oliviero Marchese (IPSOS, France), and Trevor Tompson (NORC, USA) in May. You can view the recording of that webinar here. Our next webinar will be presented in September. Watch for an announcement about that soon.

WAPOR’s global coverage also continues to expand. As of mid-2021 we now have National Representatives in 66 countries and regions on six continents. And we are looking to recruit more National Representatives. You can find a list of our current National Representatives here. We have active chapters in Asia, Latin America, and West Asia/North Africa, with work underway to form a new chapter in Sub-Saharan Africa. Plans are also in place to conduct the five-year update of WAPOR’s Freedom to Publish Public Opinion Research study, in collaboration with ESOMAR, later this year, with the goal of reaching out to almost every country on the planet. That study will include a newly updated research instrument and study design. Beyond these initiatives, we welcome your thoughts and ideas for further expansion of WAPOR’s work around the world.

Finally, I would also like to invite all members of WAPOR to consider getting involved in our Association’s activities. If you are interested, please drop a line to either myself (timj@uic.edu) or Executive Director Renae Reis (waporoffice@gmail.com) and tell us your thoughts about how  you would like to participate. We look forward to hearing from you.

Wishing you all the best,

Timothy P. Johnson
WAPOR President