SIG Member Benefits
- A. Common SIG Benefits
- B. Other Types of Member Benefits
- C. Member Plus Benefits
- D. On getting the most from your SIG Benefits
- E. SIG Publications
- F. CDs and DVDs as Benefits
- G. SIG Programs
The benefits of SIG membership have taken on increasing visibility in recent years. Each SIG submits a statement of member benefits to the SGB in November of each year, and this statement provides a statement of accountability for the SIG to its members.
SIGs are reviewed every four years for their general health and viability. Part of the viability review for each SIG is a comparison of member benefits promised, and the delivery of those benefits in a timely fashion.
Member benefits follow the fiscal year pattern, July 1 to June 30 of the following year. The budget for each SIG is put together in February for the fiscal year beginning July 1, and is based in the Member Benefits plus routine operation of the SIG.
A. Most Common Benefits for a SIG Member
Why belong to a Special Interest Group? The member benefits of a SIG answer that question.
The most common benefits of being a member of a SIG are:
- SIG members are active participants in the technical community that is the focus of the SIG. SIGs sponsor conferences in the technical field, honor distinctive contributions to the technical field or through volunteer activity, support student exposure to conferences, and other activities all contribute to the health and vitality of the technical community.
- SIG members enjoy reduced rates to attend the conferences sponsored, co-sponsored or in cooperation, with the SIG. Conferences provide the setting for the presentation of new research, opportunities to network, etc. The SIG oversees the health of its conferences, and introduces workshops or new conferences as the technical field changes. (Members of ACM also received reduced rates for SIG conferences.)
- SIG members have access to SIG conference proceedings and SIG publications in the ACM Digital Library. Sponsored and co-sponsored conferences normally publish their proceedings through ACM, and are available in the ACM Digital Library from the first day of the conference. (If the proceedings are published by the co-sponsoring organization, the proceedings are available as soon as provided.) Directions for access to SIG materials in the ACM Digital Library are included below.
- SIG members receive SIG publications (bulletin, newsletter, etc.) during the course of the year. The publication may be in print, on CD, or online. (SIG newsletters are increasingly provided online, some entirely and some in part.)
- The list of benefits for all SIGs for the current Fiscal Year is linked to the volunteer resources section of the website under member benefits.
B. Other Types of Member Benefits
- Proceedings of selected SIG-sponsored conferences or workshops, either as print copies or on CD, often as an issue of or supplement to the SIG Newsletter.
- Collected materials of interest, on a CD or DVD. (For detail on doing this, see section on Making CDs.)
- Access to materials from other SIGs or organizations.
C. Member Plus Benefits
Some SIGs provide additional benefits to their members for an additional fee. Proceedings from additional conferences that the SIG sponsors or co-sponsors have long been options. As conferences move to providing proceedings on CD/DVD or memory stick, these Member Plus packages are appearing less frequently.
Member Plus programs are only available to SIG members.
D. Getting the Most from Your SIG Benefits
Getting access to SIG materials in the ACM Digital Library
The ACM Digital Library gives SIG members access to proceedings of SIG-sponsored conferences and workshops.
If you do not have an ACM Web login, begin by creating one. See Create an ACM Web account. The ACM Web login will be linked to your membership information in the ACM database, so use the same email you have on file at ACM.
To see a SIG proceeding:
- Sign in with your ACM Web login.
- Go to the ACM Digital Library from the ACM homepage, click proceedings on the right.
- Scroll down until you reach the conference series you are interested in, and click.
- Choose the specific conference proceedings. The Table of Contents will appear. Click the .pdf to see the paper. (Note that the bibliographical information is freely available, but the .pdf with the specific paper is available only through the Web Login or through purchase of the download.)
Subscribing to the TOC Service:
The ACM Digital Library will notify you when publications are posted.
- Simply go to the newsletter or proceeding you are interested in.
- Click on TOC Service, and follow the directions. The table of contents for the next issue or next proceeding will be sent to you by email when it is posted in the ACM Digital Library. (Directions for unsubscribing to the TOC Service are available through the same procedure.)
E. SIG Publications
Most SIGs have a newsletter of some kind and frequency. Some SIG newsletters are issued as often as 12 times a year, and others as infrequently as twice a year. Some are available in hard copy and are issued electronically, others are offered only through the SIG website and in the ACM Digital Library.
SIG newsletters include information about conferences and workshops that are of particular interest to the members of the SIG. They also contain a column from the SIG Chair or one of the officers on SIG activities and programs. Often they contain a calendar of upcoming events.
Traditionally, SIG Newsletters provided articles on new developments in areas of research that would be of interest to SIG members. Other items of interest in today's SIG Newsletters include reports of workshops, both in new areas of interest and ongoing study; columns on specific sub-topics of the field, and other items of interest. Some issues have a special focus, often under the direction of a guest editor.
Print and electronic editions
As printing and distribution costs have risen, SIGs have moved to take advantage of electronic accessibility of their materials, utilizing both the ACM Digital Library and SIG websites to post their newsletters. SIG members also have access to conference proceedings through the ACM Digital Library, reducing the necessity of printing conference proceedings as issues of the newsletter.
Additional detail about newsletters, primarily for newsletter editors, is available in the SIG Editors Manual.
F. CDs and DVDs as Benefits
Making Compilation CDs or DVDs
Putting together a CD or DVD of a SIG's historical materials or in recognition of a series of conferences (the 25th conference, say) sounds simple. In reality, there are many different tasks associated with it, some easy to accomplish and some either difficult or time-consuming (or both).
Note: This section deals with various compilations of material, often from a variety of sources. If you are interested in conference proceedings on a CD (with or without printed versions), please contact
a. Questions to ask before starting out
1. What is the reason for making the CD or DVD?
Usually a collection of useful material has been identified to form the core content for the CD or DVD. Common reasons include issuing a conference anniversary DVD, collecting material on a specific topic or in a specific field in order to make the material more widely available, making available books and proceedings now out of print, providing a vehicle for the history of a discipline, etc.
2. Looking ahead
- Is this a single project to be issued just once, or very infrequently? Or is there a possibility that this project will be repeated every year or so?
- How will the CD/DVD be distributed, and to whom? Will distribution be made only to the SIG? To other SIGs? Will copies be distributed outside ACM?
- Will the CD/DVD be available for purchase? (Obtaining permissions for a product for sale is often much more difficult than obtaining them for free distribution.)
b. Detailing the work to be done
1. Who holds the copyright on the material you want to include?
Obtaining permission to use material can take a tremendous amount of time. The older the material the more time-consuming this task will be. (See Copyrights below for additional Information on this topic.)
2. How many volunteers will you need?
Generally, there needs to be an editor/coordinator for the project, plus a number of associates to assist with various tasks, make decisions along the way, and oversee the project.
On the functionality side, generating the CD/DVD may be done by knowledgeable volunteers, or production can be handled by a vendor, whose costs should be included in the budget for the project.
- Is there a date (such as a conference) when this project needs to be completed? Deciding on content for a CD/DVD is the easy part. Obtaining needed permissions and copyright language, scanning material not yet in electronic format, creating an author index, etc., take time.
- ACM needs to review the master for the CD/DVD prior to replication and distribution. Review must include all copyright and permissions questions. The material must be complete before the review is begun. Please allow four to six weeks for this process.
- Before replicating the CD/DVD, it should be reviewed from the potential user's standpoint, for ease of use, completeness, links, etc. This is much like proofreading, and having this review done by someone external to the project is highly recommended.
4. Budget the project realistically, both in terms of time and money. The ways you will be distributing the CD or DVD will impact the packaging you choose.
c. Details of CDs and DVDs
* Table of contents
* ISBN and ACM Order #
* Copyright notice
* Content files
* Search functionality
* Author index (recommended)
The label and splashscreen (opening screen on CD/DVD) need to be designed. Both need to include a copyright notice. ISBN and ACM Order numbers can be obtained from your staff liaison.
External links from the CD are optional, but they are usually to be avoided. URL's change often enough that the value of your product will be diminished over time, producing unwanted dead ends. In addition, URL's that result in automatic retrieval of objects must have rights and permissions checked. Those that simply point to external resources are not problematic from a rights perspective.
Professional assistance to work with the production details is available at reasonable cost. (Contact your staff liaison for preferred vendors.) Production work involves only the mechanics and functioning of the final CD/DVD, not its contents.
Does ACM hold all the copyrights on the material you're going to use? IF NOT, a volunteer will need to request permission to use the material. ACM can provide the forms and guidance on what is required, the SIG leadership is responsible for identifying or tracking down the current copyright holder. Note that compilations are generally easier to produce if all materials were published by ACM or a limited number of sources.
Older material can present challenges in tracking down copyright holders, as publishing houses have merged, materials have gone out of print, copyrights are returned to the authors, etc. It can take a surprisingly long time to pull the copyrights together, especially if you have to contact a number of publishing houses and/or individual authors. Even proceedings from past ACM conferences may have been printed and copyrighted by others (for example, if the conference was held in Europe).
- The CD or DVD will need a copyright page that includes permission wording from any copyright holders other than ACM. The wording for these statements is usually supplied with the permission to use the material.
- Generally, for copyrights not held by ACM, a note is sent to individual authors to let them know their material is being used as part of the project.
- If you are planning to use material from other organizations (IEEE, LNCS, etc.), do not wait to begin the permissions process. Be aware that the copyright holder may insist on delays between their publication of the material and yours, to protect their income stream. There may also be fees for use of material, or quid pro quo exchanges.
- Proceedings copyrighted by ACM sometimes contain articles whose copyright is held by either the author or a corporation. Specific written permission for use must be obtained in both cases directly from the owner. Checking the copyright block on the bottom of the first page of each article shows the copyright owner for that material. If no copyright block is found, assume the author(s) retains copyright.
- Permissions for use on the CD/DVD must be secured for inclusion of any element (such as logo, website, etc.) owned by others. Check with Publications staff on any unusual situation.
e. Unexpected Hassles
- Older materials may never have been generated in electronic formats. These items will need to be scanned, OCR'd for search, and converted to .pdf's. The cost for this step should be included in the project budget, and sufficient time allotted in the schedule. Bear in mind that scanned files are much larger.
- If you want specific artwork generated to use in this project, it needs to be contracted for early in the process. Include any costs in project budget.
- Normally the editor is responsible for the welcome message, acknowledgments of assistance, the copyright statement and similar material. The CD or DVD itself will be copyrighted. Contact the program liaison for ISBN and ACM Order numbers.
- There are some additional files that the editor should consider adding to the CD or DVD:
- Directions for those not using Windows-based machines.
- Information on the search functions, if not obvious to the user.
- History of the project or the rationale for the CD/DVD.
- Whom to contact with comments, problems, or suggestions.
- Sometimes professional assistance in creating the CD or DVD is essential to completing the project in a timely way. In addition to scanning of older materials, a professional in making CD/DVDs can assist with software (automatic opening of the CD/DVD, search capability, etc.), design questions (label, opening splash screen, organization of the material, etc.), creating and linking necessary files (copyright, author index, etc.).
- 6. Think carefully before adding a booklet to be distributed with your CD or DVD. All (or nearly all) the information that would be contained in a booklet should be on the CD or DVD, and a booklet makes packaging more difficult. In a similar way, fancy packaging increases the overall cost of the project with little additional value added for the user.
f. Final check before replication
- Please allow four to six weeks for final review by ACM headquarters, including a final check of Copyright notice and permissions secured.
- Please consider the following questions in one last review of the CD or DVD. Is the CD or DVD easy to use? Easy to navigate? Easy for those not on Windows? Are there any embarrassing typos on the label or the opening screen? Are all the links in place? Do the links work? Is the copyright notice evident and linked to the copyright statement?
G. SIG Programs
SIG Programs for the Larger Community
The list of member benefits for each SIG includes participation in the larger technical community. Sponsoring conferences where state-of-the-art research is presented is one of the most common benefits that SIGs provide to larger community.
Other frequent community benefits include awards honoring those making innovative contributions to research or having spent significant time in volunteer service to the community, support for travel to conferences, initiating workshops and tutorials in emerging areas of research, collections of Ph.D. theses, and collecting oral histories of the founders of computing along with supporting efforts to gather materials about the history of computing. Other community benefits include providing student competitions, supporting efforts for industry standardization, providing databases for job-seekers and possible employers, etc.
Providing grants to support travel to conferences is a benefit provided by many SIGs. Travel grants are generally quite similar in their administration, but can be quite focused in who they serve. Travel grants may be budgeted in SIG or conference budgets. (Please consult with your SIG liaison on special rules related to travel funded by NSF.)
Generally a SIG program to provide travel support needs to be transparent. The program should be openly and widely advertised, the qualifications needed to receive a travel grant clearly set out, and the application process clear. Deadlines and notification dates should be spelled out.
Usually reimbursement is made after travel is completed, on submission of original receipts by the grant recipient has submitted. Once the paperwork reaches ACM, it takes two to three weeks for it to be processed and a check issued.
Probably the most travel grants are provided to graduate students in the field. Frequently the highest levels of support are available to students who are authors of papers or posters at the flagship conference. Some SIGs offer support to any graduate student wishing to attend.
Some SIGs offer travel support for students who are undergraduates who have completed some study in the field and indicate an interest in doing graduate work in the field.
Educators in many institutions have little support available for attending conferences where they can find out about new trends and research in computing. This is often true for those educators serving communities long underrepresented in the computing fields (women, minorities, etc.).
Supporting educators in their first years of teaching is another group that may benefit from attending important conferences in the field.
Focusing on supporting educators in a specific geographical area, for example South America or Eastern Europe, is another option.
Some SIGs provide forums for doctoral students to present their research and to meet with other doctoral students in the field. (plus often senior faculty or researchers). Participating Ph.D.students may be eligible for general SIG student travel grants, or special funds may be set aside to underwrite travel costs.
A scholarship is providing funding courses in a university or college setting. While there are some SIGs that underwrite courses, when SIGs speak of scholarships, the usual meaning is support for student travel to a SIG-sponsored or co-sponsored conference. If a scholarship is to be issued without the expectation that supporting expense documentation is to be submitted, the SIG leader should collect the recipient's social security number and forward to the SIG or conference liaison.
One or two volunteers from the SIG leadership usually serve as coordinators for SIG-sponsored travel grants. A volunteer should not approve a student studying at his/her own university or institution, but should involve another individual from the SIG leadership to review the application and verify that the student meets the criteria for receiving travel support.
Keep in mind that infrequent travelers may benefit from pointers about traveling on other people's money. Clear expectations should be set out, and grant recipients should be reminded to keep receipts for their travel expenses. Directions for reimbursement process should be included in the original email notifying the recipient of the grant. There's a link to a sample set of instructions below.
The travel reimbursements are generally paid from SIG or conference funds through ACM. In some situations, volunteers collect the receipts, and forward them to ACM for payment. Alternatively, the specifics for reimbursement are set out in the grant email, and SIG Services staff process the reimbursements in line with those specifics. In either case, staff consult with the appropriate volunteer if any unusual situation comes up.
The volunteer leader responsible for the grant process should prepare a list of recipients and the amount they are entitled to. That list will be utilized as back-up material for the processing of the travel grants.
Supporting travel costs for an inspiring or informative speaker can be another way to support the community generally. A SIG can support travel for a speaker to travel to a smaller, regional conference, inside the U.S. or in a country with fewer resources.
Association for Computing Machinery
TRAVEL GRANT GUIDELINES
What will be reimbursed?
- Economy Airfare. For e tickets, please print out the email you receive that contains both your itinerary and the price of your ticket. (Any other documentation of your travel - boarding passes, machine-issued receipts, etc. - should also be submitted.)
- Reasonable ground transportation
- * Mileage is reimbursed at 51 cents per mile plus tolls for travel in 2011
- * Transportation to/from airports at reasonable cost (shuttle or bus, cab, etc.).
- * Airport Parking (long-term lot)
- * Reimbursement of rental cars requires prior justification and approval.
- Hotel accommodations (plus tax, if any) at conference rate. Room internet charges are not reimbursed without prior approval.
- * While traveling to/from the conference
- * Meals during conference when there is no group function
- * Maximum reimbursement for meals is $50/day in U.S. ($60 in other countries)
NOTE: Original receipts are required for all expenses over $25.00 that are to be reimbursed. ACM requires receipts for expenses to be covered by this travel grant. If you are funded by another institution, they will also need original receipts from you.
Where do I mail my receipts?
Mail your request for reimbursement with your original receipts to the Program or Conference Liaison at ACM headquarters associated with the sponsoring SIG or conference:
Attention: Program Liaison/Conference Liaison
Association for Computing Machinery, Inc
1601 Broadway, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10019-7434
Include a mailing address where we will send the check and your email, in case a question comes up about your receipts.
Reimbursement is available in US$. For those who reside outside the United States, reimbursement may be available in other currencies and by bank transfer. Contact your Program or Conference Liaison for additional information and specific procedures.
Important: Keep a copy of the material you send to us. If you have questions later, or something is lost in transit to us, having a copy will be very useful. You may also need it for your tax records.
What If my expenses are in more than one currency?
If your expenses are in more than one currency, please
- Subtotal by currency, please
- (Optional) To convert into US dollars, please use either or another currency exchange. Include source, date and rate for currency conversion. However, understand that your reimbursement will be made using the rate in effect the day the transaction is completed.
What if I have a question?
If you have a question about reimbursement procedures, please contact Program Liaison or Conference Liaison working with your program.
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In March 2020 ACM formed a Presidential Task Force (PTF) to help conference organizers transition their events to online. The PTF is working on a guide to offer practical advice and shed light on the largely unfamiliar territory of online conferencing.
The report, available here, includes pointers to a live document with additional resources. We welcome comments, suggestions and experience reports from the community.