SIG Governing Board Minutes: April 2, 2019


Srinivas Aluru
Farnoush Banaei-Kashani
Donna Cappo
Jack Davidson
Emma Rose
Laurie Fox
Bryan Goda
Drew Hamilton
Vicki Hanson
Dan Herrick
Jimon Hong
Matt Huenerfauth
Faustina Hwang
Nicole Immorlica
Jeff Jortner
Claire Lauer
Kevin Leyton-Brown
Fred Niederman
Luke Ong
Cherri Pancake
Samuel Rebelsky
Pat Ryan
Sung Shin
Will Tracz
Goce Trajcevski
Shari Trewin
Ray Trygstad
Craig Van Slyke
May D. Wang

Welcome and Introductions

Jeff welcomed everyone to Chicago and thanked them for coming to participate. He explained that this was the first test of doing a slightly different kind of a meeting. We tried to pull together all of the SIGs, that typically tend to have a single conference which is what you all have in common. It would be great to have all of you talk together and share your concerns and successes in hope of having more interaction with everybody. Jeff asked everyone to introduce themselves.

President Cherri Pancake was introduced and indicated it was great to participate. The conferences are really where most people start with ACM. That's how we get involved in meeting other people who are also willing to work and contribute back to the community.

ACM Publications Board

Jack Davidson, Co-Chair of the Publications Board was introduced to provide an update on publications activities. He reviewed the members of the board and all the publications board committees and their leadership. H explained that the Assessment and Search Committee is active whenever the group is (re)appointing an editor. They really appreciate the feedback they receive from the SGB on those appointments. The Ethics and Plagiarism is led by Gene Spafford and they deal with a lot of cases of plagiarism and other violations. The committee spends quite a bit of time investigating them in order to make the right decisions.  

Ideas for new journals should go to Sharon Oviatt. ACM has a couple of new journals that were just approved. There is also a PACM Steering Committee which is a series of proceedings of the ACM where conferences who are doing journal like review and publishing as a journal.

We now have a Transactions on Quantum Computing and we’re very excited about that. There is also an ACM Transactions on Evolutionary Learning and Optimization which was developed with the help from SIGEVO. When we ask for feedback on new publications, please be sure to take weigh in. We rely on your feedback in order to make approval decisions. 

Davidson provided some policy updates. Right now the pubs board is in the process of revising the plagiarism policy. There was a lot of good feedback from the SGB. Another policy they’re working on has to do with name changes. Authors are seeking name changes based on various things that have happened in their life, and they'd like to have the publication record reflect their name change. Pubs Board is working on a policy about how to do that. Being sensitive to the name change but preserving the publication record.

One thing that is very relevant to this group is a policy on what artifacts and supplemental materials. These would be things like slides that might accompany a published conference paper or a video or additional data. It could also be a code artifact. The pubs board is working on a policy for how to include those things in the DL and what are the rights associated with those. Another issue that's very relevant to this group is peer review records retention. What happens to the records that conferences are keeping in their submission systems; peer review, the decision, pcs, discussions? At some point we need a policy on when that should all be destroyed.

Please remember that the call for papers is extremely important in all this and in some sense the contract between the conference and the authors and the attendees. All expectations need to be up front for publishing, registering as an author, student author, declaring COIs, publication dates, etc.  Please review the relevant ACM policies when developing your CFP.

Davidson reviewed some key publication policies relevant to conference organizers including author rights, roles and responsibilities, prior pub and simultaneous submission, COI, reviewer anonymity, criteria for authorship, withdrawal, correction, retraction and removal.

Disability Inclusion Discussion

Shari Trewin from IBM and Chair of SIGACCESS introduced herself. Part of their mission is trying to make their events and publications as accessible as possible for these populations. And in the process of doing that, they've developed some techniques and resources to share.

For their conference, ASSETS (170 attendees), they strive to be super accessible. It's not a big conference, but regularly has people both attending and presenting who might be deaf, might be hard of hearing, use all sorts of different kinds of wheelchairs, have visual impairments of different kinds. If attendees can't get to conferences and can't participate fully, then all of this is kind of cutoff for them and it can really be a barrier to somebody's career and, and opportunities. See Shari’s slides:

SIGACCESS has developed a wonderful resource called the SIGACCESS Accessible Conference Guide . SGB and conference leaders will find it helpful in their conference planning process.

Conference Practices

SIG and conference leaders were asked if there was a Steering Committee for the SIG’s annual conference? If yes, how is it selected? How does the EC interact with the Steering Committee? What else should we know about the process?

SIGSPATIAL – There is no steering committee. That role is taken by the executive committee of the SIG. The role of the executive committee is to appoint the general chairs and the program committee chairs. Once is the general chairs are appointed, the EC has lively and frequent interactions with them in terms of selection of the program committee. The EC monitors the progress of organizing the conference coming and the selection of a site. Program Committee is organized in a 2-layer format. They provide student travel grants and are careful about diversity.

SIGUCCS – There is no conference steering. Instead the EC handles the role. They actively participate in conference and are fully aware of what is going on. There is a shortage of volunteers but trying to develop a pipeline. They keep a list at the EC level to groom. The EC meetings monthly for a conference call or more frequently if necessary. They have a conference guidebook which is updated at the concluding of each conference.

SIGBIo – Their focus is the BCB conference which has a steering committee. There are Co-Chairs and 5 members including past chairs and current chairs. They interact based on a timeline. They select the venue, chairs, program committees and do the logistics of the conference. The Steering Chair recruits members selected form people committed to the conference or that have played a role in the past. The SC’s responsibilities include diversity for the keynote selection. They do not have trouble filling SC positions.

SIGACCESS – They do have a Steering Committee. It includes the EC and the last 3 Chairs. They interact on the phone once each month which is very helpful.

SIGMIS – The conference was the CPR conference for over 50 years. It is a decentralized, independent activity. There is no official SC. The conference team works in bursts. The selection process is loose and interaction is irregular. Everyone is new on the conference committee each year.

SIGEcom – No SC but there is an advisory committee. The mediate between the SIG and the conferences. No mechanism to time out but seems to work fine. They meet annually and there is community buy-in. There is a chair for economics and a chair for research. They’ve experienced successful gender diversity over the past 5 years. Pc Chairs try to ensure geographic and gender diversity.

SIGITE – SC of 3 conference chairs, PC and sponsorship chair for 3 years. They interact via Zoom and meet before and after the conference with the conference committee and the EC.

SIGLOG – SC with ¾ members ex officio. The General Chair and PC Chair and 2 current Chairs and representatives from the SIG. It’s an automatic process. There is a physical meeting on the 2nd day of the conference and the SC meets by Skype regularly

SIGAPP – 34-year old conference with 400-500 attendees. There are 5 members on the SC. Once the conference committee is composed, they have their own activities. The EC is in the loop of all e-mail so they know what is going on.

SIGDOC – Small but mighty. No SC. The EC by default acts as SC. Selected based on willingness and pattern of involvement. This can be difficult because often recruit junior scholars. Do well in terms of gender but need more work on ethnicity. Conference meets with them monthly and then weekly. Use Slack heavily to channel conference conversation. Turnover is an issue.

SIGCAS – Limited conference activity. They do have a leader that handles conference queries. There is a SC for the small conference they sponsor but the SC selects GC and PC Chairs and the EC is hands off.

SIGAda – Workshop every other year co-located with the SPLASH conference. There is a SC that overlaps with the EC. They have monthly telecons. Moving to have an off-year activity – a student hackathon in fall to incorporate into the workshop.

Interaction Between Conferences and SIGs-Do these Conferences Need a SIG?

SIGCAS – no comment

SIGDOC – conference leaders and EC are so intertwined, they couldn’t exist without the other.

SIGACCESS – intertwined primary roll is institutional knowledge so it goes deeper than just an SC. It’s a safety net. Having an EC and the SC adds trust and confidence.

SIGAPP – The SIG supports conference activities for receptions and for student travel support. Surplus goes to SIG, it’s a win/win

SIGLOG – The SIG and the conference offer 2 kinds of benefits – community building and having a brand name to confirm quality of conference.

SIGITE – the SIG originated with the conference it allows people within the SIG to interact with peers that aren’t directly involved with the SIG. Provides framework for ABET and others.  Develop s community of people you see every year and helps with promotion and tenure.

SIGEcom – Conference is resistant to joining the EC. The SIG adds a ton of value – institutional memory, budgeting, rollover of funds, helps with local arrangements and more legitimized with a SIG. It’s a safety net for good practices and oversight. Offers structure with elected leaders and term limits.

SIGEVO- Conference before a SIG and very intertwined. It provides travel grants with funding from past conferences and institutional knowledge.

SIGMIS – SIG offers a newsletter which is of high quality. The SIG offers the conference institutional memory and the committees overlap. The SIG covers financial risk.

SIGBio – SIG holds member meting at conference. SIGBio holds the financial reserves for the conferences. It provides a home, and academic home under ACM. SIG provides long term life for the conference in a very competitive area.

SIGSPATIAL – The conference is older than the SIG. The SIG is ta pint of stability and a face to the community. There is little difference between the IG and the conference.

SIGUCCS – There is no difference between the conference and the SIG, they are completely intertwined. The SIG provides financial stability, credibility, and continuity.

What Could We Be Doing Different that these Other Conferences are Doing Well?

SIGSPATIAL – visit conferences with similarities and larger conferences. Collect guidelines and share

SIGBio – Learned a lot from SIG and conference leaders. Good to meet every couple of years.

SIGUCCS – experiment with telepresence meeting with remote participants

SIGCAS – training for new EC members

SIGAPP – Concerned about membership numbers. Want to experiment with free membership for 1 year.

SIGUCSS – tried lighting talks which are 5-7 minutes. Webinars

SIGLOG – lightweight submission and review

SIGMIS – poster sessions submitted as posters instead of traditional papers and rolled into welcome receptions.

SIGACCESS – single tracks for accessibility and offer lunch so people stay all day

SIGDOC – new format 2- page submission format and industry submission format. Educate members regarding publishing rules so the understand how to publish in conference and then journal.

SIGecom  - publish 1 page abstracts. Transitioned to tutorials before and workshops after to give incentive to stay. Charge for workshops not tutorials.

SIGLOG – Every 4 years co-locate with other conferences. Great to learn and network for young researchers.

SIGEVO – Coordinate conference dates with others in community.

SIGACCESS – mentoring program. Offer corporate support program with different levels.

SIGSPATIAL – offer competition to engage industry with SPATIAL problem. Gives focus for people to further research.

SIGITE- Community College Day.


Jeff thanked everyone for participating. He let them know that there would be an SGB Zoom call in May and that more of these focused meetings are planned for the future. The orientation this year will take the form of a webinar and we’re anxious to see how that works. The meeting concluded.