SIG Governing Board Minutes: October 8, 2021



Divyakant Agrawal
Elizabeth Baron
Peter Brusilovsky
Donna Cappo
Sanmay Das
Vicki Hanson
Matt Huenerfauth
Nicole Immorlica
Pankaj Jalote
Natalie Enright Jerger
Joe Konstan
Neha Kumar
Shan Lu
Shawn Donald Newsam
Patricia (Patti) Ordonez
Jens Palsberg
Tal Rabin
Lisa Smith
Ray Trygstad
May D. Wang
Thomas Zimmermann
*List is not all-inclusive

ACM CEO Report (Hanson)


  • Total ACM Members has seen a big jump since 3 Sept 2020 to 30 Sept 2021 from 93,678 to 111,191 attributable to a marketing campaign offering complimentary ACM Membership to ACM proceedings authors who were not previously ACM members. ACM + SIG members and SIG-only Members membership numbers have gone up as well.

ACM Digital Library

  • Newly created Digital Library Department at ACM HQ
  • Volunteer oversight through new DL Board
  • Wayne Graves- Head of DL department at ACM HQ
  • DL Board Chair – Jack Davidson
  • Pubs & DL Board Chairs have been defining the responsibilities of each board

DL Early Progress

  • Tracking of feedback – individuals that submitted feedback will now be kept in the loop regarding updates
  • Journals – full text XML rollout
  • Author Profiles (ability to correct errors, ORCID, claim publications)
  • Normalization of author names and affiliations – this allows for more comprehensive attribution of publications
  • During the writes process authors are going to be allowed to review and sign off on all the core metadata that’s presented there about them
  • ACM Just Accepted

ACM and SIG Awards

  • (Proposal of/not yet approved) New Honors Policy – commitment to ethical conduct is required for recipients of all ACM awards and ACM SIG awards
  • Will not confer an honor on individual in violation of Code
  • Will defer conferring in cases where there is question of credibility
  • New wording on ACM nomination pages to ensure adherence of ACM Code of Ethics and ACM’s Core Values
  • Wide distribution of Call for Nomination for diversity
  • ACM Europe’s Webinar on “Getting Recognized by ACM Awards and Honors”

SIG Statement

  • Jens would like SIGS that have not yet signed the SIG Statement that are considering signing to do so
  • Jens will figure out which SIGS are having difficulty or experiencing problems with implementing ACM policies in their SIG award selection process
  • Nicole would like the SIGS to link to the SIG Statement from their individual websites
  • As per Vicki, SIGS are not supposed to issue their own statements, however an exception was made for the SIG Statement concerning Jeffrey Ullman

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council Report (Ordonez, Smith)

  1. Mission – focused on enhancing the governance, programs, activities, etc. to drive a more inclusive culture within the ACM and the global community we serve. 
  2. Focus Areas
  • People – increasing diversity representation
  • Processes & Practices – adopting DEI principles (inclusive language, code of ethics, etc.)
  • Tracking Progress for Continuous Improvement
  • Culture
  • Building A Community of Practice
  • Acknowledging Differences as a Strength
  • Role Modeling Dei
  1. Pillars
  • DEI Council
  • ACM-W – promoting women’s initiatives
  • Systemic Change
  • Education
  • Global Impact – newly added
  • Industry Partners – newly added
  • Special Initiatives
  1. Closing Remarks

Call to Action:

  • Embed DEI principles into processes and procedures
  • Help evolve the ACM culture to be more inclusive
  • Let’s highlight DEI work on website for public awareness
  • Inform us on where and/or how we can help by emailing [email protected]

Question #1: Which focus area(s) of the ACM DEI strategy are your SIGS currently supporting and/or would like to support?

  1. People
  2. Processes & Practices
  3. Culture
  4. None of the above
  5. Others (place specifics in chat window)

Question #2: What emerging diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives are your SIGS undertake?

DEI council will review conference surveys from (SIGPLAN & SIGOPS) with an end goal of developing conference survey questions that offer greater insight regarding participant backgrounds in a respectful and consistent way that can be applied across ACM conferences.

Human Subjects Research Policy-Pubs Board Report (Konstan)

Research Involving Human Participants and Subjects

Authors must meet both legal and ethical requirements; be prepared to provide documentation of compliance if asked; declare conflicts of interest

Roles / Responsibilities:

  • Program Chairs (and Editors) – communicate policy to authors & determine/implement appropriate mechanism for their publicationsC
  • Reviewers – obligation to consider the ethics of the research conducted
  • Reference to policy must be in Call For Papers

ACM’s Goals:

  • ACM Code of Professional Ethics
  • International conventions on human research
  • Respect local requirements

For the SIGS: Can we identify best (and worst) practices for reducing the opportunity/success of such attempts? Conflicted or biased reviewers/networks of mutually-supportive reviewers

Notes from discussion:

  • Solicit associate editors to respect the policy in terms of journal reviews
    • Not having the name of the author/s on the submitted papers
    • The problem is different when it comes to journals and conferences
  • There is a need for automated matching of papers and reviewers, the challenge is matching papers without bias
  • Double blind reviewing has many advantages, but it can also serve as a mask for those that wish to manipulate the review process to their advantage

ACM Violations Database Report (Hanson)

  1. ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (1992, updated 2018)
  • Applies to ACM members
  1. Policy Against Harassment at ACM Events (2018)
  • Applies to members and non-members in relation to ACM events
  1. ACM Publications Policies and Procedures
  • Applies to plagiarism, misrepresentation, and falsification
  1. Policy on Roles and Responsibilities in ACM Publishing
  • Applies to reviewing process (PC chairs and committee members)

Online Reporting of Incidents

What Happens When a Complaint is Filed?

  1. Complaints go directly to an ACM database

  2. Submitter receives an acknowledgement within 48 hours

  3. *Complaint sent for investigation to COPE or Publications Ethics & Plagiarism Committee.  Ethics and Plagiarism also investigates review processes and other policies.

  • May be referred to professional investigators

  1. Interview stage: Complainant is contacted about event, witnesses, etc.

  2. Decision made

  3. Subject is emailed a Decision Letter with specifics of sanctions if any

  • If sanctions imposed, the subject may file an appeal within 30 days

  • If sanctions imposed, notified that decision will be in ACM Violations Database

  1. Any bans are finalized and take effect 30 days after notification of the ban or after resolution of any appeal, whichever is later

  2. Complainant is notified when the ban is finalized

  • ACM does not communicate decisions to witnesses, other 3rd parties, or requests from SIGs

*While cases are being investigated, no sanctions are imposed on the subject of an investigation

Volunteer Role in Enforcement

Queries to database are limited to those with a need-to-know

  • SIG Chairs / Presidents (appointments, awards)

  • Conference Chairs (volunteer appointments, registration) There is an effort underway at ACM to automate the process of checking whether potential attendees are eligible to register for a conference in relation to registration systems ACM often uses.

  • Program Committee Chairs (member appointments)

Process Improvements Made Since April ‘21

  • Publications bans handled at submission and through e-rights

  • Query either individuals or file for multiple individuals – Excel file or a semicolon-separated text

Query the Violations Database before appointment is confirmed

In a few weeks, set of instructions will be sent out to everyone that is eligible to query the database

  • Rolling basis as volunteers are added and others move out of volunteer roles
  • Minimally needs Family name, First name to submit queries for an individual or for multiple people
  • Those that have a ban against them are aware of the ban and the nature of the reprimand. There are no “secret” bans.
  • If anyone has suggestions regarding how the violations database can be improved, they can send an email to Vicki or [email protected]

Conferences in Texas-Open Letter to ACM Leadership Discussion (Palsberg)

There appears to be a consensus among SIG leaders that a ban on organizing conferences/conducting business in general in Texas would ultimately hurt the ACM community belonging to that region. Additionally, from a political perspective if a ban were to occur, where would ACM draw the line in terms of other states/countries that push forth legislation that is against the principles ACM stands for? Perhaps some guidelines from the SGB/ACM would be useful in determining when a conference location ought to be changed as has happened in the past. There is support for the sentiment behind the open letter, but a ban would hurt the ACM community in Texas that needs support be it financial or health related assistance.

SIGPLAN Research Highlights Discussion (Palsberg)

As of July 2020, 34/58 SIGPLAN papers have been selected to appear as CACM Research Highlights

Question to SIGS from Jens: What kind of a process do you have in place to celebrate/highlight your papers?

SIGSOFT partakes in a similar process to SIGPLAN. This results in accepted papers gaining extra recognition via a dedicated webpage.

Point to be noted: The amount of featured research highlights would need to increase in addition to other SIGS partaking in the research highlighting process to be more impactful.

There is no limitation on publication date for research highlight nominations.

*There may be a meeting prior to the SGB meeting in April ’22 to discuss best practices surrounding how to organize a hybrid conference, Jens will send an email regarding this.