Minutes of the SGB Meeting Sunday, August 19, 2001
1.0 Welcome, Introductions and Review Agenda
The meeting began at 9:00 am. Chesnais welcomed the attendees and each of the participants introduced themselves. Chesnais introduced Kathy Haramundanis. She was recently elected to the SGB EC and just appointed to the position of VC Operations. Haramundanis will be responsible for running the SGB EC conference calls and meetings of the SGB and SGB EC.
1.1 Approve minutes from March'01 SGB Meeting
Chesnais indicated that the minutes for the March'01 meeting were distributed in May and requested a motion to approve.
Motion: Move to approve the minutes of the March 11, 2001 SGB meeting.
1.2 Review of SGB vs. SGB EC operations
Chesnais explained that the SGB EC was a committee elected by the SGB to oversee operational issues on behalf of the SGB. With 2 meetings per year and more than 30 members it is impossible for the SGB to be directly responsible for administrative issues. The SGB EC is responsible for the administration and implementation of all decisions made by the SGB. Chesnais outlined the committee positions and named the individual responsible for each.
As the elected SGB EC Chair, Chesnais is one of the four SIG Representatives on ACM Council and is the SIG Representative on the ACM Executive Committee.
Jim Cohoon is the appointed Publications Advisor whose role is to oversee issues related to publications as directed by the SGB.
Donna Baglio is the Director of SIG Services and serves as liaison to ACM Headquarters.
Kathy Haramundais (SIDOC Chair)was recently elected to a member-at-large position and was named SGB EC Vice Chair for Operations. She will preside over SGB and SGB EC Meetings including the SGB EC conference calls.
Stu Feldman (SIGecom Chair) has served for the past year as SGB EC Vice Chair for SIG Development. It is his responsibility is to identify emerging technical areas and oversee transitional SIGs. The SGB Information Director, SGB committees, and SIG Liaisons to ACM Boards, other than those who are members of the SGB EC, report through the VC Development. Feldman was reassigned to this position for the next year.
Fred Niederman (SIGCPR Chair) was recently elected to a member-at-large position and was named Secretary. In this role he will act as elections advisor, policy advisor, and financial and budgetary advisor.
Rob Corless (SIGSAM Chair) was recently elected to a member-at-large position and was named Conference Advisor. In this role he will oversee issues related to conferences as directed by the SGB.
Alan Berenbaum (SIGARCH Chair) has served as Large SIG Advisor for the past year. The position acts as a liaison for large SIG issues. Berenbaum was reassigned to this position for the next year.
Bruce Klein (SIGCSE Past Chair) has served as Small SIG Advisor for the past year. The position acts as a liaison for small SIG issues. Klein was reassigned to this position for the next year.
1.3 Review of Voting Practices
Chesnais explained that the SGB decides matters by weighted voting. Each SIG is entitled to one vote, plus one vote for each one thousand voting SIG members or fraction thereof. Voting SIG membership is calculated each July 1st for SGB votes taken that fiscal year. SIGs in transition are not permitted to vote. In practice weighted voting takes place for issues that are not supported by a majority. The meeting back-up included a listing of SIGs and the number of votes each was entitled to.
1.4 Change in Allocation and Why
Chesnais reported that several members of the SGB had questions regarding the new allocation formula. He explained that in FY'00 the SGB charged the SGB EC with putting together a task force to ensure that the allocation was fair and reflected SIG activity. That task force reported their findings and their recommendation during the SGB meeting in October of 2000. The SGB was directed to the minutes of that meeting for additional details.
Chesnais explained that the SIG allocation was a tax levied on all SIGs to help pay the costs of SIGs doing business. He summarized the task force findings:
- it was difficult to correlate services to revenue (the allocation was based on revenue)
- differing rates for types of expenses were seen as an incentive to push for some over others
- there was a huge variance in allocation amounts: 600x
- services not linear with expenses (economies of scale)
- no notion of minimal cost of doing business
- risk in having one SIG provide so much of the total allocation
The task force was composed of SIG officers representing a cross section of SIGs. They met several times last summer and came up with a series of recommendations:
- Base allocation on expense, not revenue
- Minimum contribution of $15K (actual cost estimated at $41K)
- New variable rate per $125K, not per activity
- Start at 16%
- Decrease by 0.8% every $125K
- Minimum of 5.35%
- Review allocation in 3 years
Chesnais explained how the new formula addressed the issues:
- Move to expenses: they are easier to correlate to services rendered
- Set up a minimal allocation to cover cost of doing business
- Solidarity amongst SIGs: the larger SIGs are still subsidizing smaller SIGs
- Single expense type model does not implicitly favor one specific activity
- Single SIG's contribution brought to 30% from 36.7%
The recommendations were brought to the SGB in October'00 and a motion to approve them passed by an absolute majority of SIGs. The new allocation went into effect July 1, 2001.
Following the presentation, several leaders of smaller SIGs voiced concern about the $15K minimum and questioned the ACM's motives. Was it to put the small SIGs out of business? Chesnais explained that wasn't the case and made it clear that it was the SGB that made the decision to do this. Based on the costs of doing business, the smaller SIGs continue to be subsidized. During the March'01 meeting it was decided that a task force would be chartered to review the effect the new allocation scheme would have on the small SIGs. Mark Scott Johnson was asked to Chair and Alan Berenbaum and Bruce Klein agreed to serve. A recommendation is expected from them during the Spring'02 meeting.
1.5 Weighted Voting Cap
During the SGB meeting held on March 11th, Cohoon moved that the SGB consider capping weighted voting at 5 votes. The motion was tabled because the SGB attendees felt there wasn't enough time to discuss or understand the issue. They requested that it be placed on the agenda for this meeting.
This change would currently effect three of the SIGs: SIGCHI, SIGGRAPH and SIGPLAN. Chesnais explained that he wanted this agenda item discussed amongst the SIG leaders during the break in preparation for a lengthier discussion later in the day. However, the SGB indicated that they preferred discussion and decision before moving ahead to the next agenda item.
Chesnais reported that several years ago each SIG had 1 vote on issues that related to activities requiring SIG opinion. The SIGs voted to amend this along with the changes to the SIG Governing Board structure. It was decided that votes of the SGB would be based on the number of members a SIG had. One year ago the allocation scheme was modified because the subsidization of the smaller SIGs was being borne by a small number of large SIGs. Cohoon suggested the cap, just as the allocation scheme was reviewed he believed it was time to look at the voting scheme. He suggested that the SGB could consider basing votes on the percentage of allocation that a SIG pays. There are many ways this could be done.
Some members of the SGB refused to support a cap on votes because there's no cap on the allocation. A cap will have an effect on 6 votes so, unless there's a real problem why should the SGB consider a change? Some leaders believed that this formula pitted one set of powers over another and that the large SIGs could easily push a vote over by working together. SGB members questioned "5" as the number chosen for the cap. Cohoon indicated that the number was arbitrary, but so was the way the current policy was established. At the time the SGB could have easily opted to have 2 votes per SIG. The voting scheme was changed to accommodate certain SIGs. The change in allocation was based on the needs of the larger SIGs and the notion of fairness. Cohoon asked the SGB to consider the cap in the same way.
Motion: Move to call the question.
Motion: Move to cap SGB weighted votes at 5.
2.0 Best Practices Session
A best practice session was held so that all SIG leaders could gain from the experiences of the others. Leaders were encouraged to discuss both successful and unsuccessful programs.
SIGMICRO - is providing researchers in architecture access to state-of-the-art hardware. They hope this collaboration between researchers and industry will allow access to hardware that would otherwise be unavailable to many performing worthy research.
This year's SIGMICRO conference received 144 submissions and experimented with author feedback by allowing authors to rebut referee reports. This was an experience beneficial to the committee and to the authors. The rebuttals were examined and had an effect on the results.
SIGCSE - is in the process of brainstorming initiatives to involve more people in activities. Their conference continues to grow in attendance and has a paper acceptance rate of 34%. Attendees were encouraged to sign up for membership when signing up for the conference, which brought in 94 new members. They were able to find new volunteers. The challenge will be in how to focus these people.
SIGCOMM - their awards team sits down and asks who in the field should be nominated to become an ACM fellow. They then proceed to get 2 or 3 people nominated. They actively seek people for nomination and take the initiative to put them into the pool.
This year SIGCOMM tried to expand their reach into Latin America by holding a conference there. This cost the SIG a fortune. They learned that there is a community but it is focused on the CLAY conference where many of them are supported. The SIG is looking to co-locate with this event in 2 years. It moves around throughout Latin America. The SIG paid lots of money to have the papers translated and although attendees appreciated it they did not feel it was necessary. They did not have simultaneous translation for cost reasons (there were only 50 attendees).
SIGAPL - the group has been holding conferences outside the USA since 1974. Their next conference is in Madrid. The leaders have a fair amount of experience and would be happy to discuss this with other SIG leaders as appropriate.
SIGSOFT holds several conferences outside the USA. ICSE, their flagship event is to be held in Argentina for the 1st time next year. The biggest concern at this time is currency stability.
SIGSAM - when this group holds their conference outside the USA, management and issues are shared with other organizations.
MAB - Those SIGs running events in other countries should check out the chapters in that area either ACM or SIG. This could bring in more assistance with local arrangements as well as additional attendance.
SIGACT - for the first time in 33 years the group held their flagship conference outside the USA. Attendance was about 50% of the average but higher than expected as a result of co-locating with the ICAIL conference. Co-location was a good idea.
SIGCHI - has changed their membership dues structure to mirror the ACM levels dues structure. This is not widely known so they are encouraging their chapter leaders to make members aware.
SIGPLAN and SIGSOFT - these groups encourage student involvement with travel awards and student poster sessions. During the ICSE meeting a student breakfast is held where session chairs are invited to participate and sit with students.
SIGPLAN - the group has a diversity program where faculty from minority colleges is invited. NSF has always funded this. SIGs should encourage students to participate in all activities. To allow this a conference can raise registration fees or get the money from industry.
SIGDA - this group offers a number of student activities. At DAC there is a University booth where students can show research and vendors can talk about their university programs. They hold a PhD forum where students near dissertation can put up posters giving them the opportunity to present to others. SIGDA provides travel grants and has experimented with a student summer school. The summer school exposes students to higher level people.
SIGCHI - this group has 60 local chapters with 30 outside the US. At any given time 2 are in the process of formation. SIGCHI provides work space, resources, advice, tutorials, CDs, tutorial notes from conferences and at the flagship conference there is a day devoted to the meeting of local chapters. The SIGCHI leadership made sweatshirts and mailed one to each Local Chapter Chair (the feedback was good).
SIGAda - this group has 12 chapters with some being very active and some not. An advantage of having chapters is when having a conference you can tap into the chapter for help locally.
SIGART - runs doctoral consortia with AAAI. Students send an abstract and are given feedback on research. They are given a chance to give a talk in front of a friendly group of people. They are then taken out for dinner. The SIG intends to have presentations by senior individuals to provide advice and mentoring on career choices.
SIGCOMM - 1/3 of attendees are students. They hold a student dinner the night before the conference starts. The program committee attends and sits at different tables.
SIGCSE - their conference does not draw a large number of students but they would like to bring more in. They hold a doctoral consortium the day before the conference where folks anywhere in the research process can present. They are organized into groups with senior people to provide feedback. They also hold a student poster session and identify sessions for students.
SIGMOD - has begun to digitize database publications. They are about to publish volume 5 of the anthology series, which includes other SIG publications and TODS. They have signed agreements with external publishers to include 3rd party content. Their annual disk series includes all conference publications. A silver edition will put the entire anthology series onto DVD.
SIGMOD - has a library program. A call goes out to the community requesting books they don't need and which aren't too old. Attendees going to the conference are asked to bring 2 copies to the conference and every year a country is chosen and the books are shipped there. The group will be bringing their annual conference to Europe in 2004.
SIGDA - group is willing to cooperate with other organizations but requires the rights to the proceedings. Surplus from conferences outside the USA goes back to that area.
Several of the leaders indicated an interest to produce anthology type publications. There is growing concern about the efforts involved in securing the rights to materials copyrighted by organizations other than ACM. White indicated that ACM was making progress with IEEE and 3rd parties. Leaders interested should contact Jim Cohoon, the SGB EC Publications Board Advisor and Mark Mandelbaum, ACM's Director of Publications for the latest information.
3.0 Council's Request Re: Registration Fees
As requested by the SGB, Chesnais asked ACM Council to amend Bylaw 6, Section 6 as follows:
Fee for ACM + SIG member <= fee for ACM only member <= non member, and fee for ACM + SIG member <= fee for SIG only member <= non member, with no explicit ordering between SIG only and ACM only members.
Council requested that the SGB representative come back with justification on their goal and how the change will achieve it. Council is seeking specific examples regarding proposed pricing structure for ACM/SIG members and the pros and cons of the change.
Chesnais decided to form an ad hoc committee to handle this action. He expected that SIGGRAPH would provide an individual and asked for other volunteers. Both Tremaine and Siegel volunteered.
Action: Ad Hoc Committee (SIGGRAPH Rep, Tremaine, Siegel) to provide justification, goal and back-up for presentation to Council regarding amendment to Bylaw 6 Section 6 (registration fees).
4.0 Weighted Voting
5.1 Motion from March'01 Meeting
The following motion was tabled during the March 11, 2001 SGB meeting:
Motion: Move to propose that SIGCPR's allocation be frozen at $3,000 for the next 3 years.
Niederman reported that when the allocation changed, SIGCPR realized they were in trouble. In March he presented the above which was tabled. In the meantime, the SIGCPR leadership has chosen to negotiate with SIGMIS to merge the 2 SIGs. This would do a number of positive things to benefit both groups. The primary goal is to preserve the SIGCPR conference and to have an outlet for publication.
Niederman and Cohoon withdrew their motion.
5.2 New Merger Proposal
Niederman explained that the proposed plan would have SIGCPR merging into SIGMIS. This has been discussed between the 2 groups for the last 15 years. The leaders of both groups believe that they'd be better off combined. Letters of support from both sets of leaders were included in the back up.
Niederman explained that a merging of the two organizations would strengthen the existing programs of both groups by combining the loyal memberships of both groups supporting a strong conference program by SIGCPR and a strong publication program by SIGMIS.
SIGCPR has a long-standing cooperative relationship with SIGMIS. A significant number of the 117 current members of SIGCPR are also members of SIGMIS. The two groups have co-sponsored conferences. The intellectual domain of the two fields significantly overlaps particularly in concerns involving end-user computing, diffusion of technology, socio-technical systems, and the effects of computing on workers and communities.
At this time, SIGCPR has had 11 consecutive years of successful annual conferences (with many additional years of conferences before that) with another approved for 2002. The coming year will feature the first conference for SIGCPR in Europe. Additionally, a conference is in the planning stages for 2003. Members of SIGCPR recently provided a significant contribution to a special issue of CACM on the Global IT Workforce with more than half of the content of the special issue generated by active SIGCPR members.
At this time, SIGMIS has a publication that is well-refereed and highly regarded among MIS scholars. Although the journal has fallen behind in publication, it is on track for catching up without compromising quality. In addition, SIGMIS recently has been very successful in co-sponsoring conferences with SIGIR regarding knowledge management.
Moreover, the fields of CPR and MIS broadly overlap. Personnel are a key part of the development and maintenance of management information systems, and all MIS efforts generally include personnel issues. As stated in its mission, SIGCPR provides a forum for better understanding the people issues that are critical in the management, development, acquisition, use, and maintenance of information technologies and systems. This is closely related to the domain of providing information and technology for the management of organizations and utilization its use for business purposes.
Niederman proposed the following:
- Terminate all SIGCPR officer positions.
- Create a new SIGMIS officer position called Vice-Chair for Computer Personnel Research.
- The conference will continue with sponsorship from SIGMIS and be called the Computer Personnel Research Conference
- The CPR newsletter will be terminated.
- DATABASE will begin an annual special issue on computer personnel.
- LISTSERV's will be combined
- SIGCPR fund balance (approximately $20,000 as of July 2001) will be transferred to SIGMIS.
At this time SIGCPR is a strong and contributing member of the SIG family within ACM. It is not without problems, particularly in the area of regular publication of Computer Personnel. This proposal is submitted while SIGCPR remains a strong and active group, rather than waiting until it is no longer viable to find some solution for its continuation. This proposal is submitted with the purpose of merging the strengths of SIGCPR with the strength of SIGMIS into a more vibrant and healthy single entity. While largely stimulated by SIGCPR as a means of moving to a more stable future positioning, it is viewed as also significantly benefiting and strengthening SIGMIS as well.
SGB leaders voiced their approval. The CPR and MIS leaders made it clear that the two SIGs had business discussions and this appears to be a good business decision. It should not be generalized that this is the answer for all SIGs having issues with the new allocation scheme.
Motion: Move to support the merger of SIGMIS and SIGCPR.
Barbara Ryder presented an update on the activities of FCRC'03. The Federated Computing Research Conference was initially co-sponsored by CRA and ACM to focus attention on computing research across the discipline at regular time intervals, to provide a venue for cross-discipline interaction technically, socially and personally and to offer a public showcase for computing research.
Previous FCRC events were held in '93 - San Diego, '96 - Philadelphia and '99 - Atlanta. FCRC '99 was a successful technical program with satisfied attendees and no deficit. FCRC'03 is planned for June 7th through 14th in San Diego.
The success of the '99 conference was a result of having all publicity available electronically and distributing only a postcard. Services were centralized for all meetings with ACM HQ handling conference and registration management. During a typical FCRC day all participants gather in the same location for continental breakfast, breaks, lunch and an evening gathering where groups can meet and make dinner plans. Each day the individual conference sessions break at 11:30 am - 12:30 pm for a joint plenary session. The conferences already on board include:
ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation (PLDI)
ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA)
ACM SIGMETRICS International Conference on Measurement and Modeling of Computer Systems (METRICS)
ACM/IEEE/SCS Workshop on Parallel and Distributed Simulation (PADS)
ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC)
ACM Symposium on Principles of Distributed Computing (PODC)
ACM SIGPLAN Symposium on Principles and Practice of Parallel Programming (PPOPP)
ACM International Conference on Management of Data & Symposium on Principles of Database & Systems (MODS/PODS)
ACM Symposium on Computational Geometry (CG)
ACM Symposium on Parallel Algorithms & Architectures (SPAA)
Ryder invited each of the SGB leaders to add a workshop and/or tutorial in their specialty. The conference is to be held at the Town and Country Resort located in Mission Valley, CA. There is extensive, high-ceilinged meeting space, restaurants, pools and spa on premises, a shopping center with inexpensive food and a golf course close by. The facility is located close to a light rail stop and is 10 minutes from Old Town and 25 minutes from the downtown Gaslamp District.
The Steering Committee provides institutional memory and has general oversight responsibility for conference planning. The committee members consist of the previous conference chair, current conference chair and representatives of SIGs sponsoring large meetings.
The Conference Committee handles the organization of the conference including selection of keynote speakers, publicity, exhibits, student activities and the faculty travel support program. Ryder asked the SGB leaders to supply names of additional volunteers that would be interested in helping.
Ryder provided a summary on the student activities. Many students attend FCRC but find it difficult to meet others. To help them she plans to coordinate a student poster session between conferences, have social gatherings for students-only, with or without speakers, and have career panels. Ryder would also like FCRC'03 to offer a faculty travel support program to allow 100 faculty from colleges and universities with large populations of students from underrepresented groups in CS&E (i.e. minorities and women) to attend FCRC. This concept is loosely based on an existing SIGPLAN program which, was started in 1994 which sponsored 25-30 faculty members. This program will be a professional development opportunity for faculty who can influence students to choose CS&E careers, is a community building activity for the SIGs and builds service to the community into FCRC which is good for SIGs and ACM. The plan is to offer each participant a travel stipend of $1,000 with specific conference and tutorial registration waivers. The attendees are required to provide a program evaluation at the conference and 6 months after. Ryder will handle fundraising with SIG leader involvement. She encouraged the SGB leaders to support the program.
Maria Klawe was unable to participate in the meeting as planned. White reported on her behalf. He provided the SGB with a closing report on ACM1. Although not a big proponent of ACM1 before it occurred, Klawe did a complete turn around during the event and believes that ACM must do it again. Maria Klawe is interested in Chairing a similar event in 2005. White indicated that she wanted the SIGs to know that she felt strongly about their involvement from the beginning and would actively be seeking their input as she considers moving ahead with a plan and a proposal.
8.0 ACM Update
John White, ACM's Chief Executive Officer reported on the state of ACM. ACM is healthy with 75,000 members (54,000 professionals and 19,000 students). The organization publishes 25 journals and magazines and sponsors more than 80 conferences per year. ACM is active in a number of important areas: policy, education and diversity and gender equity. From another perspective, ACM is stagnant. Professional membership is declining, there are few new publications and/or SIGs and it has limited identity and sense of purpose in the field. ACM intends to improve the revenue outlook and increase membership. In the process, the organization must deal with some deep issues. What is the value of membership in ACM and is there a sustainable business model for the future? In the short-term, ACM needs to increase its knowledge of their customer base, take customer satisfaction seriously and start deeper thinking about the right ACM business model.
To build knowledge of members, CACM is in the process of making a systematic assessment of member satisfaction. Focus Groups have been used to accelerate this and provide a qualitative assessment of member satisfaction. The results are being used to set short-term priorities.
Results from focus groups indicate that ACM does not have a strong identity, although there is awareness of its parts: Digital Library, SIGs and conferences. The greatest awareness of ACM begins during undergraduate or graduate education; however, for the non-loyalist/idealist the perceived value of ACM fades rapidly once in their careers. ACM as an entity is viewed as too "middle of the road" - somewhere between serving the academic community and the needs of practitioners. CACM, for example, is neither a research publication nor a publication for practitioners. CACM probably reflects ACM, the entity, more than anything else does. IT professionals possess high self-confidence, face a plethora or resources, and feel little loyalty to any single organization. They seek relevant knowledge and challenges - always looking to the future. They need ACM to help them in their jobs. Non-member professionals are either unaware of ACM or unmotivated to join because they can derive value from our major products (DL, conferences) without being a member. Both students and professionals are in need of information filtering to assure relevance to their interests and high quality. Both students and professionals value networking very highly. The greatest sense of community, practical information, and career relevancy is with the SIGs - but the relationship between ACM as an entity and its SIGs is unclear and in many cases lost or unknown.
The assessment here is that ACM is very much "middle of the road" and lacks identity and purpose. Inside of that we have awareness with students but that fades as they enter their careers. The SIGs are valuable, but we have not found the right model for integrating that value into ACM, the entity. There is a need for networking, delivery of filtered content that is relevant, and more offerings relevant to members' jobs.
ACM plans to leverage individuals with the greatest and newest awareness of ACM - students and new members, improve electronic services and launch a new practitioner publication.
White reported that a CACM survey was sent to 9,000 professional members. ACM received 1,241 responses. While there is sort of a general sense of satisfaction with CACM, CACM like ACM, is very much "middle of the road. We intend to re-think the CACM mission, particularly if we can define a new, unique practitioner publication.
The consistent message with the focus groups and the CACM survey is that ACM does not have a clear identity and sense of purpose. As an entity, we are in the middle of the road and are not serving practitioners in their careers. The real value of a relationship with ACM is in the relationship members have with the SIGs.
During White's report on ACM finances, the agenda item on interest was discussed. White explained that while ACM segregates and allows SIGs to manage their individual fund balances and finances against a set of financial guidelines, we are one Association. We have a responsibility to manage the assets of the Association, manage the financial requirements (e.g., cash flows) of the Association and seek a high, but safe, rate of return on investments. We do this against a set of policies, procedures, and practices that includes: managing the Association's assets as a single set of investments. Investing in fixed-income securities of the highest quality at various investment firms. In the 70's and 80's we applied the ACM interest rate to the investable SIG Fund Balance. In the 90's that was changed to paying the 90-day Treasury Bill rate on the SIG Fund Balance which guaranteed a rate of return and was independent of cash-flow requirements. Recent performance in FY'00 shows ACM's overall rate at 6.51% and the 90-day T-Bill rate at 5.37%. In FY'01 ACM's overall rate was 6.34% and the 90-day t-bill rate was 5.25%. With t-bill rates dropping to 3.58% in July it's time again for a change. White proposed returning to paying the overall ACM rate applied to the investable SIG fund balance.
The SGB thanked White for his review and proposal and agreed that matching the same rate of return is equitable and fair.
Motion: Move that we cheerfully endorse the notion that ACM apply the "overall ACM" interest rate to the investable portion of the SIG Fund Balance.
White reviewed the Digital Library Sharing Model. During a previous SGB meeting the SGB agreed that the Digital Library Net would be split between ACM General (70%) and the ACM SIGs (30%). The net is derived by reducing the revenue by the true expenses. For FY'01 the SIGs will receive $106,000.
White reported on the status of the ACM Portal. The vision was to build and ACM gateway to all (relevant) computing literature. The Project was to complete the retrospective capture of all ACM content, redesign and re-implement underlying data models for the DL and integrate the ACM Guide bibliographic database into the DL. The intent was to start the Portal with ACM's 350,000 citations (classified, reviewed) and grow this with the help of the SIGs.
ACM products could now be defined as the ACM DL, ACM Guide to Computing Literature, the ACM Portal (Guide +DL + Hosted Collections) and personalized services. White explained that in building the business model for this there were some competing issues. ACM needed to provide benefits to the community, derive revenue from value, charge for services and charge for content. The principle was to provide free but limited access to the Guide database, unbundle the Guide for institutions and add value to ACM members. The overall goal was to grow the DL/Portal revenues.
The next steps are to work with the SIGs to complete the bibliographic database as originally envisioned (1M citations vs. the current 350K citations), to load SIG-specific bibliographic database, engage the community to correct and update the database and to continue to add 30K new, non-ACM citations per year. In addition we need to continue to extract references and enable reference linking across the entire Portal. We need to introduce and use DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers), expand the personal electronic services available and conduct a second market research study to evaluate ACM's pricing and offerings relative to others.
We currently have an initial release of the Portal and a plan that allows the public to access the Guide database via browsing of either bibliographic listings or various indexes. A subscription is required to use the full features of the Guide database (e.g. reference linking, author linking, advanced search, etc. Either: an individual member subscription to the Portal, an individual member subscription to the Guide, a non-member subscription to the Guide or an institutional subscription to the Guide.
The SIG Portal Proposal indicates that the SIGs are to provide $1M of funding over the next 3 years for the completion of the Guide and the development of the SIG-specific portals/views/services. In exchange all aspects of the Guide (advanced searching, multi-directional reference linking, author linking) are free to the world. All technical and financial aspects of completing the Guide and building SIG-specific portals/views will be managed by a Board of 9 volunteers (6 from SIGs, 1 from Council, 1 from Pubs Bd. and 1 from MAB). The positive aspects of the proposal are that SIG funding will accelerate completion of the Guide and the development of SIG-specific portals/views/services. The concern is that making all aspects of the Portal/Guide free destabilizes the current model. We need to find the right balance in providing services that are: free to the world, value ACM/SIG membership and are revenue based. We should consider making full access to the guide a member benefit. White suggested that the Portal proposal be considered following additional market research. ACM cannot afford to commit to this before further study. White suggested the SIGs consider contributing substantial funds to accelerate completing the Guide bibliographic database and building SIG-specific portal/views. A special SIG-based advisory board could be established to oversee and prioritize this effort. The public has limited, but usable access to Guide after October 1st. Individual and institutional prices are maintained as in the FY'02 budget pending further market research. HQ will commission a second market research study on pricing, including the option of making full access to Guide free to ACM/SIG members. ACM will establish a Portal (Guide, DL., Services) Advisory Board comprising DL experts, key stakeholders (SIGs, Pubs), and key HQ staff to drive the future vision of the Portal.
White advised the SGB to allow ACM to maintain the current model for FY'02, complete additional market research and resolve remaining issues with a small group to include SIG representation, HQ representation and ACM EC representation.
The SGB thanked White for his report. Before moving ahead with discussion, Haramundanis indicated that Rick Snodgrass also had a proposal on how the Portal should be handled. Snodgrass had arranged for Alan Berenbaum to present on his behalf.
9.0 Portal Proposal
In summary the ACM Computing Portal is to be a web-based repository of bibliographic information which, contains information on all papers and books in the computing literature. It will also contain a pointer to the digitized version, if available.
The objectives in developing the portal were to:
- qualitatively increase the effectiveness of scientific research into computing.
- to continue to place ACM as the premier scientific and educational organization for computing
- to increase service of ACM and the SIGs to the scientific community
- to present a concrete illustration of the scope of computer science
- to provide an opportunity for the further fee-based services, to increase ACM revenue.
There are three separate components: the ACM Digital Library, the ACM Guide, and Personal Electronic Community Services (PECS). The proposal the SGB is being asked to consider concerns the funding and availability of the ACM Guide.
The ACM Digital Library consists of PDF files of 80K articles in ACM journals and conferences and some auxiliary content from other publishers. It is subscription based with free access to search and to TOC by registration. Access to conferences is decided on a SIG by SIG basis.
The ACM Guide consists of the collected meta-data on the entire computing corpus, including non-ACM material, author homepages, abstracts, keywords, bibliographies where available and forward and backward citation linking.
The Personal Electronic Community Services (PECS) includes binders, notifications, electronic discussion of material in the DL and other services to be determined. ACM PECS is free to members.
The Digital Library price is currently $99. The pricing for the DL+Guide (DL is no longer available separately) will be phased in starting at $110 and moving to $125. The Guide only will cost $55 for members and $175 for non-members. Snodgrass is concerned that increasing the price of the DL and bundling the Guide will reduce subscribers. Also, some institutions that already have a competing product (Inspec, IEEE Portal) will not subscribe to the Guide and many international institutions cannot afford to subscribe. Snodgrass believes that the net result will be that the Guide will be available to only a small portion of the research community.
The Portal idea first originated in the SGB. The SIGs have a vested interest in making available to the community useful resources and services. The Guide will incur significant expense of over $1M for the next four years for development, maintenance and deployment. The proposal Snodgrass asked the SGB to consider was for the SIGs to finance the Guide, in exchange for making the Guide free to everyone and enabling SIG specific enhancements to it. Snodgrass proposed that each SIG contribute 5% of its FY'00 discretionary fund balance and next year, each SIG contribute 2% of its discretionary fund balance. Those SIGs with less than $50K were to be excluded. The commitment totals $1,057K fully covering the estimated expenses. The SGB can consider helping out SIGs that still have trouble meeting the proposal.
For the funding, ACM will constitute a Portal (Guide) Board. Those SIGs making a significant contribution (>$60K) would have a representative on the board. Other representatives will come from the ACM SIG Governing Board, ACM Council, ACM Publications Board and the ACM Membership Activities Board.
There are some important details that remain to be worked out such as how the free Guide will be maintained after the four years already funded by this proposal. What specifically is included in the free Guide and what is included in the fee-based Electronic Services (PECS) and which previous expenses are covered?
The motion regarding the proposal was made.
There was a suggestion that the DL monies set aside for the SIGs could be put toward this effort. There were some concerns about the future. What will happen after the four years, will the SIGs be asked for additional money? Is this really just a 4-year commitment? There was discussion to table the motion for 6 months so that more analysis could be done on this.
Motion: Move that the SGB accept the proposal that the SIGs finance the development of the Guide, in exchange for making the Guide free to all and enabling SIG-specific enhancements to the Guide.
That the SGB EC constitute a group to work with HQ and the ACM EC to agree on the details.
That the SGB EC respond to requests from individual SIGs, if help is needed in meeting this obligation.
10.0 IFIP Update
John Karat visited the meeting at the request of Bob Akin, IFIP's President. Karat reported that the goal of the International Federation for Information Processing was to strengthen relationships between researchers and industry representatives in the field of information technology. The support shown by the ACM SIG leaders is greatly appreciated. The SIGs advise Alain Chesnais on appointments to each of the technical committees and financially support the individuals to attend meetings.
Karat provided the current list of appointees:
R. Aiken, ACM Representative to IFIP General Assembly
TC 1 - Foundations of Computer Science --- SIGACT, SIGSAM
Dr. David S. Johnson
TC 2 - Software: Theory and Practice --- SIGPLAN, SIGSOFT
Dr. Len Bass
TC 3 - Education --- SIGCSE, SIGCUE
Dr. A. J. Turner
TC 5 - Computer Applications in Technology --- SIGAPP, SIGCOMM, SIGDA, SIGGRAPH
Dr. Michael B. McGrath Dr. Gus J. Olling
TC 6 - Communication Systems --- SIGCOMM, SIGMOBILE
Dr. A. Lyman Chapin
TC7 - System Modelling and Optimization --- SIGSIM
Dr. Irena Lasiecka
TC 8 - Information Systems --- SIGCPR, SIGecom, SIGGROUP, SIGMIS
Dr. Gordon Davis
TC 9 - Relationships Between Computers & Society --- SIGCAPH, SIGCAS
Dr. Ronald E. Anderson
TC 10 - Computer Systems Technology --- SIGARCH, SIGDA, SIGMICRO, SIGMOBILE
Dr. Mateo Valero
TC 11 - Security & Protection in Information Processing Systems --- SIGSAC
Dr. W. H. Ware
TC 12 - Artificial Intelligence --- SIGART, SIGKDD
Dr. Stuart C. Shapiro
TC 13 - Human-Computer Interaction --- SIGCHI, SIGDOC, SIGGROUP, SIGMM
Dr. John Karat
Karat reported that the IFIP World Computer Congress meeting was to be held in August of 2002 in Montreal and encouraged the SIG leaders to attend.
The SGB thanked Karat for attending the meeting and providing a report.
11.0 ACM Office of Policy Update
Jeff Grove, Director of the ACM Policy Office was in attendance. His office is located at the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the Computing Research Association. Its mission is to serve as the ACM liaison to Congress, government agencies, and the science/technology community. The intent is to utilize ACM's significant technical expertise to assist policy-makers in understanding the implications of complex IT policy issues and to inform the ACM membership of relevant public policy activities of interest to the community.
Grove reports to the Office of the Executive Director and works closely with the 75 members of the ACM U.S. Public Policy Committee (USACM). The committee is chaired by Eugene Spafford and Barbara Simons. Peter Neumann and David Notkin represent the SIGs. The policy office collaborates with the ACM Law Committee and the ACM Internet Governance Project. They are seeking opportunities to integrate policy activities to support the work of the SIGs.
The ACM Policy Office has recently been engaged in a number of policy matters. Under the direction of the ACM EC the office has worked to educate the court and Congress regarding the DMCA's chilling effect on research and publication. USACM has advised Congress of the potential consequences of creating new legal database protections and has made a number of recommendations regarding voting technology and standards. USACM has sought revisions to the government's plan to contract-out management of the usTLD and working with others in the computing community, including CRA, has advocated IT funding increases for the National Science Foundation.
Grove provided the SGB with a brief overview of the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) passed by the U.S. Congress in 1998 which outlaws circumvention of technologies that control copying of copyrighted work (no intent to infringe is required). It also outlaws trafficking in "technologies" that are "primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing" technology that controls use of copyrighted material. There are limited exceptions, not of much help in practice.
There has been a legal challenge to the DMCA. A team of researchers led by Princeton University computer scientist Ed Felten have filed suit asking the court to rule portions of the DMCA unconstitutional. Plaintiffs argue that the DMCA's broad prohibitions on disseminating information and technology restrict speech protected by the First Amendment. After careful legal consultation, the ACM-EC decided to submit a Declaration in support of Felten and the other plaintiffs seeking to have the court understand the practical issues at stake, primarily the DMCA's "Chilling Effect on Analysis, Research and Publication".
Because of the DMCA's broad prohibitions, the entertainment industry and publishers can use the Act to regulate analysis and discussion of a copyright protected work . The ACM Declaration points out to the court that computer systems research includes analysis to find strengths/weaknesses of existing systems - something that can be restricted under the DMCA.
DMCA imposes criminal liability on publishers who violate the Act. Since many ACM conferences include papers providing analyses that could subject us to legal risks under the DMCA, the Act poses a continuing problem for the organization. One option is to not publish any papers that might subject us to the Act, but doing so is inconsistent with the mission of ACM and would damage our reputation as a scientific society.
The SGB thanked Grove for his report.
12.0 Program Review - SIGGROUP
Stephen Hayne, current SIGGROUP Chair reported on behalf of SIGGROUP. The newsletter is current and the fund balance is positive. They anticipate no additional financial growth as they pay allocation and contribute to ACM projects. The SIGs current membership is 539 and appears to be stabilizing.
The SIGGROUP research conferences are thriving. The International Conference on Supporting Group Work (GROUP) will be held in Boulder ('01) and had a 31% acceptance rate. The Computer Support Collaborative Work Conference (CSCW) will be held in San Diego in '02 and has a 19% acceptance rate.
Initiatives include a CD-ROM Project (DL) , improvements on their website which will include a citation database (portal) and a "Sandbox" (IBM 3090 Linux Environment) with 3000 Virtual Boxes, 4 Terabytes Storage. They intend to issue student travel grants and make nominations from their community for the ACM Fellowship program.
SIGGROUP was unable to put together a full slate of officers for the Spring election. They do have some potential candidates and Hayne may consider running again so that a full slate can be submitted. The SGB indicated concern about volunteer development based on the number of people that responded negatively to running for office. Hayne too was concerned but believes that SIGGROUP is viable but felt the best solution was to go through the act of defining the direction of the SIG more thoroughly before proceeding with a decision on viability. He suggested that the SGB place SIGGROUP in transition. He will work with the individuals that were willing to run for office on a program plan and have that in place for review by the SGB EC by November. The SGB EC can then make a recommendation on viability at the next SGB meeting.
Motion: Move to place SIGGROUP in transition.
Action: Hayne to work with the individuals that were willing to run for SIGGROUP office on a program plan and have that in place for review by the SGB EC by November.
Action: SGB EC to determine SIGGROUP viability status and make recommendation to SGB at their Spring'02 meeting.
Action: Baglio to place SIGGROUP viability status on Spring '02 SGB agenda.
13.0 SGB EC Recommendations
Klein reported on behalf of the SGB EC. Over 1 year ago the SGB voted to place SIGCUE in transition. During that time a group of volunteer leaders came forward with a general plan to revitalize the SIG. At the SGB meeting in March that group was asked to put together a more specific plan for SGB review and approval. For a variety of reasons that did not happen. Klein thanked John Howland for his efforts and the time and energy he has devoted in trying to put the plan together.
During their meeting on Saturday, August 18th the SGB EC voted to move ahead with dissolution of the SIG. Unless the SGB disagrees, Chesnais will request that ACM Council dissolve SIGCUE during the November Council meeting.
There was no disagreement from Council on the dissolution of SIGCUE.
Action: With the endorsement of the SGB, Chesnais will request the dissolution of SIGCUE at the November Council Meeting.
Klein reminded the SGB that SIGUCCS was placed in transition during the March 2001 meeting. The SIGUCCS leaders had a board meeting and have voted to change status from full service SIG to Conference SIG. Their plan was reviewed and endorsed by the SGB EC.
Motion: Move to endorse a change in status for SIGUCCS from full service to conference only.
13.3 Conducting SIG Elections
The newly elected SIG leaders requested an agenda item on conducting the SIG elections electronically. Klein informed the SGB that this was discussed during the March'01 SGB meeting. Klein summarized the March'01 discussion for those leaders that were not present.
The SGB EC was informed that ACM used an outside firm to administer an electronic election process for the 2000 ACM general election. They experienced problems initially and as each of those problems were addressed the process got smoother. The ACM election return did not increase at all -- there was a total return of 11.48%: 69.51% of the ballots returned were votes cast via paper and 30.49% were cast electronically. Paper ballots and candidates' bios/statements were mailed to all members.
The SGB EC considered the serious issues related to security and auditing. They realized that many ACM members are concerned about online voting. The SGB EC agreed that utilizing an outside firm was most appropriate. The cost if all SIGs chose this would be approximately $75K. Normally the election costs $25K excluding postage. The SGB EC suggested that 2-3 of the larger SIGs do a trial run.
The SGB EC supports any SIG that wishes to utilize an outside firm to run an electronic election. Leaders that are interested should contact Pat Ryan at ACM headquarters.
14.0 Time and Place of Next SGB Meeting
Baglio reported that the SGB EC has provided ACM HQ with direction for holding the Spring SGB meetings. They will be looking to secure proposals for the last weekend in February or the first weekend in March at an airport property in either Dallas or Atlanta. Los Angeles will be considered if there are no options in Dallas or Atlanta.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:35.
- Dave Arnold, MAB Chair and SIGGRAPH Rep.
- Richard Auletta, SIGDA Treasurer
- Donna Baglio, ACM Director of SIG Services
- Alan Berenbaum, SGB EC and SIGARCH Chair
- Ann Brandon, SIGAda Vice Chair
- Robert Brown, SIGAPL Chair
- Currie Colket, SIGAda Chair
- Alain Chesnais, SGB Chair
- Jim Cohoon, SGB EC Publications Liaison
- Rob Corless, SGB EC and SIGSAM Chair
- Gordon Davies, ACM Prof. Development Program
- Marie des Jardins, SIGART Vice Chair
- Susan Dumais, SIGIR Chair
- Derek Eager, SIGMETRICS Chair
- Kemal Ebcioglu, SIGMICRO Chair
- Carla Ellis, SGB Past Chair
- Jennifer Fajman, SIGUCCS Chair
- Stuart Feldman, SGB EC and SIGecom Chair
- Ann Marie Ferrara, ACM Program Director
- Irene Frawley, ACM Program Coordinator
- Derek Eager, SIGMETRICS Chair
- Harold Gabow, SIGACT Chair
- John Goldthwaite, SIGCAPH Chair
- Jeff Grove, ACM Director - Public Policy
- Joachim Hammer, SIGMOD Secretary/Treasurer
- Kathy Haramundanis, SIGDOC Chair
- David Harrison, SIGAda Vice Chair
- Stephen C. Hayne, SIGGROUP Chair
- John E. Howland, SIGCUE Representative
- Ginger Ignatoff, ACM Program Director
- Valerie Issarny, SIGOPS Vice Chair
- Tom Jewett, SIGCAS Chair
- David Johnson, SIGMOBILE Treasurer
- Erica Johnson, ACM Program Director
- Michael Kent, SIGAPL Treasurer
- Bruce Klein, SGB EC Member-at-Large
- David Kotz, SIGOPS Chair
- Joseph Marks, SIGART Chair
- Keith Miller, SIGCAS Vice Chair
- Maritza Nichols, ACM SIG Services
- Fred Niederman, SIGCPR Chair
- Tamer Ozsu, SIGMOD Chair
- Craig Partridge, SIGCOMM Chair
- B. David Saunders, SIGSAM Treasurer
- Leslie Shade, SIGCAS NL Editor
- Lynne Shaw, SIGAPL Vice Chair
- David Siegel, SIGAPL Past Chair
- Alexander Skomorokhov, SIGAPL M-a-L
- Mary Lou Soffa, SGB EC and SIGPLAN Rep.
- Marilyn Tremaine, SIGCHI Chair
- Emil Volcheck, SIGSAM Secretary
- Henry Walker, SIGCSE Chair
- Robert Walker, SIGDA Chair
- John White, ACM CEO
- Alex Wolf, SIGSOFT Chair
- Marianne Winslett, SIGMOD Vice Chair