Guidelines for Running a SIGSOFT-Sponsored Meeting

The SIGSOFT Executive Committee is available to provide advice and counseling to event organizers. In general, we are happy to establish continuing relationships with organizers of regularly held events.

To help ensure that SIGSOFT events will be of high quality, the following guidelines have been adopted by the SIGSOFT Executive Committee and reflect what are considered to be best practices. The Executive Committee realizes that for certain events, alternative procedures may be warranted. In such cases the Meeting General Chair or Program Chair should contact the SIGSOFT Vice Chair and explain the desired change. Alternative procedures will be approved if the Executive Committee is reasonably assured that they will not adversely affect the quality of the event.

Orientation Session: The SIG Services staff has developed a conference orientation program which will be made available via conference call. These events will be scheduled for the last Thursday of each month at 3:00 pm EST and are expected to last 60-90 minutes. There will be both a web and call-in component and participants will need to have access to both during the meeting.

Individuals interested can register to participate here. There is a 15 person maximum for each workshop. Should the response be overwhelming, we are prepared to hold them more frequently.

Budget: The event's budget as presented in its TMRF must satisfy ACM guidelines. SIGSOFT expects all sponsored events to make a small profit and expects the General Chair to budget accordingly.

ACM guidelines recommend including a Contingency of 15% in the expense side of the TMRF to compensate for the risks inherent in running a meeting. However, SIGSOFT recognizes that different meetings entail different levels of risk, depending on the maturity and recent health of the meeting series, and on the extent to which the General Chair respects the budgeting and organizational norms of their meeting series and takes care to avoid common risk factors. Therefore, SIGSOFT will provide flexibility to General Chairs on the level of Contingency required in a TMRF and may approve lower Contingencies. General Chairs should consult with the SIGSOFT Vice Chair about the Contingency prior to submitting their TMRF for approval.

Common risk factors include (1) organizing a new meeting that is not part of an established series, (2) estimating dramatic increases in attendance over previous years, (3) organizing large tutorial programmes, (4) locating the meeting in an exotic location or one that is difficult to travel to, (5) setting exceptionally high registration fees, (6) setting student registration fees that are not substantially discounted with respect to non-student fees, (7) publishing a paper proceedings, and (8) sending proceedings to attendees in a separate mailing. General Chairs must recognize that having obtained a lower Contingency places an extra burden on them to ensure the success of their meeting, since this will be taken into consideration when setting the Contingency in future years of their meeting series.

General Chair: The General Chair is responsible for the overall success of the meeting. The General Chair must assure that the budget, local arrangements, publicity, and technical program are being appropriately managed even when these tasks have been delegated to other individuals. The General Chair is responsible for obtaining ACM and SIGSOFT approvals, filing the TMRF, and attending an ACM-sponsored workshop on conference management or delegating another individual from the organizing committee of the event to attend such a workshop.

The General Chair should be highly respected for work in the subject area of the event and should have considerable previous organizational experience.

Program Chair: The Program Chair is responsible for the technical program of the event. The Program Chair invites individuals to serve on the program committee and is responsible for assuring that the program committee is balanced in terms of expertise, nationality, affiliation, race, and gender. The Program Chair sets the procedures for reviewing and accepting submissions. The Program Chair distributes the submissions for review, arranges the program committee deliberations, and sends out notification of acceptance and rejection of submissions.

The Program Chair is responsible for enforcing the SIGSOFT Policy on Conduct of Program Committees.

The Program Chair should be a recognized expert in the subject area of the event and should have considerable previous program committee experience. If the event has been occurring regularly, one would expect that the Program Chair would have published regularly at previous instances of the event.

ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Awards: ACM SIGSOFT encourages SIGSOFT-sponsored meetings to designate a small number of accepted papers for ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Awards for the meeting. The number of awards that can be made is dependent on the number of papers accepted; the specific rules are described here.

Special Issues of Journals: SIGSOFT has negotiated a regular schedule of special issues for the best papers from ICSE, ESEC, FSE and ISSTA. Organizers of these conferences should contact the appropriate editor-in-chief well in advance of the conference (with the conference paper submission deadline being a good point at which to initiate the process). The schedule is as follows:

  • ICSE: The special issue is published in ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology (ACM TOSEM) for ICSEs from even-numbered years and IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering (IEEE TSE) for ICSEs from odd-numbered years.
  • ESEC and FSE: The special issue is published in ACM TOSEM for FSEs from even-numbered years and IEEE TSE for ESEC/FSEs from odd-numbered years (ESEC/FSE).
  • ISSTA: The special issue is published in IEEE TSE for ISSTAs from even-numbered years and ACM TOSEM for ISSTAs from odd-numbered years.

Notification of Publication Dates: Authors occasionally submit work for publication that describes intellectual property for which patent protection is being applied or may eventually be applied. Because patent authorities have strict rules regarding the public disclosure of intellectual property, it is therefore important that organizers of SIGSOFT-sponsored meetings make their authors aware of the official publication date of the proceedings for the meeting. For SIGSOFT-sponsored meetings, the official date of publication is one week before the start date of the meeting (which is when the proceedings are made available in the ACM Digital Library). Organizers must disclose this to authors in a statement in their Call for Papers and in their emails to authors of accepted papers. In addition, an email should be sent to all attendees of the meeting one week before the start date announcing the availability of the proceedings in the ACM Digital Library.

Surveys of Attendees: Feedback from surveys of past meetings can be extremely useful in organizing a successful meeting, and organizers of SIGSOFT-sponsored meetings are strongly encouraged to utilize past surveys and to take surveys at the end of their own meeting. This can be handled as follows:

  1. Obtain survey results from organizers of recent prior meetings; if necessary, SIGSOFT can provide help in identifying appropriate contacts from past meetings
  2. Current organizers should have attendees fill in a survey similar to this one: [MS-Word] or [PDF]
  3. Current organizers should forward the results of their survey to SIGSOFT immediately after the conclusion of their meeting and should archive the results for forwarding to future conference organizers.