ACM SIGSOFT Elections 2018

Thomas Zimmermann

Tom Zimmermann

I’m excited to run for SIGSOFT Chair. This is both an important privilege and responsibility that I will take very seriously. If elected, my goal is to transform SIGSOFT into an open, transparent organization that continuously listens to and involves its members in important decision making. My first priority is, and always will be, the members of SIGSOFT.

I will focus on creating an inclusive, diverse, and supportive environment that helps EVERYONE involved in software engineering to achieve their goals and that allows us as a community to advance the role of software and science in society. I will make SIGSOFT more attractive to members from industry to help increase the impact of software engineering research in practice and to encourage more industry-academia collaborations. I will lead a dialog to modernize and reduce the overhead of publication and review processes, for example by expanding journal first and open access programs and by providing support for virtual PC meetings. With my background in organizing conferences (general chair, program chair, finance chair, social media) and running journals (Editor-in-Chief, associate editor), being SIGSOFT Chair would allow me to make these changes happen.

If you were an active SIGSOFT member on 16 April, 2018, you can now vote (click Ready to Vote). You will need (1) the email address associated with your ACM/SIG member record and (2) the 10-digit unique pin that was sent to you by email from Election Services Corporation (acmsighelp AT electionservicescorp DOT com). The deadline for submitting your vote is 16:00 UTC, 8 June 2018.

SIGSOFT should be an open and transparent organization

Being open and transparent is important for the success of SIGSOFT. One of the best examples of openness I’ve seen is the work that Diomidis Spinellis did with IEEE Software (see Recruiting a Star Team). Through an open call that was distributed through SEWorld and social media, he recruited over 100 volunteers and assembled several initiative teams to drive critical issues. If elected, I will follow a similar process. The SIGSOFT Executive Committee can achieve only so much, but with your help we can achieve much more.

I will involve SIGSOFT members more actively in key decisions of the Executive Committee. Currently the main feedback channel is through Town Halls at the major SIGSOFT sponsored conferences; however, Town Halls are infrequent, costly, and exclusive—not every SIGSOFT member is able to attend. One way I will address this is by making more effectively use of social media to inform decision making. For the MSR conference, we’ve used surveys to get a pulse of the community on key issues, which I plan to use for SIGSOFT as well. In addition, I plan to directly include the organizers of all SIGSOFT-sponsored conferences in discussions on how to improve SIGSOFT conferences.

I will focus on the transparency of the SIGSOFT executive committee because SIGSOFT members deserve to know what initiatives the Executive Committee discusses. For example, I plan to make meetings notes publicly available and the SIGSOFT annual reports easier to discover. I will also disclose any subcommittees and its members (e.g., SIGSOFT awards, task forces, etc.).

We need to modernize publication and review processes

It has been great to see the adoption of double blind review and journal first at many conferences over the past few years and the positive response of the community. As conferences adopt these initiatives, it will be important for SIGSOFT to establish guidelines and best practices on how to run double blind review and journal first programs efficiently. I expect that over the next few years more conferences will switch from physical to virtual PC meetings and SIGSOFT should provide some support for this transition.

If elected, I will further modernize the publication processes of SIGSOFT conferences. Here my main priority is on open access publications because this will increase the impact of our work (see below). I will also push towards a Proceedings of the ACM journal for software engineering because in several countries conference papers still are not seen as prestigious as journal papers. In response to that, many SIGS (for example, SIGPLAN and SIGCHI) have adopted the Proceedings of the ACM format for their conferences and it’s something we should explore for fully SIGSOFT sponsored conferences as well. Other issues I’m considering are task forces for improving review quality and helping to find qualified reviewers for conferences and journals.

It will be important for SIGSOFT to better understand the entire ecosystem of software engineering conferences, including the conferences sponsored by IEEE or other societies. There have been great efforts in this space over the past years, for example the work by Bogdan Vasilescu and colleagues on “How healthy are software engineering conferences?“, or the papers presented in the Community Introspection session at ICSE 2017. Introspection contributes to a culture that rewards excellent science and supports a robust professional community. If elected, I will establish a task force on data-driven introspection to make recommendations on how to improve software engineering conferences, e.g., how to optimize the conference calendar, improve review processes, or prioritize spending for open access. I have significant experience with analyzing data from software engineering conferences, for example I served as Data Chair for ICSE 2017 and 2018.

We should make gold open access a priority for SIGSOFT

Open access is important because it increases the impact and reach of our community if papers are freely available to everyone. If elected as SIGSOFT chair, I will make gold open access a priority for SIGSOFT sponsored conferences. Gold open access means that entire journals and conference proceedings are completely accessible to the public without requiring paid subscriptions (as opposed to green open access which allows the author to self-archive a copy of the paper; for more information on open access, see this excellent FAQ by Arie van Deursen). SIGPLAN recently sponsored gold open access publications for its publications, why should SIGSOFT not be able to do the same?

I’m confident that we can achieve gold open access without increasing registration cost for attendees or mandatory extra fees. One idea is to have SIGSOFT reinvest past conference profits into open access initiatives. The cost of making all accepted papers open access is $400 per paper for a conference. As an example, SIGSOFT made profits of $55.5K from FSE 2016, enough that SIGSOFT could pay for gold open access for two years of future ESEC/FSE conferences. Another idea is to introduce a CAPS program to support open access publications. We may not be able to make every paper open access (e.g., workshop papers, or conferences co-sponsored with IEEE), but I’m confident that we can make the majority of papers published by SIGSOFT open access at little or no extra cost for the community.

We need to control the registration fees of conferences

If elected, I will work towards lowering the registration fees of conferences. I have significant experience with conference budgets through my role as Finance Chair for ICSE 2013 and 2019, and General Chair for FSE 2016 and ASE 2019. There are several ways that conference organizers can reduce registration fees, for example by choosing locations with tax benefits, lowering the food and beverage cost (without sacrificing quality), and virtual PC meetings.

Another aspect to explore is co-location of conferences, something that ECOOP and ISSTA are doing this year. If done right, co-location has several advantages: better deals with the venues, reduced travel cost and carbon footprint for attendees, and better network opportunities for attendees.

Summary

The software engineering community in recent years has begun exploring and making changes in an effort to improve the community, which has led to positive innovations such as the use of double blind reviewing and the journal first initiative. I plan to continue and even accelerate this trend. By making SIGSOFT activities transparent and open, we can be more inclusive of existing and new SIGSOFT members. By modernizing publication and review processes, we can increase fairness and make our work available to the broadest audience. By using data-driven introspective , we can make empirically backed decisions. And by controlling costs and potentially co-locating events, we can reduce the barriers to networking, visibility, and the many benefits of conference attendance.

Thanks for reading! Please vote for me for ACM SIGSOFT Chair.

BIOGRAPHY

Academic Background

Ph.D., Saarland University, Germany, 2008, Computer Science.

Professional Experience:

Senior Researcher, Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA, United States, 2008 – Present;
Affiliate Professor, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States, 2011 – Present;
Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada, 2008 – Present;
Assistant Professor, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada, 2007 – 2008.

Professional Interest:

Empirical Software Engineering; Mining Software Repositories; Data Science, Software Productivity; Digital Games; Recommender Systems;

ACM Activities – General Chair:

General Chair, IEEE/ACM Intl. Conf. on Automated Software Engineering (ASE), 2019;
General Chair, ACM Intl. Conf. on Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE), 2016;
General Chair, IEEE/ACM Working Conf. on Mining Software Repositories (MSR), 2013;

ACM Activities – Program Chair:

Program Co-Chair, ACM Joint European Software Engineering Conference and Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (ESEC/FSE), 2020;
SEIP Co-Chair, IEEE/ACM Intl. Conf. on Software Engineering (ICSE), Software Engineering in Practice Track, 2015;
Program Co-Chair, IEEE/ACM Working Conf. on Mining Software Repositories (MSR), 2011;
Program Co-Chair, IEEE/ACM Working Conf. on Mining Software Repositories (MSR), 2010;

ACM Activities – Other:

Finance Chair, IEEE/ACM Intl. Conf. on Software Engineering (ICSE), Software Engineering in Practice Track, 2019;
Finance Chair, IEEE/ACM Intl. Conf. on Software Engineering (ICSE), Software Engineering in Practice Track, 2013;

Membership and Offices in Related Organizations:

Co-Editor-in Chief, Empirical Software Engineering, 2014-Present;
Program Co-Chair, IEEE Intl. Conf. on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME), China, 2017;
Member, ICSE Task Force on Journal First, 2015 – Present.

Steering Committees:

Steering Committee Chair, Intl Conf. on Mining Software Repositories (MSR), 2014 – Present;
Steering Committee Member, IEEE Intl. Conf. on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME), 2017 – Present;
Steering Committee Member, ACM Joint European Software Engineering Conference and Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (ESEC/FSE), 2017 – Present.

Awards Received:

ICSE Most Influential Paper Award, 2014;
MSR Most Influential Paper Award, 2017, 2015, 2014;
ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award at ESEC/FSE 2015, ICSE 2014, FSE 2012, FSE 2008, ICSE 2007;
Best Paper Honorable Mention Award at CHI 2013;
ACM Distinguished Member, 2017.

HOW TO VOTE

If you were an active SIGSOFT member on 16 April, 2018, you can now vote (click Ready to Vote). You will need (1) the email address associated with your ACM/SIG member record and (2) the 10-digit unique pin that was sent to you by email from Election Services Corporation (acmsighelp AT electionservicescorp DOT com). The deadline for submitting your vote is 16:00 UTC, 8 June 2018.