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Financial and Coordination Policies for IEEE VIS

I. Events held in conjunction with IEEE VIS

Individuals who plan and/or have been approved to organize an event in conjunction with the IEEE VIS conference need to have a clear understanding of the IEEE and VIS policies, financial responsibilities, and the expectations from VIS.

The IEEE makes a distinction between symposia and workshops based on both size and publication policy. Symposia are expected to have at least 100 attendees, and are required to publish proceedings. Thus, events without proceedings cannot be called a symposium, no matter how large they are. As part of the pre-approval process, the VEC (VIS Executive Committee) will determine whether an event is eligible to be a symposium or a workshop. Also, note the correct wording is that events are being held “in conjunction with” VIS; the wording of “co-located event” can not be used as it has a specific technical meaning within IEEE (co-located events have their own budgets completely separate from the VIS finances).

In the past, VIS has distinguished between symposia and workshops in terms of both expectations and benefits, but these lines have become blurred as quite large and high-profile events are not necessarily symposia. Going forward, VIS will have uniform expectations and benefits for all large pre-approved events regardless of their designation.

Pre-approved events are treated differently than events accepted through the standard Call For Proposals (CFP) process. Pre-approved events are typically much larger in scope, with requests typically due and approved at the previous VIS one full year in advance, allowing them to be publicized widely with continuity across the years. Events accepted through the CFP process (workshops) typically have a smaller scope and a shorter timeline. Organizers of these events cannot announce anything until they have been accepted (previously May 30, moved earlier to March 6 in 2017).

IEEE VIS is run through an enormous amount of volunteer labor from the organizers. The financial costs of VIS are also large: total expenses have increased from around $500K in 2010 to over $650K in 2015. Major categories of expenses include venue space, food and beverage, audio-visual (AV) equipment and personnel, local arrangements and conference management support, publications, submissions systems (PCS), and the IEEE Administrative Services Fee (currently 20%, ~$150K in 2015). The two major sources of income are registration fees from attendees and funds raised from supporters; in 2015 these were around $650K and $100K respectively.

Historically, some pre-approved events have contributed towards fundraising goals by soliciting supporters directly and have succeeded at levels ranging from $5K to $15K; others have raised more modest amounts in the $1K to $2K range; others have not done any fundraising at all. There are different ways to think about the organizational and financial relationship between pre-approved events and VIS.

One way of thinking is that pre-approved events are massively subsidized by the main conference, piggybacking on the organizational efforts of many others; in return for this enormous benefit they should step up to bear some of the burden of raising supporter funds. Moreover, these events can and should reach out to new audiences beyond the historical set of attendees, and thus bring new registrants and new supporter companies to the table.

Another way of thinking is that VIS is an umbrella conference of many pieces. We long ago decided that it would be divisive and unwise to have InfoVis, SciVis, and VAST all fighting for credit on who has raised what money; in many cases, individual people - and specific companies - have strong interests in more than one of these. Instead, we think of the fundraising effort as centralized, and we think of those three conferences as the sources of curated content that is what brings people to VIS. We might also consider pre-approved events in this same light. They curate content; people register to see and provide this content; the success of pre-approved events directly contributes to the bottom line with higher registration numbers. There is very substantial overlap between the organizers and attendees of these events with each other and with the main conference. Moreover, VIS long ago deliberately chose a registration model of an all-access passport where attendees can freely move between all tracks rather than separate charges for individual pre-approved events, so there is no way to directly tie registration income to specific events.

The model proposed in this document is a middle ground between centralization and autonomy: there is a fully subsidized baseline budget for pre-approved events that supports bare-bones operations (a single invited keynote speaker), and some events are happy to continue in this mode. Event organizers who want a more deluxe experience for attendees - for instance, multiple invited speakers at the event itself, or better food and drink at the opening reception for everybody, or open-access publication fees covered by the event rather than the authors - would be responsible for fundraising to cover those additional costs. Another motivation for fundraising beyond the specific needs of the event would be to help VIS overall, possibly in the context of aspirations to bump up from one event type to another, as partial evidence for the size of the audience and the health and vitality of the venue (for example, from workshop to symposium, or from a pre-approved event to a main track).

II. Benefits for all events affiliated with IEEE VIS

All affiliated events, regardless of their size, popularity, or process followed to obtain approval (i.e. pre-approved symposia and workshops, or workshops accepted through the CFP process), have the following base level support:

  • Space: Dedicated conference room for the event
  • AV: Equipment (video projectors, microphones) and staff support during the duration of the event.
  • Food & Beverage: Coffee breaks throughout the day and social events in the evenings (Sunday evening opening reception)
  • Publications: Event proceedings can be submitted for consideration to the IEEE Xplore digital library if desired. Event materials included on the USB proceedings memory stick if ready in time for publication deadlines. Event will be listed in the paper program. Attendees receive paper program and USB memory stick.
  • Finance: VIS Conference Finance Chairs will manage their finances and file the IEEE TMRF (Technical Meeting Request Form) paperwork.
  • Publicity: VIS Publicity Chairs advertise the event

III. Expectations and benefits for pre-approved VIS events

  • Definitions
    • Pre-approved events may be symposia or workshops, which occur Sunday and Monday.
    • There are 8 parallel tracks per day over these 2 days, for a total of 16 full-day slots. A maximum of 6 of these slots can be pre-approved events decided by the VEC. The other 10 full-day slots (frequently allocated as 20 half-day slots) are decided through the standard CFP process by the workshops and tutorials chairs.
  • Benefits:
    • Room size: Assigned to a large room with suitable AV equipment
    • Publications: Materials included on USB drive given out to conference attendees, if desired and if provided before submission deadline. Proceedings can be submitted to IEEE Xplore digital library if their publication is desired, organizers must work with Publications Chair and IEEE to request (see Section VII below).
    • Submissions: Precision Conference System (PCS) support for the event covered within the VIS budget
    • Posters: Requests allow up to 16 posters without additional fundraising expectations if requests are made before the deadline (date TBD for 2017); poster requests are adjudicated by the general and program chairs, as the available space depends on the specifics of the venues in addition to the cost of poster boards themselves.
    • Registration: Provided with 1 complimentary full week registration or the equivalent in single day registrations ($1,000 value) for invited speakers without additional fundraising expectations.
    • Invited Speaker Travel: A maximum of $1,500 in travel reimbursement or honoraria payment for invited speakers without additional fundraising expectations.
  • Expectations
    • If proceedings are created, they must be published through the IEEE (unless grandfathered policy exemption exists).
    • If organizers would like to incur additional expenses (for additional invited speakers, or awards, or better food/drink at the reception, or open-access publication costs), organizers must raise enough funds to cover these plus 30%: the 20% IEEE overhead that VIS is charged and 10% that would help defray general costs for VIS. In-kind awards (graphics cards, journal subscriptions, book gift certificates) are not charged the 20% IEEE overhead or the 10% VIS overhead; they are counted towards supporters benefit levels. Assistance with managing, tracking, and processing reimbursements for these additional expenses will be provided.
    • Customization of these benefits and options in special circumstances would be at the discretion of the general chair.

IV. Expectations and benefits for standard VIS workshops

  • Definitions
    • Standard workshops are accepted through the normal CFP process. (Symposia must be pre-approved, and are not handled through this process.)
  • Expectations
    • Standard workshops are not expected to bring in financial support
    • If proceedings are created, they must be published through the IEEE.
  • Benefits:
    • Room size: Assigned to a smaller room, under 100 people.
    • Publications: Materials included on USB drive given out to conference attendees, if desired and if provided before submission deadline. Proceedings can be submitted to IEEE Xplore digital library if their publication is desired, organizers must work with Publications Chair and IEEE to request (see Section VII below).
    • Submissions: Precision Conference System (PCS) support for the event covered within the VIS budget, if requested in proposal
    • Posters: Access to the limited pool set aside for standard workshops by request; workshops should indicate their poster plan in their initial submitted proposal. Poster requests are adjudicated by the general and program chairs, as the available space depends on the specifics of the venues in addition to the cost of poster boards themselves. Late requests receive lower priority than requests at the proposal stage.
    • Registration: Provided with 1 complimentary one-day registration or equivalent ($350 value) for invited speakers.
    • Invited Speaker Travel: Not covered
  • Additional options
    • If additional event-related expenses are desired (for additional invited speakers or their travel, a large number of posters, special requests, etc), organizers must raise funds to cover these expenses - including the 20% IEEE overhead that VIS is charged and 10% towards defraying the general costs of VIS. Assistance with managing, tracking, and processing reimbursements for these additional expenses will be provided.
    • Customization of these benefits and options in special circumstances would be at the discretion of the general chair.

V. Registration policies

  • Keynote and Capstone speakers for VIS get a full-week complimentary registration (Invited Speaker Full-Week rate).
  • Paper and Poster presenters in any venue may register at the Full-Week Speaker rate.
  • Panelist presenters in any venue may register at the Full-Week Speaker rate.
  • Panel Chairs may request a 1-day complimentary registration for any panelist by emailing a request to the general chair and the finance chairs (finance@ieeevis.org). Typically, priority is given to speakers from outside the VIS community. Upon approval, finance chairs will provide code to panel chairs for distribution.
  • Pre-approved Event Chairs (Workshop and Symposium) should work with the general and finance chairs well in advance to ensure clear expectations on the number of invited speakers and fundraising. For the later logistics, they may request 1-day or 2-day complimentary registrations to invited speakers by providing name, registration type, and date offered by email to the general chairs and finance@ieeevis.org. Finance chairs will provide codes to chairs for distribution.
  • Standard workshop organizers may request one 1-day complimentary registration to an invited speaker by providing name, registration type, and date offered by email to the general chairs, finance@ieeevis.org, and workshops chairs. Finance chairs will provide codes to chairs for distribution.
  • Tutorial Chairs may request two full-week complimentary registrations per tutorial. Name, registration type, and date offered should be emailed to the general chairs and finance@ieeevis.org. Finance chairs will provide codes to chairs for distribution.
  • Art Show exhibitors can register at the Full-Week Speaker rate.
  • Art Program Chairs may request up to three complimentary full-week registrations (Invited Speaker Full-Week rate) by emailing a request to the general chairs and finance@ieeevis.org. Upon approval, finance chairs will provide code to program chairs for distribution.
  • Contest Chairs may request a full-week complimentary registration (Invited Speaker Full-Week rate) for contest winners. Limit of one per contest.
  • Conference Committee, Executive Committee, VAST/InfoVis/SciVis Steering Committees, and VGTC Directors can register at the Organizing Committee rate.

VI. How to raise funds: Events and tracks

The IEEE VIS supporter committee is typically responsible for contacting potential supporters whose funds help underwrite the cost of the conference. Supporters are given benefits and the opportunity to exhibit at the conference.

In the past event organizers often contacted potential supporters on their own and did not coordinate with the supporters chairs until the support was secured to finalize it. With the increased number of events such as symposiums and workshops, and other sub-events and tracks seeking to raise funds (including VISKids), as well as the VGTC itself, it is important that there now be a coordinated effort when approaching potential supporters.

As part of the fund raising efforts we would like to institute guidelines for all event organizers who have any interests in raising money, to avoid stepping on each others’ toes and also to maximize the opportunity for fundraising.

Any event organizer who plans to raise funds, including organizers of VIS events (pre-approved symposia or workshops, or workshops accepted via CFPs) and chairs of tracks with fundraising aspirations (VISKids, Art Show, Vis in Practice, Doctoral Colloquium), and any peripheral events associated with the conference should discuss their fundraising goals with the general, finance, and supporters chairs early on. Organizers should coordinate with the supporters chairs before contacting people within companies who are potential supporters. Symposia or track chairs are invited and encouraged to make their own contacts with people at specific companies directly as long as there is coordination with the supporters chairs. The supporters committee maintains a spreadsheet of all contacts with potential supporters. Specifically, organizers should coordinate with the supporters chairs before contacting anybody at all, so that it’s clear whether the company is being contacted for the very first time or has already been contacted before for this year. This coordination should result in a clear understanding for whether the next step of asking for support will be handled by the event organizer or the supporter chairs; either is a possibility. Note that the supporters chairs typically contact the large list of previous supporters quite early on, so event organizers cannot assume that they are first just because it is early in the year. Multiple rounds of contacts are also fine, again as long as there’s adequate coordination of what happened on previous rounds. Once an event supporter has been confirmed an email should be sent to the supporters chairs and the supporter so details on registration, exhibiting, etc can be coordinated. Confirmed event supporters will be included with all other supporters and given the same opportunities to exhibit, be recognized, and so on. Externally, the outside world will not know which event was supported. Internally, the supporter will specify which of the events they are supporting, as we track what “counts” towards the goals for each event. If no specific event is specified, the support counts towards the conference in general. Some events have been historically supported by specific supporters; any initial fundraising requests from the supporters chairs should mention that history explicitly in the initial ask so that the full support is not automatically shunted to the general conference. A single company might choose to support multiple events (for example, specific symposia or workshops in addition to the general conference) - they can simply specify how they are allocating their support across the set of possibilities. A company that has already promised support to one event might add further support after being contacted by a second group; the only constraint is that we should make sure that all of these contacts are properly coordinated. As there is continual turnover with supporters chairs, pre-approved events organizers, and within companies, it would be wise for pre-approved events to keep their own records of past financial support and forward those records to the supporters chairs each year, to make sure that this history is well understood by everybody involved and everybody is clear on which supporters should be asked about which specific funding opportunities; moreover, agreements should be tracked internally because the person responsible for executing the funding support within the company is often different from the person making the decision and is often not aware of these details. People associated with fundraising for an event might include both front-line organizers and steering committee members for pre-approved events, so all of these people should be contacted about these new guidelines.

VII. IEEE Expectations

Some events must fill out the IEEE conference application form in order to have an internal id number that is used by the IEEE in order to handle publications (it is used to generate an ISBN number) and to publicize the events. It is mandatory for all events that will have publications, so all symposia definitely must do this. Workshops that plan to have publications distributed through Xplore digital library should also do this. Workshops that are not pre-approved and do not want publications in the digital library do not need to do this. Organizers will be given guidance by the general chair, finance, and publication chairs about whether this form is required in their case. This form is at http://www.ieee.org/conferences_events/conferences/organizers/conf_app.html.

All event organizers are encouraged to become familiar with the policies, timelines, and documentations that IEEE and IEEE Computer Society has in place for running an IEEE conference. Note not all of the policies apply to events that are organized within an approved IEEE conference, but it might be helpful for organizers to understand the process IEEE VIS follows and must adhere to, and the vocabulary that IEEE uses. https://www.computer.org/web/tandc/technical-meeting-handbook http://www.ieee.org/conferences_events/conferences/organizers

VIII. Change Log

  • 26 Sep 2017: Converted to markdown and posted to web.
  • 6 Jan 2017: Updates for 2017, including moving workshop proposal notification date up to March, PCS support for all by request, and IEEE-only proceedings policy (unless grandfathered exemptions exist).
  • 27 Dec 2016: Minor edits from Allen Sanderson
  • 29 Jun 2016: Base document approved by VIS Executive Committee