# Importance of ACM/IEEE in TCS conference

Recently I was in an ACM supported conference. During the banquet, the conference organizers told us about the future and past of the conference. They told us that during the 2010 edition of the conference there was a loss of 5000$. They showed us the budget of the previous conference where we could see that there were 8000$ (10% of the budget if I remember correctly) given to ACM. Maybe because I am not yet fully in the field (I am starting my PhD in september 2011), I was the only one to ask what was this money given for. The answer I got was really disappointing, apparently the main contributions of the ACM was to print the proceedings and to give advice so the next year there would not be such a loss (apparently the advice given was to raise the entry fees).

I was really surprised, since in order to read the proceedings your university has to pay a subscription to ACM (correct me if I am wrong), I thought ACM (is it the same for IEEE?) had to pay to support the conference.

So my questions are:

1. What does ACM really bring to a conference?
2. Have you heard of other conferences where this is the case?

Related Blog posts: Freedom to Thinker and Matt Blaze's post, apparently the question was already asked.

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what's wrong with arxiv.org ? –  Artem Kaznatcheev Jul 20 '11 at 17:02
I agree that Arxiv is a great thing but there is no peer review hence no "value" on your work. The idea was also to have something equivalent to saying I published in a conference. –  Gopi Jul 20 '11 at 17:07
I think in general, that professional organizations in general make money off of conferences. Certainly all the IEEE conferences (not restricted to just computer science) work this way. I believe that one of the things they do is insure losses, so that if the conference does happen to lose money, it doesn't come out of the organizers' pockets. You are always free to organize your own conference, not sponsored by one of these organizations. Why should ACM members' dues be used to support conferences? –  Peter Shor Jul 20 '11 at 18:37
Not related to the question as currently phrased, but the previous version was asking about the possibility of articles being submitted, reviewed and commented upon publically before publication. A special issue of the International Journal of Quantum Information on distributed quantum computing did just this a while ago on quantalk.org. As an example of this, the open review of an introduction to measurement based computation submitted by myself and Earl Campbell can be found at: quantalk.org/view.php?id1=162&thread=1 –  Joe Fitzsimons Jul 20 '11 at 23:39
@Gopi: For what it's worth, I list arXiv preprints on my CV. It's usually where my newest results will be. –  Joe Fitzsimons Jul 20 '11 at 23:51

One thing ACM brings to a conference is name recognition: if I see that a conference is ACM-sponsored, even if it's one that I haven't heard of before, I can be confident that it's reasonably high quality and well organized, rather than being one of those scam conferences that accepts everything and profits off the registration fees. (I'm less sure of that with IEEE after the Schlangemann scandal.) Of course, there are also good conferences that are not sponsored by these societies. And I wouldn't want to rely on this halo effect for making decisions about tenure or anything important like that — better to solicit opinions from people who know that area better — but it can be useful when deciding where to send a paper.

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Thank you David for this link! From Dr. Schlangemann's paper I learned that "many experts would agree that were it not for the construction of red-black trees, the exploration of context free grammars might never have occured". It's a good day! –  Sasho Nikolov Dec 4 '11 at 2:24