As I write this, I'm reflecting on the fall SIG Governing Board
meeting, from which I just returned.
An important part of these meeting are the SIG viability
assessments. Each SIG is evaluated every four years. With 36 SIGs, and
two SGB meetings a year, four to eight SIGs are evaluated each
meeting. Some SIGs are moved to transitional status, some are moved
back to viable status, and occasionally, one is decommissioned, as
It was SIGMOD's turn this meeting. The self-assessment appears in the
Reports section of this issue. In addition, the SGB Executive
Committee does its own assessment. As you might expect, the SGB gave
our SIG an enthusiastic thumbs up.
SIGKDD as a new SIG has been on provisional status for the first two
years of its existence. Won Kim, the SIGKDD chair, reported on the
strong growth of this SIG and its conference, and the SGB was
unanimous in converting SIGKDD to viable status.
When SIGKDD was proposed, many within the database community felt that
it represented a threat to SIGMOD's existence, fearing that many
members would flock to SIGKDD. Others argued that SIGMOD has an
identity that, yes, intersected with SIGKDD's proposed charter, but
also was distinct from the topics that SIGKDD focuses on.
This conflict was echoed at the meeting, not between SIGMOD and
SIGKDD, but between two other SIGs with overlapping interests. It was
revealed that these two SIGs had frequent fracases; their interaction
was characterized as ``frosty''. Each viewed the other as impinging on
SIGMOD had 2,257 members in December, 1999, when SIGKDD came into
being. The most recent membership figures show that SIGMOD now has
3,112 members, and SIGKDD now has 1,315 members. SIGMOD is growing
faster than any other mature SIG, and SIGKDD is growing faster than
any other SIG (and in fact is now larger than 24 SIGs, putting it in
the top third of all SIGs). (As a footnote, total SIG membership grew
this last year for the first time since such records were kept, over
the last eleven years; SIGKDD and SIGMOD provided most of that
growth.) My guess is that most SIGKDD members are also SIGMOD
members, indicating that people find both organizations to be
This experience, as well as that of the SIGMOD Anthology
and DiSC, w hich have benefited greatly from
contributions from other societies, indicate that cooperation helps
all, that SIGMOD has nothing to fear by supporting and nurturing other
organizations, and indeed, that by being a good societal citizen,
SIGMOD has much to gain.
On another topic, some people claim that in fast moving fields like
computer science, conferences are often more important than
journals. I've even heard database people state that ``journals are
Summarizing a citation analysis of database literature, considering
over 100,000 citations, the web page
lists the top-cited papers and books.
This data tells me that while conferences are indeed very important, the
really lasting results are more likely to be found in journals.
- 30 ACM TODS papers appear on this list;
- 31 papers were from all other journals combined; the largest was
ACM Computing Surveys, with 11 papers;
- 21 SIGMOD conference papers; and
- 17 papers were from all other conferences combined; the largest was
the VLDB conference, with 6 papers.
As another measure, of the top ten papers, eight are from journals
(again, mostly TODS) and two are from conferences (both
Just some food for thought.
| Rick Snodgrass|
| October, 2000|