ISBA Program Committee
Report approved by ISBA
Board of Directors:
April, 1997; Revised draft: May 1, 1997
The Program Committee met in Capetown, South Africa, on December 1996.
Present were Stephen Fienberg representing the ISBA Executive Committee,
John Geweke, and Alicia Carriquiry. The main topics on the agenda
ISBA's upcoming meeting schedule in the short, medium, and long terms,
and, more importantly, an operational procedure for
establishing meeting schedules in the future. This report is an
outgrowth of that meeting and subsequent correspondence among the
members of the Program Committee.
ISBA sponsors or co-sponsors three types of meetings: (1) World
meetings; (2) regional meetings; and (3) meetings primarily sponsored by
other societies and co-sponsored by ISBA.
- Timing: Since 1993, ISBA has had four World
meetings (San Francisco, Valencia, Oaxaca, Capetown) and will hold its
fifth World Meeting in Istanbul, next August 1997. Dwindling numbers
of participants, together with an increase in the number of statistical
meetings in general, suggest a reduction
in the frequency of World meetings. In
the Program Committee recommends that World meetings be held every three
or even four years, starting the new cycle with the VI World Meeting in
the year 2000.
Recommendation 1: That ISBA hold World meetings every
A four-year cycle would allow ISBA and Valencia
meetings to alternate, providing one major Bayesian meeting every other year.
The ISBA World meetings would then ``stand
alone'' rather than be merely a ``satellite'' to
conference, as it has been so often in the past. ISBA World
meetings have almost always been
held in conjunction with other major meetings, and this has at least two
disadvantages: (1) it diminishes the stature of ISBA's World meetings;
(2) it imposes the burden on ISBA's delegates of having to choose
whether to submit their paper to ISBA's World meeting or to the other
- Venue: Regarding venue, the Committee recommends that
suggestions be requested
from the ISBA membership, subject to the following criteria:
- World meetings should be held in locations easily accessible to a
large proportion of our membership around the world.
- A local organizing committee needs to be in place before we commit
to a venue. This local organizing committee would assume primary
responsibility for the usual organizational tasks. A Conference
Manual modeled after the manual used by the International Biometric
Society will be developed by the Program Committee in time for the
Istanbul meeting. The manual will then be available for distribution to
committees. [Note 1: The IBS Conference Manual is the only manual we are
aware of, and thus was chosen as a model. Note 2: timing is subject to our
obtaining a copy of the IBS
conference manual sometime soon.]
- Ideally, local institutions would provide some funds for the
running of the meeting and other expenses. Thus, the availability of
local funds should be kept in mind when choosing a venue.
Recommendation 2: A. That ISBA's Program Committee solicit
suggestions for future
World meeting venues from the Membership. B. That accessibility and
resources serve as selection criteria.
- Funding: World meetings need to be organized with
ample lead time. One and one-half to two
years would seem the minimum amount of time needed to plan and organize a
meeting of the quality required by ISBA. With enough planning time, it will
be possible to request
funds from institutions and government agencies such as the National
Foundation in the United States, to help
with travel costs of participants, especially those coming from
developing countries. Special emphasis should be placed on raising
enough funds to bring students, young researchers, and researchers from
developing countries to future World meetings. ISBA's Program Chair,
and the meeting organizing and local committees would be primarily
responsible for soliciting funds from the appropriate agencies. As
with the Conference Manual, the Program Committee will prepare a
Proposal Manual to guide future committees raising
funds. The Proposal Manual will include a set of proposals that
been successfully submitted by other conference organizers (not
necessarily associated with ISBA) to a variety of agencies.
Recommendation 3: That funds be raised to
participation of students, young researchers, and members from
developing countries (including Eastern European countries) in ISBA
- Timing and Venue: Regional meetings have been held in
Chicago, as satellite meetings to the Joint Statistical Meetings. We
expect an increase in the number of Regional meetings due mainly to:
The ISBA Program Committee will not be primarily responsible for
scheduling future Regional meetings. Rather, local
organizing committees are expected to submit a request for meeting
to ISBA's Program Committee, with a proposed date and venue for the
meeting. ISBA will then evaluate each request on its own merits and in
relation to other
requests that may have been submitted by other groups. The idea is to
avoid inefficiencies such as sponsorship of different meetings in the
same region at the same time.
- The creation of several ISBA chapters, in India, Chile, and
Africa, which will be holding their own regional meetings. As an example,
the Chile Chapter held its II Seminar on Bayesian Statistics in
Antofagasta, Chile, January 8-10, 1997.
- The decrease in the frequency of ISBA World meetings.
Recommendation 4: That the Program Committee inform
the full membership that a
for meeting is to be submitted to ISBA when organizing Regional
The Executive Board should consider imposing a limitation on the number
of Regional meetings that will be allowed per year.
- Funding: ISBA will not take responsibility for raising money
to finance Regional meetings. However, ISBA should assist organizing
committees by officially endorsing proposals for funds where necessary,
Recommendation 5: That funding for Regional meetings will be
responsibility of the corresponding organizing committees.
ISBA has co-sponsored several meetings in the past. Two recent
examples are the meeting in honor of Seymour Geisser, held in Taiwan in
1994, and the NSF-NBER Econometrics Seminar, Chicago, 1996. We are
already committed to co-sponsoring the MaxEnt Workshop to be held in
Boise, Idaho, in August 1997, and request for co-sponsorships have been
received from the MaxEnt group for their next workshop, and from a
member of the organizing committee for the IV International
Statistics Conference, to be held in 1999.
It is difficult to come up with a set of general rules for
co-sponsorship of meetings. Clearly, issues related to timing and venue
will often be out of our control, and the decision to lend ISBA's name
should be made at each instance, depending on criteria including: (1)
quality and appropriateness; (2) whether the conference theme is of
potential interest to
ISBA membership; (3) timing; (4) who the other co-sponsoring
ISBA should be selective about granting co-sponsorship, and actively
participate in the organization of the meeting and in the meeting itself
once a decision to co-sponsor has been reached by the Board. Ideally,
ISBA members should: (1) participate in the organizing committee of any
meeting ISBA is co-sponsoring, and
(2) be encouraged to present talks at the meeting. To ensure
that ISBA can be an active player in the organization of the meeting, we
will only consider requests for sponsorship received no
later than 10 months to a year prior to the meeting time.
Recommendation 6: That the decision to co-sponsor be
a set of criteria that includes (1) quality and
appropriateness; (2) potential interest to ISBA membership; (3) timing.
ISBA will only consider requests for
sponsorship received no later than 10 months to a year prior to the
meeting time; (4) who the other co-sponsoring organizations are.
Informing our membership:
Once the Program Committee, in consultation with the Executive Board,
finalizes a document that outlines the rules for organizing and
co-sponsoring meetings, the document's content will need to be
summarized for the membership. The Program Committee will be primarily
responsible for writing, for the next issues of the ISBA Newsletter,
articles containing the following information:
- ISBA's new mechanisms for planning World, Regional, and
co-sponsored meetings, including new rules to be followed by those
planning to organize a meeting. Request for meeting sample forms
will also be published.
- Requests for suggestions regarding the World meeting schedule.
We need to solicit suggestions for venues for the year 2000 World
meeting, since planning for that meeting should ideally begin one
year from now.
- A list of upcoming Regional meetings.
- A list of those meetings that ISBA is planning to co-sponsor
in the course of the coming year, to give membership enough time to