SPS Finances and Value-adding Efforts for Members

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News and Resources for Members of the IEEE Signal Processing Society

SPS Finances and Value-adding Efforts for Members

by Petar Djurić, SPS Vice President - Finance0911portrait_petar

IEEE is the world’s largest professional organization with a wide scope of interest in the electrical, electronics and computing engineering/sciences and related fields. It is a non-profit organization engaged in publishing highly cited archived periodicals, organizing professional meetings, and making technology standards. It is also involved in offering many educational programs aimed at the technical professions in its field of interest. Members of the IEEE get various benefits for their membership including access to essential technical information, networking opportunities, discounts and reduced rates, career development, recognition, and opportunities for volunteering and giving back to society. The members play a pivotal role in the livelihood of the organization not only through paying fees for their membership, purchasing products, and subscribing to publications but also through creating intellectual property for the organization (together with non-members) and volunteering in various regional and technical activities.

The IEEE Signal Processing Society (SPS) is the fourth largest and the first of IEEE’s technical societies. The number of its members always fluctuates and currently the total number is close to 14,000.  As a big society, the SPS operating budget is nearly $10 million. There are two major sources of income, which are publications and conferences. The major expenses are in publications, conferences, administration, and the executive office. The annual budget of the SPS is carefully planned by volunteers and staff and is approved by its Board of Governors.

The world’s financial crisis of last year reflected negatively on the budget of SPS, and the Society did not have a surplus. Nevertheless, it continued to be creative in bringing new value to its members. The most important goal of SPS is, in fact, bringing new value while maintaining those already familiar.

SPS has always subsidized the subscription to its publications for its members. The cost of publications is due to their creation and printing. The creation includes expenses for use of the Manuscript Central database, composition, editorial work (largest amount), and administration, whereas the printing expenses are for presswork, printing, paper, and mailing.  For example, when all the expenditures are added, one print issue of the IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing costs the SPS about $7 per issue. Members, however, pay only about $2 per issue for electronic and $4 per issue for combo.  In 2008, a new benefit was added to the members of SPS by offering them free online access to the IEEE Signal Processing Letters. At the beginning of 2010, this benefit will expand, and the members will get free access to all the publications of SPS. This means that the members will be able to access the wholly-owned publications of SPS from their personal IEEE accounts even if their employers are subscribers.

In another effort related to publications, SPS began to deliver the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine digitally via Qmags. With Qmags, SPS is able to deliver contents much faster, especially to international members. With Qmags one can also track the number of clicks on each page, thereby gathering statistics that reveal the interests of the readers. With this information, the Magazine can be improved and made more valuable to the members.  As a service to our colleagues in industry, a new feature was added to the Magazine to show particularly the application outcomes of signal processing. Beginning in April 2007, the Inside Signal Processing e-Newsletter was created as a monthly benefit to augment the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine. Starting with the October 2009 issue, a new web port was opened for the newsletter enabling enhanced features, improved functionality, and a better look and feel.

This year saw the birth of the Content Gazette, which is a new feature that arrives in print and is a free benefit of Society membership. The Gazette provides information about the contents of all of the SPS’ archival publications and the calls for submissions for special issues and upcoming conferences and workshops. In this era of electronic delivery, it is designed to help readers in navigating through the Society’s most recent issues of its journals and in forming a quick picture of the trends in research in the various fields of signal processing. Once the members identify the articles of their interest, they can readily download them through their free subscriptions via IEEE Xplore.

SPS also creates new publishing opportunities by partnering with other societies. Some recent efforts include the IEEE Biometrics Compendium, the IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, and the IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing. The first is a “virtual journal,” which is available in electronic format only and which addresses the theory, design and application of biometric characterization of human beings for identification, identity verification, authentication, encryption, and recognition and medical diagnosis. The second is a cross disciplinary archival journal aimed at publishing research on theories, design, implementation and evaluation of energy systems that include smart grid technologies.  The latter is concerned with understanding, recognizing and utilizing human emotions in the design of computational systems.

Another continuing benefit of IEEE Signal Processing Society membership is reduced registration fees for attending conferences and workshops. At some conferences, SPS Members may get an additional 10% reduction over the fees of IEEE members. In comparison to the fees of conferences/workshops organized by other IEEE Societies and Councils, the fees of the SPS are similar or, on average, even lower. Recently, the Society has started providing support for travel and registration to student members who attend conferences. For example, the student participants at ICIP 2009 are eligible for this type of support.

SPS continues to improve the quality of existing conferences and workshops by adding new features to them. For example, at ICASSP 2009 the plenary sessions were streamed to a larger audience. Moreover, SPS remains active in organizing new types of meetings. This year, it organized the first IEEE Workshop on Information Forensics and Security. This year too, SPS initiated the formation of a new, one-day conference called IEEE-THEMES. Each year this conference will revolve around one very specific topic. The first meeting will be held in 2010, and the theme will be “Signal and Information Processing for Social Networking”. The conference will have live feeds that would allow for virtual attendance. The video and audio feeds will also be available for downloads.

SPS is also very active with increasing the number of awards it presents to its members as recognition for their accomplishments. It has various best paper awards, the Educational Award, the Meritorious Service Award, the Society Award, and the Technical Achievement Award. Two awards are at IEEE level. One of them is the IEEE Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medal and is presented for outstanding achievements in signal processing. Another is the IEEE James L. Flanagan Speech and Audio Processing Technical Field Award for an outstanding contribution to the advancement of speech and/or audio signal processing.

Another benefit of the SPS members comes through its Distinguished Lecturer Program. At any time the program has 10 distinguished lecturers who are engineering professionals well known for accomplishments in their field of interest. They travel upon request to IEEE Chapters around the world and give lectures on selected topics. The program has been operating successfully for more than 20 years. SPS provides financial support for the program.

The IEEE Signal Processing Society continues to return to its members an ever-increasing selection of benefits for the small dues price of $29 per year.  Many of these benefits are without additional cost.  The Society’s leaders will continue to work on behalf of the members and signal processing community at large to provide first-rate technical and professional information and opportunities.


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