2014Q1 Reports: Office

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Priscilla Rasmussen 24 February 2014

ACL Business Office Report

As you know, we have engaged Mr. Tom Dartnell, of Nisivoccia, as our new accountant. Tom and an associate conducted an audit over the early fall, including visiting the office for a full day. I believe we passed their fiduciary tests but, Graeme will speak more on that.

The ACL elections ran smoothly this fall except for one problem with the Member Portal where a number of paid members’ records were not updated automatically by the portal as being current and, until people questioned not receiving their PINs, we were unaware of this issue. It was fixed by our webmaster, PINs were issued, and these people’s votes were cast.

Otherwise, the office is chugging along nicely.

There is an issue I would ask the Board to discuss and provide input on for now and the future. We have had the International Sponsorship Committee set up for a few years now, with two representatives for Europe, two for Asia/Pacific, and two for North/South America. We put together an updated Sponsorship Booklet each year which describes the various levels of contributions and benefits to be had at each level. Each year, we offer a 2-Pack or 3-Pack to support all conferences in that particular year (ACL, EACL and/or NAACL) as well as the possibility to support just an individual conference.

Last year and currently, there has become a question of what to do with EMNLP. It seems quite a few of the same continuing sponsors such as Google, Microsoft, Nuance, etc. also want to support EMNLP and would like to do a multi-Pack sponsorship which includes EMNLP. Currently, it is awkward to say that we do not have EMNLP support levels decided yet and will get back to them.

Pros to including EMNLP in our sponsorship booklet:

1. This would allow the Sponsorship Committee to address all of a potential sponsor’s wishes at once

2. It would keep the amounts of sponsorships and levels consistent (EMNLP 2013 might have gotten more from Google on their own, calling it the same level, until Google questioned the disparity)

3. EMNLP 2013 reached out to and received support from some companies we had not tapped into (Amazon and Facebook) and, taking advantage of that connection, it appears ACL 2014 may get Amazon support…a good new upper level connection. The total sponsorship for EMNLP 2013 was $32,145.

4. EMNLP 2013 numbered over 500 attendees, making it almost as large as NAACL and larger than EACL so it becomes harder to justify to sponsors that it is not treated the same

Cons to including EMNLP in our sponsorship booklet:

1. Fairness to other SIGs who are told to find their own support? Possibly the shear number of attendees and sponsors’ interest puts EMNLP in a separate class? (CoNLL and MT SIGs’ meetings can number 100-150 at most, SIGdial reaches about 85-100 and all the rest are less)

2. Most other workshops and SIGs get much smaller sponsorships than the typical amounts generated by our Sponsorship Committee/Booklet…unsure if there would be enough interest to support other SIGs at the booklet’s higher levels.

3. It would be awkward, in the sponsorship booklet, to name all the possible workshops/SIGs and a whole range of lower level options of support.

Can the Sponsorship Committee include EMNLP in the Sponsorship Booklet for 2014 and the future? Discussion?

Publications, Journals and Royalties:

With our ongoing arrangement of Curran Associates now handling print-on-demand of our publications, I receive very few requests for publications in the office. Through all of 2013, I have filled only 2 orders.

We have received royalties from Curran Associates in 2013 for the last quarter of 2012 and the first three quarters of 2013 in the amount of $2,993.87 and, in January 2014, we received the 4th quarter 2013 earnings of $1,067.47. Copyright Clearance Center also sent checks totaling $667.53 covering the period ending December 31, 2012. MIT Press Journals’ royalty year ends March 31, 2014. Their annual statement has not yet been received but it is expected that, similar to last year, if we earn less than $50 in royalties, any small amount will be credited to our account for next year.


We surpassed 2100 members in 2009 and 2010; in 2011 and 2012 we reached over 2000 members. We ended 2013 with 2093 members. The distribution of countries represented and numbers from each country fluctuate yearly depending upon the area of the world our conferences are held. Please see Membership spreadsheets for the full 2013 calendar year details on countries represented and statistics.

Pat and I continue to do our best to keep the membership information updated and as correct as possible from information gathered on conference registration forms. This year, however, the portal gave us some unexpected problems. Besides the election problem explained earlier, this report was delayed because another problem cropped up where the download of 2013 memberships was considerably less than it should have been so, once again, the webmaster had to research the problem and recently gave me a download that seems more correct to me. These problems, each different from the last (and smaller issues I will not go into here), cause me to have doubts sometimes of the accuracy of the information and I do my best to double-check numbers through other means.


Fellows Program:

The Fellows for 2014 were selected after gathering nominations and recommendations through the fall 2013. Four Fellows were named: Ido Dagan, Dekang Lin, Candy Sidner, and David Yarowsky.


NAACL HLT 2013, recently held in Atlanta, had a final count of attendees of 684 at part or all of the meeting. Of this total, there were 2 Visa Problem and 2 Medical cancellations which received full refunds. There was 1 cancellation without reason and 23 No-Shows who each get zero refund. There were 504 paying main conference attendees, another 49 were volunteers, SRW students, sponsors, exhibitors, and guests/organizers. There were also 131 people only attending tutorials, the *SEM co-located conference, or workshops. It seems the trend continues that ACL-related conferences have at least 20% of the total attendees not attending the main conference (NAACL 2012 was closer to 40%). Workshops are becoming more and more mini-conferences, complete with poster sessions which are often difficult to organize, especially the *SEM co-located conference and SemEval. The attempt at cross-pollination with ICML by holding the two conferences back-to-back was successful. NAACL held a Symposium on Saturday, between the two conferences and it attracted 80-100 people. ICML held two workshops the next day as part of their first day of events and some of the NAACL attendees attended those as well.

ACL 2013, in Sofia, Bulgaria, had 1016 total registrations, with 2 medical cancellations, 2 visa problems and 2 no-shows who arranged for friends to collect materials and paid, 26 no-shows (without explanation, all but 4 paid). This made the final actual attendance 984 overall, with 100 attending only the tutorials and/or workshops. While some may have questioned Bulgaria as a conference site, many people spoke of being pleasantly surprised and pleased with their experience.

(NA)ACL HLT 2014 will be held in Baltimore, Maryland at the Marriott Hotel, June 22-27. Daniel Marcu (GC), David Yarowsky (LAC), Chris Callison-Burch and others of the organizing committee and I have been and will continue working closely on the various pieces of planning to pull together a great conference. The first week of March, I will meet David and others in Baltimore to make more finalized plans to use the venue space, now that the workshops and program are more solidly in place. This, then, allows for tentative room assignments, av and catering to be decided and a budget worked up to set registration fees. The plan is to open registration around the beginning of April.

EACL 2014, in Gothenberg, Sweden, is moving along nicely, with an excellent local team leading the way. The Office has been providing ongoing advice and support to the organizers.

As NAACL Local Arrangements Chair, I have been searching for venues for both 2015 and 2016 and now have a long list of options to present to the NAACL Board next week. And, with ICML rotating back to North America in 2016, they are interested in entertaining the possibility of co-location once again.

Conference Sponsorship:

ACL 2013 had sponsorships totaling $62,052.75 to the Office plus a lot of in-kind sponsorship by the Bulgarian Academy of Science and the Bulgarian government; and, NAACL 2013 received sponsorships totaling $25,452.25. Baidu committed to being a Platinum Level sponsor, with certain concessions, for ACL 2013. Google was 2-Pack Gold Sponsor for ACL and NAACL this year. Qatar Computing Research Institute was a new sponsor, supporting ACL 2013 at the Silver level and expressed interest in becoming ongoing sponsor. Ontotext AD has also become a Gold sponsor this year. IBM made a generous contribution of $2,500 toward the NAACL Student Lunch in addition to their “standard” IBM Best Student Paper awards at both ACL and NAACL. And, Microsoft, Rakuten, SDL and others continue to be generous in supporting ACL and NAACL. I am also pleased to report that Yahoo has come back as a sponsor and we can add Facebook as a new sponsor who made a significant contribution this year. We are looking toward pursuing Amazon and others to add to our list of continuing sponsors.

The area Sponsorship Chairs are working diligently to help make our conferences successful and it is a pleasure working with them. And, many thanks to all sponsors who help to make our conferences and workshops successful!