Toward a More Open SIAM

January 12, 2007

Talk of the Society
James Crowley

The SIAM Board of Trustees, with a busy agenda for its December meeting, moved forward on several important issues. A few are briefly discussed below.

First, though, a quick summary for readers interested in knowing what some of the people they elected this fall (see article) actually do: The Board meets twice a year, once in July, when the main agenda item is approval of proposed pricing of SIAM products and services, and once in December, when the group approves the budget for the following year. At each meeting, the Board hears reports from the SIAM vice presidents---on activity groups and memberships, journals, conferences, education, and industry, as well as on the financial state of the organization. In very broad terms, the Board is charged with the overall direction and financial health of the organization, while the SIAM Council has responsibility for scientific issues.

In addition to approving the budget for calendar year 2007, the Board voted in December on the creation of a new SIAM journal, in imaging science. By the time of the meeting, the new (online) journal had passed through several stages of proposal and discussion, requiring only Board approval, which it secured, to move forward. Planning for implementation, under the leadership of Tony Chan and Guillermo Sapiro, is now under way.

The Board has sole responsibility for the regional groups of SIAM members called SIAM Sections. At the December meeting, the Board approved Rules of Procedure (essentially bylaws) for the new Argentinian Section of SIAM; this too was the final step in the establishment of a new SIAM activity.

Pervading the Board discussions was a major theme that had also emerged at the July meeting of the SIAM Council: making SIAM more open to members. Several steps have been taken, and more are planned, to make information about SIAM more accessible to members and also to make participation in SIAM governance more open to all. Readers probably notice the often extensive lists of SIAM activities in the biographies provided by candidates standing for election; in many cases, those longstanding contributions to SIAM begin with committee membership(s).

In this regard, we have a Committee on Committees and Appointments (CCA), which oversees the structure of SIAM committees and recommends appointments to them to the SIAM president. The CCA now has an expanded scope, with a new charter approved by the Council in July. The charter is posted on the SIAM Web site (, soon to be joined by the charters of all SIAM committees. SIAM secretary Pam Cook, who chairs the CCA, encourages readers interested in committee participation to contact her.

Also newly available on the Web are improved mechanisms for nominating candidates for leadership positions in SIAM, including membership on the Board and Council. Suggestions can now be submitted online ( The names of proposed candidates are forwarded to the Nominating Committee, which considers them in forming slates for upcoming elections. The Nominating Committee normally begins its deliberations in February; this year the committee's charge includes the selection of candidates for the next president of SIAM.

The Board concluded by scheduling its next meeting for Zurich in July 2007, the weekend before the start of ICIAM 2007. The SIAM Council will meet the same weekend. Both groups had decided previously to fully support ICIAM 2007, in part by not holding a SIAM Annual Meeting this year and encouraging SIAM members to participate in ICIAM instead.

We hope to see you in Zurich, and to hear from you sooner if any of the opportunities briefly described here appeal to you.

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