Further to discussions at the last meeting, attached are the criteria for AIS to endorse new conferences.
AIS will endorse conferences that:
Note: ECIS and PACIS, were excluded from meeting these requirements because of AIS long standing relationship with them (though we hope both organizations will consider the merits of meeting the criteria if they do not already do so).
Hi Edgar. While I confess to having a very fuzzy memory of the AIS meeting discussion pertaining to this issue, perhaps the following observations will be instructive:
1. The Endorsement page on the website indicates "Note: ECIS and PACIS were excluded from meeting these requirements because of AIS long standing relationship with them (though we hope both organizations will consider the merits of meeting the criteria if they do not already do so)." My interpretation of this is that AIS willingly endorses ECIS and thus, for endorsement purposes, you are not obligated to comply with any of these requirements if you do not wish to do so.
2. However if you are in fact "considering the merits" of meeting the criteria of the Endorsement Policy, the only point you raise below which seems to present any difficulty is the one dealing with surpluses . First, kindly note that the policy does not seem to "require" a surplus but rather that if you generate one, it should be "used to support broadly-based developments of the field." Thus to address your concern directly, the policy would seem to accommodate ECIS continuing with its current breakeven target enabling you to maintain your existing acceptance rates should you prefer. (To my mind, this is the meaning of "grandfathering") Alternatively, if you sought to comply with the "spirit" of aiming for a surplus, keep in mind that the target is normally about $20,000 though some conferences exceed this handsomely and the odd one is lower. While I confess to having little knowledge of the typical ECIS budget, you may find that achieving such a surplus is not that onerous. This may be especially true if you are able to attract sponsors and make use of the talents of a professional conference/hotel negotiator.
3. Below, you indicate "I am aware that there is ongoing concern within AIS about the way ECIS chooses to organise itself". I am not sure to what you refer, but I could surmise that some of this concern might relate to the disposition of conference surpluses, and even the budgetary practices that lead to such surpluses. To put it very directly, I expect AIS Council would be very uncomfortable if it felt that conference surpluses, or the absence thereof, were resulting in financial benefit to any local institutions or parties involved in organizing the event. Should ECIS choose to "formalise" the relationship with AIS, this issue might have to be adequately addressed. However, an answer may be found in #4 below.
4. Let me next struggle with the issue of (quoting from you below) "formalising the relationships between AIS and ECIS, especially with regard to endorsing the conferences." Unless my understanding of this is flawed, simple "endorsement" of a conference event consists largely of permission to use the AIS logo on conference promotional materials along with some modest financial support. With its endorsement in the case of ECIS, AIS would take no formal position on the requirement for a surplus (as the Endorsement policy seems to indicate) but would similarly not be responsible for any losses.
However, if "formalising the relationship" resulted in ECIS actually becoming part of the family of AIS conferences (in the same manner as AMCIS), AIS would likely "expect" (perhaps "hope for" is a better phrase), though not necessarily require, that each ECIS produces a surplus to enable AIS to continue to support the range of member and student activities it currently does. But then as ECIS would also be a "full member" of AIS (if that term fits), AIS would also take responsibility for conference losses. (I do not wish to reduce the benefits of an ECIS/AIS formalisation here to purely money but that's where we are focussed in this discussion.) Note then that in this case, as AIS "pays the bills" and handles the registration revenues as the conference unfolds, the concern described in #3 above is sharply lessened. In effect, with regard to the matter of "how much financial control AIS would expect" to which you refer below, AIS would participate in setting the budget for a conference, pay the appropriate bills and in doing so would within reason, I expect, be strongly guided by past ECIS practices. Thus a major benefit to future organizers of ECIS is that AIS assumes the financial risks involved
Malcolm has got it about right. ECIS could continue exactly as it now operates (i.e., acceptance rates, site selection, conference committee membership, etc.), with one exception --financial oversight. ECIS need not make a profit (i.e., "surplus"), but neither can it have continued losses and expect AIS to cover them. If AIS were to become the banker for ECIS, a role which is now played by the local sponsoring universities, the accounting for revenues and expenses would have to be more precise. However, AIS has no wish to TAKE OVER ECIS! Our wish would be to provide a range of services (e.g., registrations, paper refereeing, hotel negotiations, liability insurance, etc., etc.) that would free up the conference committee to concentrate on the content of the conference.
If I may just add one word to Eph's comments below: AIS provides "a paper refereeing SYSTEM". In other words, ECIS folks would still do the refereeing of the papers (which Eph refers to as the "content of the conference") but AIS would provide software to manage the whole process. Actually, we (AIS) have been working for the last few years to bring ourselves to a situation where ICIS, AMCIS and the journals all use the same system. Alas, we arenít there yet but that's our aim. Either way, this would be a real benefit to ECIS as it allows the whole refereeing process to be managed on the Internet with no physical paper exchange.