SIGDAT Constitution


I. STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

The purpose of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) Special Interest Group on Linguistic Data and Corpus-Based Approaches to NLP (SIGDAT) shall be to:
  • Sponsor and organize conferences and workshops on empirical, statistical and corpus-based natural language processing, including its current flagship Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing.
  • To promote and facilitate research in empirical, statistical and corpus-based methods in natural language processing and to support the creation, modeling and sharing of the linguistic data underlying these approaches
  • To provide members of the ACL having a special interest in linguistic data and corpus-based approaches to NLP with a variety of means of exchanging news, recent developments, timely research findings and other matters of interest in this field.
  • To provide and make available resources relevant to empirical, statistical and corpus-based approaches to NLP, including corpora, analysis tools, software, research papers and generated data.
  • To facilitate the standardized evaluation of systems and algorithms by promoting the development of shared test suites, evaluation measures and evaluation protocols, and to sponsor such evaluations as desired by SIGDAT membership.

II. SIGDAT GOVERNANCE AND ELECTED OFFICERS

The governance of SIGDAT shall be based on the participation of 3 groups: (a) The Officers of SIGDAT, consisting of a President, Vice-President, Vice-President Elect and Secretary/Treasurer, who shall engage in the day-to-day management of the SIG and perform all roles that require direct liaison or negotiation with other organizations or individuals; (b) an Advisory Board, which provides institutional memory, and shall provide a source of feedback, nominations and advice from experienced prior SIGDAT organizers, and (c) when possible, major decisions such as the location and timing of SIGDAT meetings should be informed by a direct survey or vote of SIGDAT's Membership.

Officers

The President shall serve a 3-year term sequence, as Vice-President Elect in the first year, as Vice-President in the second year, and as President in the third year. Elections will be held annually for the position of Vice-President Elect, by direct vote of the membership. At the end of the first-year term, the Vice-President Elect shall automatically become Vice President for a subsequent term of one year, and at the end this term the Vice President shall automatically become President for a subsequent one-year term, with a total combined term of 3 years. One of the responsibilities of the VP-Elect/VP/President will be the early-stage and late-stage planning and oversight of the SIGDAT conference to be held during his/her Presidential term. The Vice President and President will also promote and lead community initiatives or special projects and will conduct administrative, communication and management roles as appropriate for the leadership of the SIG. The President is also responsible for submitting a written report on the activities of the SIG for the Executive Committee of the ACL, for presentation to the ACL at its Annual Business Meeting. Either the President, Vice-President or their designate shall serve as the publicly identified Liaison Representative for the SIG, who shall be primarily responsible for communication with members of the SIG, answering inquiries about the SIG, and communication with the Executive Committee of the ACL.

The Secretary/Treasurer shall be elected by a direct vote of the membership, and shall serve a term of 2 years. The Secretary/Treasurer's responsibilities shall include: (1) maintaining a membership roster of the SIG, (2) responsibility for any moneys awarded to the SIG by the ACL; collecting and managing any dues that may be required by the organization; and presenting a written annual report on the SIG finances to the Executive Committee of the ACL, and (3) conducting, tabulating and reporting surveys and votes of the SIG membership and Advisory Board, including the election of SIG Officers.

The Advisory Board: For the purposes of maintaining active institutional memory, SIGDAT will have an Advisory Board consisting of past SIGDAT program chairs and past SIGDAT presidents who can provide ideas, guidance and experienced feedback to the executive Officers. SIGDAT will maintain its long and successful tradition of having all major decisions, including the selection of conference chairs and the selection of the location/timing of SIGDAT conferences, to be made by discussion and democratic vote of the Advisory Board and Officers combined. In the event of a disagreement between the majority vote of the Advisory Board and Officers combined and the majority vote of the Officers alone, on major issues the question should be put to a direct vote of the membership when practical. On minor issues, or for major issues where the sensitivity of the topic precludes broad membership feedback, the vote of the Officers shall be binding but is encouraged to respect the Advisory Board's recommendations. The Officers can strongly influence the outcome by their arguments and framing of the questions, but democratic vote of a relatively large and experienced body of committed individuals helps provide breadth of background, geography and experience that is more representative SIGDAT's overall international membership than the Officers alone, yet be of a moderate size viable for email discussion not possible with SIGDAT's entire membership. Following SIGDAT tradition, all past SIGDAT program chairs and past presidents are invited to join the Advisory Board, and may serve in this advisory capacity until they choose to resign. The careful geographic balance usually maintained in the selection of program chairs helps ensure the relatively high geographic balance of this board.

III. MEMBERSHIP

All ACL members or anyone who has participated in a SIGDAT conference or workshop within the previous 36 months are eligible to become SIGDAT members. Dues will not be required at the time of the ratification of this constitution, but SIGDAT reserves the right to institute dues in the future. Benefits of membership include (a) the right to participate in elections for SIGDAT officers, and (b) the right to participate in periodic surveys regarding the location and timing of SIGDAT future conferences and other policy decisions, (c) the right to participate in SIGDAT community initiatives and (d) receipt, if desired, of timely announcements of SIGDAT meetings, activities, tools, resources and community initiatives.

IV. ELECTION OF OFFICERS

All officers of SIGDAT shall be elected by a vote of the membership. Two officers will be elected each year (a Vice-President Elect every year and the Secretary/Treasurer in alternate years) as detailed above. A slate of two candidates for each office will be nominated by discussion and vote of the SIGDAT Advisory Board. Also, candidates may be nominated directly by the Membership if the Secretary/Treasurer receives a nomination petition from 3 members not including the candidate by a deadline specified by the Secretary/Treasurer. The identity of a candidate as an "official" or "from the membership" nominee will not be distinguished on the final ballot. All candidates must accept nomination, and must be members in good standing of both ACL and SIGDAT, at election and during their full term of office. All current members of the SIG will be eligible to vote in SIG elections. Elections shall normally be carried out at least one month, and at most three months, before the expiration of current terms of office. In the event of a resignation or other permanent absence of the President, the Vice President shall immediately become President and serve in that role for both the remainder of the President's year-long term and for the subsequent year when that Officer would normally be President. The Vice-President Elect shall also fill a permanent vacancy in the office of Vice President, as detailed above. A mid-term vacancy in the office of Vice-President Elect will remain unfilled. In the event of a vacancy in the office of Secretary/Treasurer more than 5 months before the end of his/her term, an extraordinary election shall be held for a Secretary/Treasurer to complete the current term of office; otherwise the Vice-President shall perform the Secretary/Treasurer's duties. The timing of the elections of Officers, within the constraints above, shall be set by vote of the Officers and Advisory Board.

V. REFERENDA

A change to this constitution, or a motion on any other matter, may be initiated by five members (petitioners) in writing or by majority agreement of Officers and Advisory Board (on the suggestion of a member or otherwise). The motions will be put to the members within six months of receipt of a petition, if the petitioners so request. Otherwise, constitutional amendments and other motions will be put to the vote in conjunction with the regular elections.

Members will be given notification at least three months in advance of any referendum, and further motions or amendments proposed by two members shall be accepted up to two months before the close of voting. Votes may be entered by electronic or physical mail, and votes arriving by the notified closing date will be counted by a returning officer appointed by the President and agreed to by all petitioners. All members shall be notified of the date of the referendum and the proposed motions and amendments at least four weeks prior to the close of voting, and results shall be notified to the members within four weeks of the close of voting.

Any change to this constitution requires a two-thirds majority of those eligible to vote and is subject to approval by ACL. Any other matter requires a simple majority of those actually voting.

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