MBMC-TC Mid-Year June 2020 (Virtual)

Date: Wednesday 24 June 2020
Time: 8am-10am EDT, 12pm-2pm UTC
Place: Virtual (Zoom)

Attendees (30):

Andrew Eckford (AE), TC Chair, York University
Lin Lin (LL), TC Vice-Chair, Tongji University
Adam Noel (AN), TC Secretary, University of Warwick
Yansha Deng (YD), SAC-MBMC Chair for ICC 2020, King’s College London
Nan Yang (NY), SAC-MBMC Chair for GC 2020, Australian National University
Stefano Galli (SG), ComSoc TCs director Futurewei
Vincent Chan (VC), ComSoc President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Chan-Byoung Chae (CBC), EiC of T-MBMC, Yonsei University
Adam Greenberg, ComSoc TA and Industry Outreach Director
Andreani Odysseos (AO), University of Cyprus
Gianluca Reali, University of Perugia
Sudip Misra (SM), IIT Kharagpur
Tatsuya Suda (TS), UNET
(?) Abdel-Elhamid M. Taha, Alfaisal University
Chia-Han Lee, National Chiao Tung University
(?) Aldri Luiz dos Santos, Federal University of Paraná
Masoumeh Nasiri-Kenari, Sharif University of Technology
Lukas Brand, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Malcolm Egan, INRIA
Massimiliano Pierobon (MP), University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Maurizio Magarini, Politecnico di Milano
Najah Abu Ali, United Aran Emirates University
Pietro Savazzi, University of Pavia
Sebastian Lotter, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Trang Cao, University of Melbourne
Weisi Guo, Cranfield University and Turing Institute
Werner Haselmayr, Johannes Kepler University Linz
Yan Hao, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Yuting Fang, University of Melbourne
Hamdan Awan, Waterford Institute of Technology

Minutes:

Call to order: 8am EDT

AE opening virtual meeting. As meeting was virtual, AE alerted each attendee individually to introduce themself.

Agenda was approved without objection or comment.

Chair’s Report by AE
– Introduced elected committee officers. Appointed officers have been removed as TC begins its new stage as a full ComSoc TC
– TC was approved last year as a full TC after existing about 10 years as an emerging technology committee (ETC). TC can do a lot more now (e.g., organize its own workshops, nominate fellows, distribute awards, organize distinguished lectures)
– Discussed terms and succession plan for the elected officers
– Vision for TC: approve the new policies and procedures (P&Ps), grow the TC (e.g., own conference symposium at flagships instead of always running within “Selected Areas in Communications” symposium), support publications
– SG: TC cannot nominate fellows; they can endorse or support a nomination. A nominee must be nominated by another individual

IEEE Transactions on Molecular, Biological, and Multi-Scale Communications (T-MBMC) EiC report by CBC
– Updating status of journal and plan
– Journal was publishing 1.5 years behind at start of current EiC term in 2019; started publishing 3 issues per year instead of 4. 2020 issues are now being published; next 2 issues will be Sep 2020 and then Dec 2020
– Sub-to-pub is now down 21 weeks, after significant delays in previous couple of years
– Summarized number of issues published in each year
– 3 special issues are planned with deadlines this year. 1 special section planned with deadline in August
– 5 invited papers are under review or are being submitted this summer by leading senior researchers. Topics are Mol comm, THz for BANs, machine learning, brain networks, and brain bioinformatics
– There is a plan to target special sections for each of the ICC/Globecom SACs
– Max timeline for reviews is now 7 weeks for transactions articles, 5 weeks for letters. Overall target is 20 weeks sub to pub (including revision)
– More submissions are desired (leading to more publications, citations)
– AO commented on the field plateauing and the need for leadership to help direct the scientific community on where the field should go
– TS expressed concern about number of special issues. CBC clarified that the SIs will not be replacing open call submissions
– VC commented that page quota could be increased if it gets filled, but concern in past couple of years is that number of submissions has been dangerously low. More special issues are welcome
– TS commented on trade-off in review times and finding that IEEE timeline too long compared with publishing in biology; VC commented on range of review periods and balance between speed and quality
– CBC clarified that TMBMC is still publishing among fastest of ComSoc journals
– Journal has no impact factor yet because publication schedule has been lagging. SCOPUS results suggest that impact factor will be higher than Transactions on NanoBioscience, Elsevier Nano Communication Networks, and Wirecless Communication Letters
– AE encouraged special issue proposals and congratulated CBC for work to get journal back on track with sub-to-pub
– TS commented on need to educate committee membership about what publication venues the committee supports
– AE asked about how T-MBMC can get on eligibility list for Chinese students to graduate after publishing there. CBC emphasized need for impact factor and following publication schedule. May be another 2 years to get an impact factor assigned. LL added that most institutions in China should accept IEEE transactions, but getting on some lists may require journal to be at the very top of its field (e.g., only TComm in ComSoc)
– TS commented on need for TC to contribute to educational articles for T-MBMC. VC clarified that this could be led by EiC and emphasized that people should be individually encouraged to join the TC

ICC 2020 report by YD
– 25 submissions to track. 36 TPC members provided 100 reviews. All papers received at least 3 quality reviews. 10 submissions were accepted for 2 sessions
– 1 submission was nominated and won the SAC best paper award

GLOBECOM 2020 report by NY
– All deadlines have been significantly postponed due to COVID. Reviews are on-going. Camera ready deadline is in September
– 20 submissions, 38 TPC members doing reviews.
– Because of fewer submissions (down from 27 last year), a justification would be needed to keep 2 sessions. Decline in SAC-MBMC track is consistent with drop in submissions across whole conference

AE listed upcoming flagship conferences and their track chairs (ICC 2021 and GC 2021; ICC 2022 has track chair nominated). Nominations will be sought for upcoming conferences. People interested can contact AE. SG wondered whether there is a widespread problem with GITC to accept nominations and inform TCs/ETCs when nominations are needed. Other TCs have had issues getting their chosen nominees for track chairs accepted. AE noted this doesn’t seem to be a current concern for this TC

New P&Ps
– AE noted that P&Ps have been drafted and shared with the mailing list for comment. They were re-written from ETC P&Ps and based on mandated structure for TC P&Ps. New statement was added on equity, diversity, and inclusion. AE also summarized distinguishing between types of members and officer progression
– SG noted that TEA council just added new requirements for P&Ps. Better to have ex-officio progression. Described process to get P&Ps finally approved by ComSoc after the TC approves the P&Ps.
– AE discussed new best paper awards
– AE described IEEE fellow nomination which would need to be changed to endorsement
– SG pointed out how more feedback can be sought about the award procedure from Mark Karol (ComSoc Governance Standing Committee chair), based on his experience administering other awards. SG emphasized that P&Ps are a living document so they can still be changed later (this is not a single opportunity to change)
– TS asked whether boilerplate text has to be followed exactly; SG clarified that some are essentially mandatory while others are recommended. AE recommended to keep to mandatory text as close as possible for now to facilitate approval. Focused changes can be made later. VC noted Vin Yu (?) could help review the P&Ps for language
– AE invited someone to move to approve P&Ps. TS moved to approve P&Ps. SM seconded. AE calls vote; asked for objection and planned to take roll call vote if there were any. There were no objections so P&Ps were approved unanimously. AE highlighted next step is approval by governance committee and P&Ps might be returned for revisions
– SG recommended posting the approved P&Ps to TC website pending approval

Status and direction of the TC
– AE emphasized we are new, small, and growing. Advantage in our publication venues. Need for more publications submitted and higher profile (new P&Ps will help with profile). AE claimed that this is one of the more exciting TCs by being in an emerging interdisciplinary field. Plans for TC to focus on journal, highlight research
– TS seconded what AE says. Would like for TC to organize a focused workshop on research directions. MP organized a similar meeting in January; had a diverse attendance that was biology-focused. AE supports strongly. AE also suggested the Banff International Research Station in Alberta for small workshops (up to 40 attendees) that have been very impressive in the past
– TS discussed need to involve more government and industry members. Need to educate funding agencies about our field and its needs. AE noted challenge to identify opportunities; what is the killer app?
– SG noted that TC can sponsor an industry forum that could attract people more widely. Suggested collaboration with eHealth, which also brings in non-comms people, and providing a newsletter. TC can make a proposal for sponsorship (approval is competitive)
– VC mentionined prior involvement by Stephen Bush (SB) at GE. AE discussed SB’s role in leading standardization efforts; VC suggested bi-directional discussions with industry. TS recognized role of SB in early days of community.
– VC discussed building links with other societies. Signal processing might be natural. EMBS is also suitable and may be more approachable after previous efforts in 2013 did not go very far (before MBMC field started publishing a lot in their journals). T-MBMC can be shared with other societies.
– AE summarized plan to grow with other societies, industry, and arrange more smaller face-to-face events

COVID-19
– AE said technical committess board interested in promoting COVID-19 research, and wanted to hear from individuals working on this. No responses today, but AE will send out email seeking information from TC members
– A COMMAG article or special issue might be suitable to discuss field’s response and relevance to pandemic. SG noted a few other TCs are already interested in writing their own articles
– TS mentioned challenge in finding access to data. SG mentioned IEEE dataport repository (https://ieee-dataport.org/datasets), but also noted that medical community doesn’t know what kind of dataset our community would find useful. More cross-disciplinary discussion is needed

New business: none

AE adjourned meeting 9:55am EDT