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I received an "offer" to become the publication chair of a high profile IEEE conference. Before accepting the "offer" I would like to know what are my responsibilities, and I would like to plan ahead as what portion of the available time such a commitment would eat up.

I saw this description, but it is rather vague. It says:

Publications Chair: Responsible for the coordination of production of conference content (e.g., papers from special tutorial sessions or colloquia, summaries of conference papers, programs, etc.) and serves as the point of contact for all Xplore submission-related inquiries before and after the conference.

It tells nothing about the pitfalls, so I want some feedback from people who have really done this.

EDIT: additional questions

Does it have positive or negative impact on the student. In terms of workload vs. benefit?

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I've been publication chair of an IEEE conference before, and it's pretty straight-forward. IEEE has a well-arranged process for managing conference publications, and you basically just need to hold up your side of the deal and make sure that nothing falls through the cracks.

In particular: you should have an IEEE CPS publications contact. You can get this from the current general chairs, since they're dealing with IEEE, or (since its usually the same from year to year) you can ask the previous publications chair. Set up a meeting with that person ASAP and they can walk you through the process and make plans with you; I've had very good experiences working with their publications personnel.

The key responsibilities that you should expect to fulfill are:

  1. Set a schedule acceptable to IEEE and the conference chairs
  2. Work with the general chairs to fill out the required forms and get them to the IEEE on time, so that you can get the publications IEEE CPS contract signed. This will include setting the various different types of publications (e.g., main track, short papers, workshop papers, tutorial abstracts, etc), as well as pages sizes, expected number, delivery method (I recommend USB sticks) and budget.
  3. Send information about camera ready from IEEE to the various conference chairs that need it (general, program, workshops, tutorial, etc.).
  4. Work with chairs to get all of the front matter prepared in a timely fashion and within the schedule negotiated with IEEE (cover, index information, introductions, sponsored material, etc.).
  5. Immediately after the conference, report to IEEE whether there were any no-shows (who should have their papers removed).
  6. One month after reporting whether there were and no-shows, everything should appear online in IEEE Xplore. If it doesn't, then you need to keep pinging IEEE's representative to make sure things get into IEEE Xplore as promptly as possible.
  • Could you please share some of the pitfalls of being a chair too? – The Guy Apr 14 '16 at 15:21
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    @TheFireGuy It takes a bit of time---not much if you keep on top of things and the other chairs are responsive to your requests. When I was a publications chair, it probably took 20 - 30 hours total spread over a 9-month period. You also have to make sure to be organized and deal with things ahead of deadlines, or else you could make a lot of trouble for the conference and get a lot of people mad at you. If you can be organized and responsible, though, it's a great opportunity: it's often used as a "starter" position for trying people out before giving them more critical responsibilities. – jakebeal Apr 14 '16 at 15:26
  • @jakebeal can you consider my additional question. And maybe integrate your comment to your original answer – Kristof Tak Apr 15 '16 at 10:19
  • @KristofTak Overall, it's a strong benefit if a) you want to be part of that community and b) you do an OK job. – jakebeal Apr 15 '16 at 10:34
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I can not speak of myself, but my advisor gets similar offers (not for IEEE conferences, he is in a different field). Last year we organized a conference in my University (US) and was somehow involved (replying to inquires and sending reminding emails). My answer is based on what my advisor has shared with us (his students) and what I have noticed before/during/after the conference.

  1. He always complains about not being able to find a good publisher (cheap/er and on time)

  2. The time he spends on organizing and collecting reviewed/finalized and "formatted" manuscripts from authors/reviewers of multiple tracks.

  3. What he complains the most about is "poor/lack of communication" especially for international conferences where majority of participants are from outside the States. As you can tell, this is mainly related to time zone difference, and English is the not the main language.

To be honest, I do not know if there is any legal or financial-related or other aspects.

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