We are now in the middle of the eighth year of publication of ICIAM Dianoia, and the officers have asked for a proposal to clarify its position in the Council. The ICIAM Bylaws make no mention of a newsletter, but do have provision for ICIAM Committees (see http://www.iciam.org/sites/default/files/iciamBylaws_0.pdf):
- 6.3.1 Creating a committee
The Board can decide by a majority vote to create a new committee, its name, remit, size, its chair, vice chair and its members. It can also decide on the dissolution of a committee.
- 6.3.2 Terms in office of committee members
The terms of office in any function of a committee are 4 years and this can be renewed only once. [E.g. a regular member can serve 8 years, but can still become chair for another 8 years.]
It is planned to present the following proposal to the ICIAM Board at its meeting in September. Comments from readers of ICIAM Dianoia are welcome.
- The name of the committee is ICIAM Dianoia Editorial Board Committee (EBC).
- The mandate of the committee is to oversee publication of a quarterly online newsletter, ICIAM Dianoia. The EBC will write articles, solicit articles, edit submitted items, and make decisions on acceptance or rejection of material for publication.
- The chair of the committee will be the Editor-in-Chief (EiC) of Dianoia, and will be responsible for typesetting and publishing the newsletter in a timely manner.
- Committee members will be proposed by member societies, and a decision on acceptance will be made by the EiC and the ICIAM Officers. The EBC will have between eight and twenty members, and should be representative of the different geographic regions, membership types and various interests of member societies. Members of the EBC are expected to be active in writing and developing articles.
It is further proposed that the current EiC (Keyfitz) and Editorial Board members (listed on the newsletter's masthead) form the initial chair and committee members, with terms beginning in October 2020. Additional members may be proposed at any time.
If this proposal is accepted, then the committee may wish to discuss some of the following items.
- At the moment, there is no vice chair. Over time, a number of people have been very helpful, but right now only the Editor-in-Chief is authorized to enter items for publication and organize the final newsletter. For the health and stability of the newsletter, and also to bring new perspectives, it would be a very good idea to appoint a vice chair who could eventually take over as EiC. Sharing the duties of putting the newsletter together would also provide an occasion for organizing the articles in the ICIAM Dianoia in a better way.
- Should the ICIAM officers also be members of the EBC? Should they be ex officio members who do not have any responsibility for gathering articles but participate in deliberations of the committee?
- There has also not been a wide-ranging discussion of the objectives of the newsletter. Members of the Board have made it clear that they want the newsletter to continue, and its periodic publication, which sends a message to about 500 subscribers, serves as a reminder of the existence and purpose of ICIAM itself.
- Just a few of the issues an EBC could tackle: Do we want to accept paid advertising? When the Board was consulted about this earlier, the answer was "no", but has that changed? What topics are suitable for publication in Dianoia? Just the news - reminders of Board meetings, reports on officers' meetings, calls for developing countries support proposals, and reports on those grants - or more wide-ranging topics, as has been done in the past? We have published news of the International Science Council, of EU initiatives that impact applied and industrial mathematics, obituaries, book reviews, news of other initiatives such as the gender gap project, interviews with mathematical scientists, cartoons. In short, we have printed just about anything that came to mind and that seemed of potential interest to our community.
- We have also worked by consensus: nothing gets published that any committee member objects to. Is this satisfactory, or should we establish a more formal voting procedure for controversial articles?
- Should the committee actually meet occasionally? Once every four years, it is possible to arrange a meeting in person at the ICIAM Congress, but we could meet by telephone or video-conference more frequently. Would some collective thinking lead to improvements in Dianoia?