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The biography and position statement of the 2016 IEEE Vice President, Publication Services and Products is below.


Sheila Hemami


Sheila S. Hemami (S’89–M’95–SM’03-F'09) received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan (1990), and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University (1992 and 1994, respectively).
She was with Hewlett-Packard Laboratories in 1994. From 1995-2013, she was with the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Cornell University in Ithaca, NY where she most recently held the positions of Professor, Director of the Visual Communications Lab, and Associate Director of the School. Since 2013, she has been Professor and Chair of the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Northeastern University in Boston, MA. She has held visiting positions at Universite de Nantes; Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne; Princeton; Rice; and in 2001, she held a Fulbright Distinguished Lectureship at the Faculte de Sciences, Rabat, Morocco. Her research interests comprise communication of visual information, from the perspectives of both signal processing perspective and psychophysics.

Activities | Committees/Boards:

  • IEEE Vice President Publications Products and Services, 2015
  • IEEE PSPB Strategic Planning Committee Member (2011-present)
  • IEEE PSPB Strategic Planning Committee Chair (2013, 2014)
  • IEEE PSPB Products and Services Committee (2012, 2014)
  • IEEE PSPB Nominations & Appointments Committee (2013)
  • IEEE New Initiatives Committee (2014)

Activities | Societies:

  • IEEE Signal Processing Society Board of Governors Member at Large (2009-11)
  • Signal Processing Society Distinguished Lecturer (2010-11)
  • Chair, IEEE Signal Processing Society Image and Multidimensional Signal Processing Technical Committee [now Image, Video, and Multidimensional Signal Processing] (2006-07); member October2001-2009
  • Editor-in-Chief, IEEE Transactions on Multimedia (2008-10)

Activities | Conferences:

  • Technical Program co-chair, IEEE International Conference on Image Processing, 2012
  • General co-chair, SPS IVMSP Workshop 2011, "Perception and Visual Signal Processing"
  • Special Sessions co-chair, IEEE International Conference on Image Processing, 2009
  • Publicity Chair, IEEE International Conference on Image Processing, 2002

Major Accomplishments:
As Vice President of Publications I am working to institutionalize author education on ethics across the Institute by forming a joint committee from PSPB, MGA, and TAB to define a structure for such education. The resulting programming will proactively address issues such as plagiarism and bibliometric manipulation that presently consume much time in a reactive manner; addressing the challenge proactively will allow for more productive use of volunteer time as well as providing community building and expanding opportunities.

While Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, I developed an Associate Editor Training module for the Signal Processing Society. The goal was to provide AEs with best practices in an interactive forum that encouraged both questions and discussion. The session included three to four associate editors and a moderator in a panel discussion for AEs, and was run yearly at the SPS's large yearly conference ICASSP and also at ICIP. Nearly 80 AEs participated in 2009 & 2010, with 80% rating the module as "extremely helpful" or"very helpful."

As Editor-in-Chief of the Transactions on Multimedia, I inherited a journal with poor paper handling, many disenfranchised authors, and a lack of procedure and policies for both AEs and for awards. I implemented clear guidelines for paper handling and made myself available to the AEs as a resource; personally contacted authors and managed papers that had been poorly handled; and created an awards process that emphasized transparency, fairness, and integrity. Clear communication with and developing a team-based attitude within the editorial board substantially improved paper handling and author satisfaction. I set a target of first reviews back to authors at six weeks and over the three year period we moved from a 12 week average time to 6.5.

While chair of the SPS Image & Multidimensional DSP Technical Committee in 2006, I developed guidelines for technical co-sponsorship of conferences and workshops for the SPS, to ensure that uniform standards for quality were applied to all entities seeking technical co-sponsorship. These guidelines currently represent SPS's policy and are in practice today.

My first PSPB SPC meeting as chair in April 2013 was a substantial change from the previous two years of meetings; the weekend was a strategic planning exercise facilitated (excellently) by John Keaton with the goal of thinking outside of the current IEEE publications-based business models and developing a 10-year vision for the IEEE. An important core value emerged from this meeting: first and foremost, the IEEE is a technical community first and a publisher second. Endorsement of this value by the committee provided the necessary impulse to move the Professional Productivity and Collaboration Tool rapidly forward in 2013 with our now target launch of first quarter 2015.

As technical program co-chair of IEEE ICIP 2012, my co-chair Gaurav Sharma and I implemented substantial improvements to the review process (we received approximately 2400 submissions and ensured that each paper received at least three reviews). Specifically, based on feedback we had received in our volunteer roles with SPS conferences in previous years, we implemented (1) a reviewer feedback mechanism,by which authors could respond to reviewers on both technical comments and on the usefulness of the review; (2) a reviewer scoring system, by which area chairs rated reviews in terms of the quality of the written justifications and accuracy of the scores; (3) a results-to-reviewers feedback mechanism by which reviewers received information about the ultimate decisions on the papers they reviewed. The feedback we received from the community was extremely positive.

From the production side of the publications process, my experiences with IEEE publications are as an author (20 years of experience), reviewer (20 years), associate editor (6 years), editor-in-chief (3years), and end user (23 years), and I will bring my experience in these roles to the position. I am also a professional educator and have to regularly develop new material and ways of marketing it to my students, and therefore I understand the need to adapt to new media and technologies to continue to serve my constituency.

From the business side of publications, my experience on PSPB, PSPBSPC, and PSPB PSC have given me a multi-dimensional perspective on IEEE publications issues, from an operational view (PSPB), an aspirational view (SPC), and from a practical view (PSC).

As a leader, I am a consensus builder and I value and solicit the viewpoints and participation of all stakeholders; I will seek out the input of others if they do not actively offer it. However, I also am decisive and once a decision has been made I am very action-oriented in developing an efficient and feasible implementation plan and in moving forward. I am also data-driven and base decisions on rational thought and facts. I have experience driving institutional change at my former institution, Cornell University, where I led a 5-year $4MNSF-funded ADVANCE grant toward recruitment, retention, and advancement into leadership positions of women faculty in the sciences and engineering. The grant implemented significant changes in approaches to these goals and the programming that it created has now been institutionalized into the university as normal operating procedure.

Position Statement:
IEEE should be the one-stop shopping point for not only the technicalcommunity but also the general public on technology questions. This involves (1) broadening our technical community via providing value-added services, including but not limited to member use/access to IEEE Xplore® content; (2) outreach to the general public. Google indexes; we have the community and the content. Elsevier publishes; we have the community. The community is the resource that both provides our content and maintains itself.

Moving toward this end, the IEEE needs to understand and develop radical new business models that go substantially beyond relying on big-ticket IEL subscriptions. These models must incorporate open access, they must be targeted to drawing in new technical communities that are outside our classical realm (an excellent example of such a non-standard the open source software community), and they must be member-centric and designed to provide value and services.

Specific strategies that are required to move us toward these goals include:

  1. strategies for making Xplore the "one-stop shopping point" for technical information for a larger technical community than is currently served. In order to do this, we need robust mechanisms to vet/incorporate new content that is non-IEEE (for example, we have been asked to host both existing and new journals from China, such as Tsinghua Science and Technology).
  2. a broad strategy for implementing quality control on the IEEE-sponsored material that goes into Xplore at the front end (rather than the current approach of mining Xplore for suspicious content).PSPB should work with other OUs to determine the most effective and efficient manner to achieve this goal. However, PSPB can and should implement baseline vetting requirements for conferences that would share features with technical co-sponsorship guidelines (e.g.,evidence of the participation of relevant IEEE technical committees). I as VP would be happy to vet technical program chairs/committees from conferences prior to accepting their material as a demonstration of the feasibility of this approach. Furthermore, we must implement accountability on the part of the sponsoring societies. The after-the-fact Xplore repair/purging as a default condition is not a sustainable model.
  3. strategies to explore the immediacy (e.g., post now/crowd-sourced reviews) v. vetting (e.g., the standard lengthy review process for journal articles) question in an active manner. IEEE Access is one approach on the continuum, but we need faster venues as well.
  4. Lastly, we need immediate approaches to maintaining timeliness and quality of our journals when faced with the the increasing pressure placed on our review process by submissions from emerging markets. To achieve this, we should implement EiC and AE training as to standards and expectations for handling papers. More importantly, we need to implement a reviewer certification process as an exportable module that should be run in China and India, but also in any other IEEE-served region, which will will serve dual duty as not only reviewer training but also an author training process as well, in educating the participants as to what constitutes a "good" paper.



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