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From the IMS President: Jim Pitman

created 22  Mar  2007

Recognizing that the interests of IMS members now span an enormous range from pure mathematical theory to collaborations with scientists in numerous fields, IMS is launching a new journal, The Annals of Applied Statistics, aimed at papers in the applied half of this range. Published quarterly in both print and electronic form, our goal is to provide a timely and unified forum for all areas of applied statistics. The first Editor-in-Chief is Brad Efron, supported by Stephen Fienberg, Editor for social science, government, sample surveys, and economics, by Michael Newton, Editor for biology, medicine, and genetics, by Michael Stein, Editor for physical science, computation, engineering, and the environment, and by a distinguished team of more than 30 associate editors. Please support this journal by submitting your best applied work there.

Conferences, journals, and the IMS Bulletin and website are different ways that the IMS serves its purpose “to foster the development and dissemination of the theory and applications of statistics and probability”. The IMS manages the human and technical infrastructure to provide these services. It is clear that in future most professional communication will occur in the electronic realm, and that the IMS must adapt its infrastructure to respond. The IMS already supports four electronic-only journals in probability, but this development has been slower in statistics. At the Rio meeting in July, IMS council supported the creation of two new electronic journals in statistics: a research journal to be called the Electronic Journal of Statistics, and a survey journal, Statistics Surveys. What is most needed now for success of these journals is authors willing to submit high quality articles to these electronic-only outlets. And wherever you submit your articles, to increase their visibility and impact, please be sure to place a copy on ArXiv, preferably at the time of submission. As a benefit of membership, IMS provides assistance posting articles to ArXiv. If you need assistance, please login to your member account at www.imstat.org and click on the ArXiv links.

In another action at the Rio meeting, IMS council created categories of Departmental and Contributing Membership for organizations that wish to be involved with IMS. The intention is for IMS to support electronic outlets for the aggregation and management of professional information provided by these organizational members. IMS already does this on its web site for job advertisements, with the service paid for by the advertiser, and free to the user. I have been working with IMS on development of software for the automated management and display of other categories of professional information through web services. I hope to see these services supported by the same business model, and if successful these services should generate further advertising revenue. These categories of professional information include biographies and bibliographies (for individuals or institutions), webliographies (annotated links to web resources), abstracts, technical reports, program descriptions, data, software, and potentially any kind of professional information which benefits from organization and aggregation. If you are interested in helping IMS with this development, e.g. by acting as moderator or editor for some novel information forum, or by contributing expertise in databases or web applications such as wikis, please let me know. Appreciating that such developments require a commitment of human resources, IMS Council has approved the creation of a new position on the executive, the Information Technology Secretary, charged with arranging and coordinating all activities concerned with information management for the Institute. If you have suggestions of someone (including yourself) who might be an appropriate choice for this position, please contact me.

To conclude, let me emphasize that the success of IMS as an organization rests on the continuing commitment of members to IMS Committees and other administrative roles. Over the next month or so I will be making new appointments to IMS committees, and if you are willing to serve in some capacity I will be glad to hear from you. One new committee of special importance is the Membership Committee. Here I seek energetic individuals with ideas about what services IMS should provide to attract continued membership from individuals and institutions, and how best to advertise those services. I look forward to hearing your suggestions.

 

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