I took a vacation from the blog to avoid interrupting Tim’s blogging spree (see 1 2 3 4), but now that things have settled down I figured it’s time to contribute a post. I have recently taken over from Yiling Chen as the editor of SIGecom Exchanges (the glamorous official title is “editor-in-chief”, but there is only one other editor—the puzzle editor). Exchanges has been published since 2000, and initially mainly included technical papers. A quick perusal of issue 1.1 finds two (out of four) papers that actually have “electronic commerce” in their titles, alongside all-time classics such as “Dynamic Modification of XML Documents: External Application Invocation from XML“. (My sarcasm shouldn’t be interpreted as criticism, naturally the focus of Exchanges has evolved over time together with the community.)
When Vince Conitzer took over as editor-in-chief in 2007, he completely overhauled Exchanges. Since then, Exchanges has been a sort of journal-newsletter hybrid (journewsletter?). Almost all articles are invited letters, which are seen as “advertisements” of full research papers that have been (or will be) published elsewhere. Previous issues have also occasionally included announcements of upcoming conferences and books. This format has been quite successful, at least judging by the willingness of many prominent researchers to contribute letters.
The next issue of Exchanges, in December 2012, will feature a few small innovations. In addition to the usual letters, the plan is to include one significantly longer article—a survey or a detailed presentation of a research agenda—in each issue; the first will be contributed by Eric Budish. In addition, David Parkes—the chair of SIGecom—will contribute an update about the SIG’s activities (the idea is that it would be nice to receive updates more frequently than once per year, in annual EC business meetings).
Going forward, I am wondering about the future role of Exchanges. In particular, in light of my day job as a blogger, I wonder whether things like conference and book announcements are more timely and visible when they appear on (potentially multiple) blogs. The big advantage of Exchanges is that it encourages contributions from many members of the community rather than a few random bloggers. However, perhaps it would be more interesting to ask (some) contributors to write about a favorite paper by others, rather than their own work? If so, what would be the incentive to do that? What about opinion pieces? Book reviews? More generally, I want to gauge the extent to which people read SIGecom Exchanges today, as I don’t want to fix something that isn’t broken. Do you find Exchanges to be a useful source of information? Which features would you like to see in future issues?