Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Why is WiMob so expensive?

WiMob -- officially the IEEE International Conference on Wireless and Mobile Computing, Networking, and Communications -- is a prominent conference in communications and networking, organized by the IEEE Computer Society. It also happens to be far more expensive than its peers.

Suppose you're a professor with two graduate students; both your students have accepted papers, and all three of you want to attend the conference. The cost (just for registration) is given below for WiMob, compared with several peer conferences, from 2011 and 2012.

(For the professor, we're assuming the least expensive "limited" registration, at the early-bird IEEE or ACM member rate. For the students, we're assuming the student IEEE or ACM member rate. The plot is sorted in increasing order of 2012 cost.)

First off, kudos to ComSoc for running some of the least expensive conferences in the space.

So what makes WiMob 50% more expensive than PIMRC? It's the double whammy of a high student registration rate ($570, compared with $300-350 at most of the others), plus the requirement that each paper have a non-student registration (or an extra paper fee, almost as much as a registration). Three papers per registration is typical of the other conferences.

However, even if we consider a professor and one student with one paper, WiMob is still the most expensive for 2012, and second-most for 2011:
On the WiMob 2011 web site, the organizers say that "Due to the low acceptance ratio, each paper must have one full registration." And WiMob is a smaller conference than, say, ICC or Globecom, so it doesn't have the same economies of scale.

Yet ACM's Sigcomm is a smallish conference with a lower acceptance ratio than WiMob (see here), and still manages to be quite a bit less expensive. So what's going on with WiMob?

(Hat tip to Allen Mackenzie for pointing this out.)

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