Constitution of SIGSLAV:
the ACL Special Interest Group on
Slavic Natural Language Processing

  1. Statement of Purpose
  2. Elected Officers
  3. Membership
  4. Elections
  5. Voting Procedure
  6. Resource Management
Appendix: language list

1. Statement of Purpose

The languages of the Slavic group play an ever-growing role in NLP, due to their rich cultural heritage, widespread use, and the rapidly expanding consumer markets for NLP solutions for these languages. There are a number of concrete raisons d'être for the Special Interest Group on Slavic Natural Language Processing, including:

The purpose of the SIG—the Association for Computational Linguistics Special Interest Group on Slavic Natural Language Processing—is to:

SIGSLAV operates within the framework of the ACL's general guidelines for SIGs.

2. Elected Officers

The elected officers of the SIG shall include The term of all elected officers of the SIG shall be two (2) years or shorter, if the elected officers organize the elections earlier.

2.1 Chair

The duties of the Chair shall be to:

2.2 Vice-Chair

The duties of the Vice-Chair shall be to:

2.3 Secretary

The duties of the Secretary shall be to:

2.4 Resource Managers

The duties of the Resource Managers shall be to: At least two (2) Resource Managers shall be appointed.

2.5 International Advisory Committee

The elected officers will nominate an International Advisory Committee that includes at least one representative associated with each primary language of interest. A primary language of interest is here defined as a Slavic language that is also an official language in any state. For a current list, please see the Appendix. The duties of the International Advisory Committee shall consist of: The Committee shall have at least eight (8) active members.

3. Membership

3.1 Joining

Membership is open to anyone who expresses an interest in NLP in Slavic languages. ACL membership is not required. Membership can be obtained either through provided electronic means or by filling a membership form in conjunction with a SIG meeting. There is no membership fee. Upon joining the new member will be asked to declare her/his primary language of interest. The primary language of interest may be changed at any time; however, a member may be associated with only one primary language of interest at any given time. This information will be used in the Voting procedure (See Clauses 4 and 5).

3.2 Termination

Membership will be terminated on explicit request by the member. Membership termination requests are to be submitted electronically to the Secretary.

4. Elections

All elected officers of the SIG shall be elected by a vote of the membership. If a vacancy occurs among the officers of the SIG, remaining elected officers may nominate a replacement officer who will serve out up to the remainder of the previous office holder's term.

Nominations three months before election

Nominations shall be called at least three (3) months prior to the election, and shall close two (2) months prior to the election. SIG members will be given notice to submit nominations for SIG officers. Candidates must be nominated by two members, must accept nomination, must be in good standing of SIGSLAV.

Voting two months before election

Voting shall commence at least two (2) months before the expiration of the current terms of the officers. All members shall be notified of the election date and the nominations at least four (4) weeks prior to the close of voting. Votes may be entered by electronic or physical mail or other designated means. Votes arriving by the notified closing date will be counted. The votes will be counted by the Secretary or another officer appointed by the International Advisory Committee and agreed to by all candidates.

Announcement of the results

Any nominee receiving a majority of the votes will be declared elected. The results shall be notified to the members within four (4) weeks immediately after the announcement of the results, and the previous officers will remain active for three (3) months to ease the transition. Notification shall signify dispatch of mail by the medium and to the address last notified to the Secretary.

5. Voting Procedure

Voting is decided by majority in two stages: In the event of a tie, it is resolved by the Chair of the SIG.

Current official languages are listed in the Appendix.

Clarification on the choice of the Voting Procedure:

In deciding on the Voting Procedure, we considered several options:

  1. one vote per member
  2. one vote per country
  3. one vote per (Slavic) language
  4. one vote per “official” language
  • Option 1 was deemed problematic due to the skew in the representation of the various Slavic languages, both in terms of populations and volume of scientific research.
  • Option 2 was deemed problematic with respect to numerous researchers in NLP in Slavic languages, who do not work/live in a country which has an official Slavic language. We did not feel that all countries (around the world) have an equal interest in this SIG.
  • Option 3 was deemed problematic due to the impossibility of defining “language” vs. dialect; this is a well-known problem in linguistics in general, and we sought to avoid it.
Thus, although it is not ideal, Option 4 emerged as the one that is least problematic. Its advantages:
  • a clear, strict formal definition. Note, if the official status of a language changes anywhere, so does the voting landscape;
  • it allows us to avoid issues irrelevant to science, such as those of nationality, bi-lingualism, etc. Each member declares her/his own main language of interest, and contributes votes only to this language;
  • it avoids problems of skew: each group (i.e., representing an official language) gets equal recognition and representation.
NOTE: The text in this frame only provides background information that clarifies the options that were considered with regard to the Voting Procedure.

6. Resource Management

In providing and making available any resources as defined in Clause 1, and especially any held and distributed electronically, the SIG shall follow proper procedures with respect to legal matters such as copyright, registration, and data protection as is appropriate to each case. The SIG shall not enter into any formal or potentially legally binding contracts without the approval of ACL Executive Committee (or the ACL Secretary-Treasurer acting under delegated powers). The SIG shall not enter into any financial commitments for such resources without ensuring that the moneys required are available.


Current official Slavic languages (in alphabetical order) are:

Language Official in State(s)
1. Belarusian Belarus
2. Bosnian Bosnia and Herzegovina
3. Bulgarian Bulgaria
4. Croatian Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina
5. Czech the Czech Republic
6. Macedonian Republic of Macedonia
7. Montenegrin Montenegro
8. Polish Poland
9. Russian Russia, Belarus
10. Serbian Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina
11. Slovak Slovakia
12. Slovene Slovenia
13. Ukrainian Ukraine