About ACM’s Decision to Sign Letters Regarding OSTP’s Proposal to Mandate Zero Embargo of Research Articles

“There have been some strong reactions to ACM’s decision to sign on to letters to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) as a response to a new directive that OSTP is preparing to issue. That directive would eliminate the current 12-month embargo period for opening U.S. federally funded research publications.

ACM both supports and enables open access models and has worked to support a long and growing list of open access initiatives (see https://www.acm.org/publications/openaccess), doing so in a responsible and sustainable way. For the past decade, all ACM authors have had the right to post accepted versions of their articles in pre-print servers, personal websites, funder websites, and institutional repositories with a zero embargo. More recently, for example, ACM has introduced the OpenTOC service that enables free full-text downloads from links on conference websites immediately upon publication.

It is important to understand why ACM opted to sign the letters opposed to the OSTP zero embargo directive. A long dialogue between OSTP and scholarly publishers led to broad agreement on the current policy (from 2013) of a 12-month embargo for digital libraries. However, due process was not followed for the proposed change to zero embargo. The new directive fails to take into account the significant progress that has been made by ACM and other societies with respect to open access publication since 2013 and there was no dialogue with stakeholders prior to proposing the change.”

Future of Publishing Group – ACM Future of Computing Academy

“Goal 1:  Develop an evidence based understanding of current best practices in publishing across computing science.

Recent examples of reflection on peer review, which demonstrated significant variation in accept/reject decisions made by program committees (NIPS), and initiatives such as ACM Artefact Review and SIGCHI RepliCHI Award, show a desire from the research community to improve research and publication practice.  This working group will collate an evidence base from the computing science community, bringing together currently disparate efforts in this area.  Our on-going survey of practice will be publicised through a blog aimed at computing science researchers and practitioners.

Goal 2:  Re-imagine a publishing and dissemination culture that exemplifies the values of open access, open data, and rigour.

Values in publication are changing, with more support than ever for open access, open data, transparency, and accessibility.  Often, these values are also mandated by funding bodies that spend public money.  We will develop concepts for a modern approach to knowledge sharing that could support new reviewing processes, enable multimedia archives and resources, incentivise reproducibility and open practices based on empirical evidence.

Goal 3:  Advocate for change in publishing practice based on empirical evidence and ethical values.

This working group will develop channels to put these concepts into practice.  We will disseminate our results to SIG leaders and through the Publications Board to enact change in how publishing practice occurs throughout ACM….”