“In a recent letter to the White House, a group of corporate publishers and scholarly organizations implore the president to leave intact the current arrangements between publicly funded researchers and the publishing industry. Their letter is the latest move in a decades-long struggle between researchers and publishers over who controls the fruits of the researchers’ labor….
At least one learned society is already reconsidering the issue. The Association for Computing Machinery released a statement on January 9, saying that it regretted signing onto the publishers’ letter and reiterating its commitment to open access. We hope that readers of this essay will contact the leaders of their own learned societies to express their support for open science and their opposition to continuing the current publishing model. In order to solve the challenges the world now faces, the public needs reliable, affordable science. Producing it will require scientific institutions — including systems of scientific publishing — that serve science instead of holding it for ransom.”
“Over the past few weeks, ACM leadership has listened to the concerns of our members regarding a letter we signed on to that addressed a forthcoming US Presidential Executive Order regarding the embargo of US federally-funded research. Our members have raised many important issues about the content of that letter. In response, ACM is sending a follow up letter to Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to clarify ACM’s position on Open Access and its support for a sustainable approach to Open Access. It will make the points we outline below.
The letter was interpreted by some ACM members as indicating that ACM is against Open Access. This could not be further from our intention. ACM chose to take the first steps in support of Open Science ideals almost a decade ago—long before the existence of Plan S in Europe or the 2013 US OSTP Open Access Mandate. For years, ACM authors have had the right to post accepted versions of their works to non-commercial repositories (including arXiv and institutional repositories). ACM-sponsored conferences can choose to make their proceedings publicly available from their own websites, either for a limited time or permanently. ACM Special Interest Groups can choose to make the publications from all their conferences publicly available.
ACM is committed to a sustainable future where all peer-reviewed scholarly articles will be Open Access. The transition to this model will take time and needs to be done in a way that ensures sustainability. Full Open Access will benefit the field of computer science significantly by increasing the sharing and citation of research accomplishments. Some of you commented on the US-centric focus of the White House directive and ACM’s response. The Executive Order would only impact research supported by US federal funding. However, as a global organization ACM is also engaged with related efforts in Europe, Japan, China, and elsewhere.
We regret that co-signing the letter regarding the Executive Order created confusion and concern. Our publications policies and our focus on developing sustainable publication models for Open Access are both long-standing and forward-looking. Financially “sustainable” publications models are key to ACM’s future and its ability to reinvest in activities that promote the scientific foundations of computing. It is worth saying that ACM, too, had concerns about some language and the general tone of the letter, but ultimately decided that those concerns were outweighed by the risks associated with the White House issuing an Executive Order without proper consultation with stakeholders or consideration of the ramifications. In retrospect, we misgauged how our participation would be interpreted by the community. For this we are indeed sorry….”
“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.”
“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….”