SUMMARY: The suggestion that the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) does not support Open Access (OA) is incorrect (as was a similar suggestion about the American Psychological Association (APA) a year ago). The ACM is fully Green on both preprint and postprint self-archiving: it already formally endorses immediate, unembargoed deposit in the author’s Institutional Repository (IR). What the ACM does not support is the blanket adoption of the author’s addendum, which asks for more than this.
The author’s addendum is welcome when there is agreement to adopt it; but it is not necessary in order to provide OA when the journal is already Green on OA (as 63% of journals already are). All ACM authors can already make their articles OA without it. The institutions that mandate Green OA self-archiving via the author’s addendum should optimize their mandates so that their authors can comply with them by depositing in their IR even without also having to adopt the author’s addendum when publishing in fully Green journals, rather than leaving authors with no option but to opt out of depositing altogether in such cases, if the journal does not agree to adopt the author’s addendum. (Harvard has already modified its mandate so as to require deposit even when the author opts out of adopting the author’s addendum.)
Harvard’s Michael Mitzenmacher suggests — though somewhat cautiously, acknowledging that there might be some misinformation involved — that “The ACM Does NOT Support Open Access.”
This is reminiscent of a similar case last July, in which it was the APA (American Psychological Association) that was being raked over the coals as being anti-OA (for trying to charge a $2500 deposit fee for making a direct central deposit in PubMed Central in compliance with NIH’s Green OA self-archiving mandate). The APA later backed off the fee, but even before that I had to point out that the APA was already on the side of the angels insofar as OA was concerned, because it was completely Green on immediate, unembargoed OA self-archiving of both the preprint and the postprint — but only in the author’s Institutional Repository (IR). Since this already makes the IR deposit OA, I suggested that it was NIH that ought to optimize its mandate by allowing authors to fulfill it through direct deposit in their own IR, instead of insisting on direct central deposit in PubMed Central; the metadata of the IR deposit can then be automatically exported to PubMed Central via the SWORD protocol. (NIH is now considering adopting this option.)
By exactly the same token, it is completely incorrect to say that the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) does not support Open Access. Just like the APA, the ACM is completely Green on both preprint and postprint self-archiving. That means it too endorses immediate, unembargoed deposit in the author’s institutional repository. What the ACM does not support is the author’s addendum, which asks for more than this.
Current standard ACM copyright agreement:
Rights Retained by Authors and Original Copyright Holders Under the ACM copyright transfer agreement, the original copyright holder retains… the right to post author-prepared versions of the work covered by ACM copyright in a personal collection on their own Home Page and on a publicly accessible server of their employer, and in a repository legally mandated by the agency funding the research on which the Work is based. Such posting is limited to noncommercial access and personal use by others…
Author?s Retention of Rights. Notwithstanding any terms in the Publication Agreement to the contrary, AUTHOR and PUBLISHER agree that in addition to any rights under copyright retained by Author in the Publication Agreement, Author retains: (i) the rights to reproduce, to distribute, to publicly perform, and to publicly display the Article in any medium for noncommercial purposes; (ii) the right to prepare derivative works from the Article; and (iii) the right to authorize others to make any non-commercial use of the Article so long as Author receives credit as author and the journal in which the Article has been published is cited as the source of first publication of the Article.
Now the author’s addendum is a fine, indeed desirable thing, when there is agreement to adopt it; but it is not necessary in order to provide OA — and particularly not when the journal is already Green on OA (as 63% of journals already are). So since the ACM journals are all already completely Green, there is no need for the author’s addendum. ACM authors can already make all of their ACM articles OA without it. As in the case of NIH, the institutions that mandate Green OA via the author’s addendum should optimize their mandates so that their authors can fulfill their mandates by depositing in their IR even without the author’s addendum in the case of articles published in journals that are already Green on immediate OA self-archiving (as ACM journals are), rather than leaving authors with no option but to opt out of depositing altogether under those conditions. (Harvard has already modified its mandate so as to require deposit even when the author opts out of adopting the author’s addendum.)
ACM’s current President, Wendy Hall, is not only the one who adopted the world’s first Green OA Mandate (when she was Head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science of the University of Southampton), but she was also instrumental in the adoption of the European Research Council’s Green OA mandate, and other Green OA mandates as well. If she is to be written to — as Michael Mitzenmacher suggests — it should be to thank her for her enormous contributions to OA, rather than to complain that ACM has not yet agreed to the author’s addendum.
In Defense of the American Psychological Association’s Green OA Policy (July 2008)
The OA Deposit-Fee Kerfuffle: APA’s Not Responsible; NIH Is. PART I.
The OA Deposit-Fee Kerfuffle: APA’s Not Responsible; NIH Is. PART II.
Upgrade Harvard’s Opt-Out Copyright Retention Mandate: Add a No-Opt-Out Deposit Clause (Feb 2008)
NIH Open to Closer Collaboration With Institutional Repositories (Feb 2009)
Harvard Mandate Adds ID/OA, Hurray! (Mar 2009)