The ACM and Harvard authors

Harvard computer scientist Michael Mitzenmacher reports that the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) does not accept Harvard’s author addendum and asks Harvard authors to seek a waiver from the school’s OA mandate.  In a clarification sent to Mizenmacher’s colleague, Salil Vadhan, the ACM explained that it does allow OA archiving in the Harvard repository but does not allow all the reuse rights required by the Harvard addendum.  The ACM and Harvard’s Office of Scholarly Communication are discussing the matter.  See Mitzenmacher’s post, The ACM Does NOT Support Open Access, My Biased Coin, April 29, 2009.

Stevan Harnad underscores the ACM clarification:  that the ACM journals are green and allow author-initiated preprint and postprint archiving.  See his post, APA Kerfuffle Redux: No, ACM is NOT Anti-OA, Open Access Archivangelism, April 30, 2009.

Comment.  I suspect that many publishers are like the ACM, either in permitting gratis but not libre OA archiving, or in permitting only a more limited form of libre archiving than Harvard would like.  Hence, the result of the Harvard-ACM discussions should have wider application.

Update (5/1/09).  See the second installment of Stevan Harnad’s comments.  Excerpt:

The nuances here are about the differences between "gratis" OA (free online access) and "libre" OA (free online access plus certain further re-use rights).

I will make no secret of what my own view on this is — and I’ve been at this for a very, very long time: Free online access ("gratis OA") is all you need in order to make all the rest happen….

Libre OA asks for more, and entails more complications. Hence it is both harder to agree on adopting a Libre OA mandate, and harder to get compliance (rather than opt-out). The right strategy is hence to stick to mandating Gratis OA for now. Gratis OA is urgent; addenda can wait….