Tuesday, February 19, 2013

CACM and the ACM Digital Library (&Open Access)

The february issue of the CACM contains a letter about proposals and trending ideas for ACM's digital library access in the current context where many academic/government research funding agencies are increasingly seeking free and open access to tax payers' funded work - the article skates over two possible  aspects - see Open Access position statement...

1. Some funding agencies will not pay for "gold" (author pays) - this is excluded if an institute has its own repository (e.g. Cambridge University has a copyright library and DSpace and other systems and has been around a bit longer than the ACM.....
2. Most of the DL content is authored, reviewed, edited, and even copies are hosted by ACM members - a very simple system would be to cover the costs of the DL completely from membership and conference/journal subscription income, but still allow 100% open access (open links and copies) - there's no evidence that systems that do this (Usenix, ArXiv, Wikipedia) fail. It behoves the ACM Publications Board to a) let us know what this would cost in terms of increases ACM and SIG membership annual fees and b) to estimate the impact (negative or possibly positive) on membership numbers....

Some SIGs (like SIGCOMM, since I was chair) have published fully open access to all the conference papers for a long time with no apparent negative impact on the SIG's membership or attendance at events (possibly positive, although that would be anecdotal only)

I think it would be interesting to canvas the entire ACM membership on this - there's a strong collegiate tradition in the ACM, and the idea of a "wholly membership owned not-for-profit free (green) open access digital library of the main repository of 75 years of Computer Science, would probably be very attractive to many people.

Looking at the rest of the issue, you can see many articles and papers of current interest that show what a lively and relevant organisation the ACM is and how timely much of the CACM material is - for example, earlier this week in Cambridge we had talks about dark silicon (and what ARM is doing about it), and lo and behold, there it is in the Research Highlights section, in the clearest and most accessible possible terms...and should be available to anyone in the world concerned with the future of our subject -

power, parallelism or reliability?

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