As you may know I’m Chair of ACM SIGWEB and as such twice a year I attend the Special Interest Group Governing Board meeting. This time there was plenty of discussion about open publishing and we’ve just received a quick summary of what happened at the Pubs Board and Council Meetings. The Council has approved:
Adding an option of license instead of copyright (discussion raised issues where authors or institutions prefer copyright transfer). For now, this will be an exclusive license, but there was substantial discussion of the desire in some parts of our community to explore non-exclusive license options. That will continue to be explored as we move forward. Expect the actual transition sometime next year, as it requires both legal work and a bunch of systems updates.
An author-pays option, as discussed (differential rates, member discounts, all to be worked out), with a few notable changes from the SGB discussion: there was support for the idea of a conference or SIG paying open access for selected papers (such as best paper award winners), if they so choose; author pays was decoupled from choosing a CC3.0 license. Under author pays, ACM will take a limited non-exclusive license that enables ACM to publish it free forever in the DL, but the author will manage other rights (including whether or not to allow their work to appear, for instance, in for-profit publications). Note that this option provides exactly what some in our community have asked for, but in this case at a fee. It allows someone who already irrevocably made something open to publish in an ACM publication. It also allows those who want open access, but only non-profit open access, to choose that option.
SIG Options and Experiments – SIGs can open conference proceedings in the DL for up to one month surrounding the conference. Up to two weeks prior to conference, with notice of earlier publication in CFP. A contiguous period before/during/after totaling up to a month. SIGs may use this as a way to provide free on-site access to registrants. SIGs can also have an “authorizer-style” table of contents for proceedings on their site or the conference site. This is only the “current conference” and will be replaced by the next conference proceedings (or one year, for non-regular events). This is a three-year experiment.
So that’s it – to me this seems like a good compromise and shows that the ACM is moving forward to address the needs of our community while also trying to keep value in the DL which provides for things like student research competitions, student travel awards, and the other good works the ACM provides.