APA Kerfuffle Redux: No, ACM is NOT Anti-OA

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Wed, 29 Apr 2009 22:35:29 -0400

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 copyright addendum,
which asks for more than this. 

Now the copyright 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 publisher is already
Green on OA. So since the ACM is already completely Green, there is
no need for the copyright 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 copyright addendum should
optimize their mandates so that authors can fulfill them even without
the copyright addendum in the case of articles published in journals
that are already Green on immediate OA self-archiving, rather than
leaving authors with no option but to opt out of depositing
altogether under those conditions. (Harvard has already modified its
mandate to require deposit even when the author opts out of adopting
the copyright agreement.)

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
theEuropean 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 copyright 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)

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Received on Thu Apr 30 2009 - 03:37:34 BST

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