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Communications of the ACM

Letters to the Editor

Who Will Read PACM?

Letters to the Editor, illustration


None of the three articles on the proposed Proceedings of the ACM—proposal, pro, and con—as coordinated by Joseph A. Konstan and Jack W. Davidson and introduced through their column "Should Conferences Meet Journals and Where? A Proposal for 'PACM' " (Sept. 2015) addressed what should be the fundamental concern for any publication: Who will actually read (and subscribe to) it? Would PACM, independent of the merits of the proposal for authors, have any value for ACM if it has no readers? I have some sympathy for academic researchers who produce high-quality conference papers yet do not get full academic credit for their work. But that is a problem with "academic scoring," and producing a publication whose sole value proposition is fixing that problem receives no sympathy from me.

The challenge for ACM should be how to deliver quality research to the more general ACM membership, not just the research community but practitioners who can actually apply the results of the research. Not every paper needs to have an immediate practical application, but I have read many conference papers that deserved exposure to a wider audience, particularly for papers I read 25 years ago that addressed problems only now becoming widely understood within industry. Communications has made substantial progress in this direction over the past few years, and ACM Queue should be considered a success. ACM must understand the era of making money with paper is over, and adding a publication whose only subscribers are potential authors and libraries with the money and space for "archival publications" represents a step in the wrong direction.


K.R. Chowdhary

It is good proposal of publishing good quality of papers through PACM for wider accessibility. The ACM's readers were probability missing this facility. It is important to note that, lot of talks are there for publishing the research, for the researchers, by researchers. However, this research takes lot of time to reach to the undergraduate students, and even lower standards. The reason being there is no academic credits for writing a book. At university level, it is research publications which counts for the progress in career. At many places (Universities) there is same weightage for writing a book and writing an article. Writing a good book requires my years concentrated effort. The best way one can write is in synchronous with teaching, and as per the interactions and feedback from students, doing it better and better. I think, no university faculty can write a good book in less than 5 years. And, that is the duration required for doing the PhD. However, the credit one gets is far less.

Of course, the ACM has taken the job to publish quality books through researchers, but, those are only for postgraduate level. The conclusion is, that a major part, say 95%, of the society or even more, does not have access to research in digestible form.

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