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ACM Offers a New Approach to Self-Archiving

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ACM Author-Izer

In last month’s issue (p. 5), Publications Board co-chairs Ronald Boisvert and Jack Davidson highlighted some of the recent changes to ACM’s Copyright Policy and at the same time introduced a new service launched several weeks ago. This new service, aptly named the ACM Author-Izer, is a unique link-based self-archiving tool that enables ACM authors to generate and post links on either their home page or institutional repository (IR) that will lead any visitors clicking on these links to a free and definitive version of the author’s article archived inside the ACM Digital Library. The main goals of the service are to offer the computing community the greatest possible access to the definitive versions of published works and to empower ACM’s authors to showcase the definitive versions of their work on their home pages or IRs in a way that is consistent with ACM’s existing subscription model.

In addition to being among the first publishers to offer such a service, ACM is effectively jumping into the Open Access debate with a bold move that crosses the line many other publishers have been hesitant to cross in recent years regarding self-archiving. While we feel very strongly that the existing paid-subscription model coupled with fair and affordable pricing is in the best interest of both the computing community and ACM alike, we also believe strongly that it is in the best interest of the community to provide easy access to only one version of an author’s work, and that this should be the definitive version. Increasingly, access to published work starts with a Google or Google-like search and the user is often given a long list of links to a particular work. In many cases, these links lead to earlier versions of an author’s work or even accepted but not yet published versions. Such versions may be hosted on different sites and it becomes increasingly difficult for users to distinguish between immature pre-published works, accepted but not yet published works, and the definitive works. In addition to the potential confusion caused, the user is oftentimes not using the most "functional" version of the article containing important meta-data, reference links, and figures or images that have been added by the publisher during the final stages of the publication process, nor is the author given valuable feedback in the form of usage statistics for how often their articles are being downloaded and read.

By creating a free and persistent link for the author to post on their own home page or IR and enabling real-time usage statistics to flow through to those pages from the DL archive itself, ACM is encouraging authors to do away with the multiple versions that tend to build up over time on multiple sites and point to the one definitive article that exists. ACM authors continue to enjoy all of the existing rights and benefits of authorship with ACM, but there is now an added benefit that we believe will be embraced by the community.

To "Author-Ize" your own published articles in the ACM Digital Library, simply go to your own ACM Author Profile Page inside the DL, sign in, and follow the comprehensive instructions on how to generate these persistent links. Once you’ve done this, please let us know what you think at portal-feedback@hq.acm.org. Thank you.

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