It would be nice if the ACM could make its library completely open access (i.e even after the pandemic). Is there a reason ACM should charge access fees for its collection?
The reason they’ve stated in past discussions is that a significant amount of funding comes from institutional ACM DL subscriptions, which pay for the DL and generate some surplus to fund ACM itself. They’re worried everyone will cancel if it becomes open access.
A lot of individual members aren’t very happy about it, and my guess is it’s inevitable that it will eventually become open access. But it will require some changes to the organization’s finances. Either more and/or more expensive individual memberships, or more fundraising from elsewhere (big donations? grants?), or finding a way to cut costs and run the operation on less money.
The best information I’ve seen about this is here: https://sigchi.org/2020/01/sigchi-open-access/
The tl;dr is that publication is apparently their most profitable activity, but they use the proceeds from publication to subsidize other activities. So open access comes down to a choice between cutting other activities that aren’t self-sustaining or obtaining other revenue streams.
I think they could probably do a little bit of both. But I’m biased in that I care more about the publications than their other activities and I think open access is the only conscionable path forward, especially for publicly funded research. I hope they go full open access as soon as possible.
ACM is talking about the community in its values section. If ACM is truly representative of the community, then they should be relying on the community supporting its activities right (through membership fees)? Rather than forcing a paywall. If the community doesn’t care about their other activities to support them, are they truly representative of the community?