ACM Adopts Open Access Publishing Model
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Friday, 05 April 2024

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, the professional body for computer scientists, has relaunched Communications of the ACM, the organization’s flagship magazine, as a web-first publication, accessible to everyone without charge. The move is part of the ACM's plan to move all the contents of the ACM Digital Library to an open access model.

First published in 1958, CACM is one of the most respected information technology magazines. Providing news, expert commentary, and peer-reviewed research, it is simultaneously a  technical resource for industry professionals, a scientific journal and a popular science magazine. In relaunching it as an open access publication, all existing and future CACM articles will be freely available to and accessible by everyone on the CACM website and in the ACM Digital Library. 

The web-first model will allow ACM to publish articles more rapidly than before so that readers can keep abreast of changes in the computing field. Equally, researchers will be able to reference and cite valuable information and research from CACM articles more quickly. The re-engineered website will also allow CACM authors to publish longer articles and make greater use of video and other multimedia content.

According to the ACM:

CACM will be even more user-friendly with improved search capabilities, more interactivity, simplified categorization of articles in new sections, daily content updates, and a modern, spacious design that lends itself to all devices.

The initial announcement that the ACM was moving its publications to a fully open access publishing model was made in September 2023.  First in line were the International Conference Proceedings Series (ICPS) which consists of publications of material from conferences, technical symposia and workshops. The series is stored in the ACM Digital Library, the repository of computer science research, making the material more visible to the international computing community.


ACM has published more than 75,000 research papers in the ACM Digital Library (DL) from over 2,000 conferences through the ICPS program since it was established in 2002. All ICPS published articles appear in the DL and are assigned digital object identifiers (DOIs). The aim of this is to make them easier to discover and to provide a persistent reference that can be used when linking and archiving in digital preservation repositories. Around four million unique users from 195 countries use the library every month, and on average generate 4.4 million page views and 1.75 million downloads each month.

Dame Wendy Hall, University of Southampton and Co-chair ACM Publications Board, said that the move to the open access model is better for authors:

"According to ACM's publication data, OA articles are downloaded and cited roughly 70% more frequently, on average, than those behind a paywall."

Divesh Srivastava, AT&T, Co-chair ACM Publications Board, also noted that, as part of ACM's strategy to become an entirely open access publisher, more authors publishing as part of the ICPS program will not have to pay author processing charges (APC's):

"A significant (and increasing) proportion of ICPS authors will be covered by their institution's membership of the ACM Open program."

The move to open access is also being driven by US government mandates requiring open publication of the results of taxpayer-supported research. Hall and Srivastava also noted that ACM will be the first major computer science publisher to transition to a fully open access model for all its research publications, and that other publishers are expected to follow.

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More Information

ACM Website

Related Articles

Access ACM Digital Library for Free

ACM Awards For Contributions in AI and ML

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Last Updated ( Friday, 05 April 2024 )