ACM Author-izer Service

When I learned about the ACM Author-izer Service (, I was initially pleased. This is intended to be a way for authors to freely share access to the “authorized” ACM version of a conference publication. I didn’t jump right out and use it though, because it’s just not high on my priority list to change things up.

More recently, I saw someone else use it, so I reconsidered whether I should begin using it. I had clicked through to a paper, selected the author-izer option, and was all ready to get my link, when I saw that it wanted to know the URL of the page that would be referring to it.

Uh, sorry, but that’s not something I can provide. Not that I don’t know some (most) of the URLs that might be referring to it from my site, but they don’t allow multiple URLs. Just one. (per author). So I could put the link on exactly one webpage (well, URL anyway). That just doesn’t work for me. I have bibliography items listed in at least 5 places, and most in at least 6. There’s my departmental profile, my departmental home page, my online CV, my personal website, and my research group’s website. Then, in most cases, there is a blog entry written about the article too, that provides a link to the article.

So, thanks but no thanks. Maintaining consolidated download statistics just isn’t that important to me, nor is having the “authorized” version of the paper available to my readers.

However, in reading about this, I did learn that I need to make sure all my ACM papers on my site are “preprint” versions, meaning they are specifically NOT the ACM authorized version. Just as well, since for some papers, we want to fix typos, too.

In case you are reading this wondering why all the complexity, it has to do with copyrights. At ACM venues, when authors publish work there, they reassign their copyright to ACM, for reasons that are debatable, and have been debated my many, recently (search the web for Open Access, ACM, and USENIX). Authors only retain the right to distribute “preprint” versions of their paper. Granted ACM’s policy is better than some publishers, though not as good as USENIX.

So in conclusion: if you maintain only one website where you post links to papers — great. Use Author-izer. Otherwise, I’m not sure its worth your time.

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