Digital Library Usage Policies (Individual and Institutional)

Updated April 2018

ACM Digital Library Usage Policies for Institutions

Authorized Users

The following categories of users of the ACM Digital Library (DL) are recognized as Authorized Users: persons affiliated with the Subscribing Institution as students, faculty, registered users or employees, and authorized persons physically present in the Subscribing Institution's library facilities.

Authorized Uses for Institutional DL Subscribers & Consortium Members

The ACM licenses access to its Digital Library of publications and published materials to educational, research, non-profit and non-governmental (NGOs), government, and corporate institutions. These licenses allow large groups of individuals affiliated with these institutions to access the contents of the ACM DL concurrently.

No ownership rights over the materials published within the ACM DL are transferred as part of these licenses, although certain archival and fair use rights do apply to institutional customers. There are no limitations placed on the number of downloads allowed on an annual basis for institutional customers, except for downloads from robotic or systematic activity; however, in most cases there is a direct or indirect relationship between pricing and download activity at the institutional level.

Access is typically granted via Internet Protocol (IP) Authentication. The following uses are authorized for institutional subscribers to the ACM DL:

- Sharing of materials from the ACM DL amongst colleagues from within the same institution
- Use of ACM DL materials in courses, electronic reserves, distance learning courses within the subscribing institution's programs, and participation in established inter-library loan programs.
- A reasonable portion of ACM DL materials are permitted for use in the subscriber's course materials without fee if those materials are produced without charge to the student.
- Electronic Reserves: a college, university or other accredited institution may place a single copy of a definitive version of the work in its library's electronic reserves for the duration of its educational needs for that work, provided that access is limited to its currently enrolled students (including those in its distance learning programs), faculty and staff. Institutions without a current license for such activity should contact [email protected].

- Distance Learning: use of a reasonable portion of the ACM DL content is permitted without fee for distance learning students enrolled at the institution. They have the same access rights to those ACM copyrighted and licensed materials licensed by their institution as granted any other student. Since institutional access is authenticated by IP address, it is up to the institution to provide a proxy server for its remote users, and to register the IP address of that proxy with ACM.
- Interlibrary Loan (ILL): permission is granted without fee for an institution with an ACM DL license to download and print works for ILL as per CONTU guidelines. The ACM DL must be used as the source for the printed or electronic copy.
- Walk-In Users: permission is granted without fee for access to all ACM DL contents for all users physically present and authorized to use the subscribing institution’s library facilities.


The following uses are not permitted under any circumstances:

- Sharing access to ACM DL materials with individuals or organizations outside the subscribing institution.
- Using scripts, spiders or other robotic activity to automatically download articles or harvest metadata from the ACM DL. Such activity is a serious violation of the ACM DL's Terms of Use and will result in the temporary or permanent termination of downloading rights for the subscribing institution.
- The posting of ACM DL materials to any 3rd party server or peer-to-peer network without the prior written permission of the ACM.

ACM Digital Library Usage Policies for ACM Members & Individuals

Individual ACM Members have the option to subscribe to the ACM DL for personal use. Personal use may include reading, viewing, downloading, or printing materials from the ACM DL. The personal use of materials from the ACM DL is not for shared use in an institutional setting, and is permitted for the use of the subscribing ACM Member only.

The following uses are not permitted under any circumstances:

- Sharing of individual usernames and passwords with other individuals
- Transferring an individual's ACM Membership to another individual
- Sharing materials within the ACM DL to other individuals, including but not limited to methods such as emailing files, sharing printed materials, or posting materials from the DL on a server or peer to peer network without prior written permission from ACM. Note: Authors of ACM Publications retain certain distribution rights regarding their own published materials that supersede the above policy.
- Using scripts, spiders or other robotic activity to automatically download articles or harvest metadata from the ACM DL.

ACM Statement on Use of ACM Publications' Supplementary Materials

ACM authors provide supplemental files for many publications in the ACM Digital Library (ACM DL), including software, data sets, and other interactive materials. The reuse of this content follows the rights assigned for the publications. These supplemental materials are considered part of the ACM DL and as such are subject to the same limitations of liability that govern use of the ACM DL by individuals and institutions.

Posting of Author's Accepted Manuscripts (AAM)

After an ACM journal submission has been accepted and has entered the production process, ACM makes the Author’s Accepted Manuscript (AAM) available for preview under the ACM “Just Accepted” program until the “Version of Record” is available and assigned to its proper issue. The AAM carries the article’s permanent DOI and can be cited immediately.

ACM Digital Library Open Access (OA) Policies

ACM'S Hybrid Open Access Revenue Policy

ACM is committed to a transparent anti-double-dipping revenue-neutral policy.

"Double-dipping" refers to a practice of increasing net revenue by charging and retaining OA fees for the same content that is being paid for by subscription.

ACM does not follow this practice.

Until such time as the uptake on author-choice hybrid OA reaches a tipping point that starts to reduce subscriptions, ACM will rebate or provide credits on a going forward basis 100% of the net revenue generated from its Hybrid Open Access publishing program.

In 2018, ACM plans to launch a number of new Gold Open Access journals and will utilize a portion of its growing Hybrid Open Access Fund to underwrite or subsidize the cost of APCs during each Gold OA journals' initial years of publication. In addition, a portion of this Fund will be utilized to underwrite or subsidize the cost of APCs for accepted ACM authors who have demonstrated a clear financial or economic need. ACM believes this re-allocation of Hybrid APC income to underwrite or subsidize the long term transition of its publications program to a sustainable Gold OA model is consistent with ACM's firmly established "anti-double-dipping" policy and the original rationale for the creation of the Hybrid Open Access model over a decade ago, as a way to transition from subscription-based publishing to Gold OA publishing. ACM will continue to experiment with alternative models for Open Access publication and will continue to return the unused portion of its Hybrid Open Access Fund to the community, as it has done since 2015. These details will be communicated further as appropriate at the time of invoicing.

ACM'S Hybrid Open Access Publishing Program

ACM is committed to providing authors of all ACM publications with an option to make the published versions of their works freely available to the general public via the ACM Digital Library.

Authors wishing to take advantage of this option may do so by paying an Open Access fee to ACM prior to publication. Authors who just want to publish their articles for access by ACM's large subscription base may do so without paying any fees.

The Open Access fee option to publish in established subscription-based publications is commonly referred to as the Hybrid Open Access Model.

The Hybrid Open Access Model has existed for a number of years, though different publishers and societies choose to implement it in different ways. Many feel that Hybrid Open Access options are a step in the right direction in making the scholarly literature more openly accessible. But there is also concern that some publishers may unfairly take advantage of such a model for their own financial gain by using open access fees to supplement their existing subscription revenue streams, rather than use them responsibly to address the growing concern over funding in the library environment.

The practice of enhancing net revenues by retaining OA fees for content that is also paid for by subscription has been dubbed "double-dipping".

In developing ACM's Hybrid Open Access model, much consideration was given to concerns raised about this perceived "double-dipping" by some publishers.

As one of the world's leading scientific societies, ACM is committed to publishing policies that advance the goals of scientific discovery, innovation, and education in a sustainable and responsible way. ACM's Hybrid Open Access Program is therefore being implemented in a highly transparent, affordable, and fair way for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders in the scholarly community.

Therefore, until such time that the author uptake on Hybrid Open Access may reach a tipping point leading to cancellation of subscriptions and reduction of revenue, ACM will allocate 100% of the net revenue received from OA fees either towards Gold and Hybrid OA programs, or towards credit for renewing academic libraries (See ACM's Hybrid OA Revenue Policy).

ACM's subscription revenue has not been reduced thus far and it is not expected that it will be reduced by its Open Access program for some time to come. This is in large part due to the fact that ACM is and has been one of the most affordable publishers in terms of content value and subscription prices.

For authors, this means that OA fees are kept to a minimum and sustainable level, as well as the option to take advantage of significant discounts by becoming an ACM member.

For libraries, ACM is committed to rebating and/or crediting, and / or crediting on a global basis 100% of the net returning revenue ACM generates from its Hybrid Open Access program and this revenue to the library community, or allocating this revenue towards the subsidizing of OA programs.

For users of the ACM Digital Library and consumers of ACM's publications this means that more of the scholarly literature from ACM's high quality and impact publications is available to a wider potential audience of readers.

For Funding Agencies and Institutional OA Funds, this means that they can trust that investigators who are recipients of their research funds will be utilizing those funds to publish in a responsible way that keeps these funds in the research community.

If you have questions about ACM's Hybrid Open Access Policy, please contact [email protected] for more information.

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