Since the ACM envies the bad press the IEEE gets…

I have ranted aplenty previously about the sheer stupidity of IEEE Xplore, and it now seems that ACM is trying to steal some of that spotlight. The ACM publications board has decided to shut down some of the most useful resources available on the web for indexing recent conference papers, such as Tim Rowley old famous SIGGRAPH paper webpages, and Ke-Sen Huang‘s more recent incredible effort. ACM Publications Board, meet the Streisand effect. I’m sure you’ll get along very well.

Drs Boisvert, Rushmeier and Ozsu:

I have just finished grad school and have started receiving invitations to join the ACM as a member. As I have been a student member of ACM SIGGRAPH for the last couple of years, I have given serious thought to becoming a full member of ACM. I did so despite there not being a single ACM service I could think of that I routinely used day-to-day. Google has won, and the services it provides me are better than your indexing tools. Still, I understand and agree with the ACM goal, stated on your website, to “provide […] its members and the computing profession with leading-edge publications, conferences, and career resources.”.  As I am sure you are aware and agree with me, computer science research has a huge impact in industry, which in turn changes people’s lives. This is meant to be, and is a good thing. All dissemination of computer science research is morally right. Stopping it is wrong. The goal of the ACM is to push computing forward. With your decision of disallowing listing of recent publications, you are holding it back. You are putting the ACM in a morally wrong position, one which will ultimately lose, and most importantly, will simply not achieve your goals. In fact, what are your goals, exactly?

With this recent decision of disallowing linking to webpages that contain the author’s original work and is clearly meant for dissemination, you put me in the uncomfortable situation of wishing you didn’t exist. If the ACM were not here right now, Google would still exist, and I would still find those papers (as a matter of fact, I still can!). So you turned ACM into a tool for making it harder to disseminate research. Please realize that the proverbial horse has left the barn, about ten years ago. ACM should be setting the example, and it seems to be utterly failing to do so.

Please make me want to be an ACM member again – make me want you to still exist. Reconsider this wrong, ineffective, poorly-conceived decision. People vote with their feet. I know I will.

Yours,

Carlos Scheidegger

Update: Holly Rushmeier (very quickly) replied to my letter saying “a resolution is in the works”, and that we should expect to see the results soon.

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One response to “Since the ACM envies the bad press the IEEE gets…

  1. 2 years later, and Tim Rowley’s pages are still down.

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