I’m delighted to report that USENIX, probably the most important technical society at which I publish (and on whose board I serve), has taken a long-overdue lead toward openly disseminating scientific research. Effective immediately, all USENIX proceedings and papers will be freely available on the USENIX web site as soon as they are published. (Previously, most of the organization’s proceedings required a member login for access for the first year after their publication.)
For years, many authors have made their papers available on their own web sites, but the practice is haphazard, non-archivial, and, remarkably, actively discouraged by the restrictive copyright policies of many journals and conferences. So USENIX’s step is important both substantively and symbolically. It reinforces why scientific papers are published in the first place: not as a proprietary revenue source, but to advance the state of the art for the benefit of society as a whole.
From Matt Blaze, “USENIX to make all conference proceedings freely available.”