by

ACI Blog Index: Charging Money for Information About Free Content?

A book opened to its indexLast week, Jeff McClurken posted a query to Facebook: “Why does ACI get to charge people for access to my freely available blog posts?” That post led to a lengthy conversation about ACI’s Scholarly Blog Index. (Readers can view the full conversation, which also included Lee Skallerup Bessette, Sheila Brennan, and Michelle Moravec, here.)

I checked the site out, and discovered some of my own work there, too. I also tried doing a password reset, and, like Michelle Moravec, discovered I already had an account — for which I’d never registered.

Perhaps the account was already set up for me because, as ACI notes in one of its FAQs, authors whose work is indexed receive a free premium subscription.

Subscriptions aren’t hideously expensive; they’re $9.99 per year for individual subscribers. But that subscription is necessary in order to:

  • See the full text of any article or post.

  • See the second page of search results.

  • See the full link to an author’s blog.

There are some other benefits of subscription as well, but I found these troubling (particularly the first and third).

The work that appears on my blog is available to all readers at no cost (as are all posts here at ProfHacker). Yet, ACI sees fit to (1) create a user account for me without my knowledge; (2) index my work; (3) charge users for direct links to my work — work that a quick Google search would turn up fairly readily.

Since I use the CC-BY license, ACI isn’t doing anything legally problematic. But these practices seem not quite right to me.

Do you have any experience with the ACI Scholarly Blog Index? If so, let us know what you think about the site in the comments.

[Lead image by Flickr user J E Theriot]

Return to Top