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Why You Should Be Happy to Sign In!

  1. Article
the full text of this article is premium content

For many of us, being confronted with those five dreaded words "This article is premium content" is nothing but a frustration. Many in the community would prefer all publications just be made freely available without barriers, constraints, or roadblocks that get in our way of downloading exactly what we want to read when we want to read it. And there are those who are not even aware that signing in is required to access all of the articles published in Communications or some of the features available on the site, such as commenting or establishing alerts and feeds. And there are still others who may appreciate why signing in is necessary and understand the need for ACM to charge for the services it provides, but are confronted with a more practical problem of remembering all those pesky little passwords. Personally, I fall into the last category, but I know the community at large is probably somewhat evenly distributed among the categories listed here.

What is important to remember is that ACM is not a large for-profit corporation focused primarily on generating large profits for shareholders, but rather is a midsized but leading not-for-profit international member organization with a singular focus on advancing the discipline of computing and related technologies for the purposes of education, research, and practice. Or in other words, ACM exists to support you and your work. As an organization, we are a membership-driven body that relies heavily on our more than 108,000 members from over 180 countries around the world. We are an organizer of international conferences, workshops, and symposia on hundreds of technology-related topics each year. As a publisher, we produce approximately 40 peer-reviewed scholarly journals and 10 niche magazines (including Communications) on topics that range from interactive design to entertainment computing to eLearning to students in computing. We deliver these materials to over 2,800 educational institutions and companies through an industry-leading online content platform called the ACM Digital Library (http://www.acm.org/dl), which is accessed by over 1,250,000 individuals annually.

When you sign in, it shows that you are part of a community that values the work of your colleagues and the services that ACM provides to this community. Providing high-quality publications to you in attractive and readable print and digital formats requires financial resources, and by signing in you are making a statement that you support this community and the work it does.

So, the next time you are confronted with the dreaded "premium content" sign-in page, please think back to this column and remember that the price of admission is not very high and that remembering those sign-in credentials is a small price to pay for everything you get.

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