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2017 Year in Review

AvatarBy Beth Rutter
Category - Blog

Friday 15th December 2017

As the end of the year approaches, we look back at some of 2017’s highlights and glimpse at what the near future might hold for identity and access management.

Growth of the OpenAthens Federation

Our global reach now extends to a further seven countries including Austria, Columbia, Cyprus, Ecuador, Finland, France and Guam bringing the total to 52 countries. Membership of the OpenAthens Federation has grown to 2,300, connecting millions of readers to research, news, and e-learning content around the world.

These included three major new participants, showing the importance of how readers are finding and accessing content through federated access management:

Our recent article in Research Information describes what it takes to run the OpenAthens Federation and the benefits of membership.

Year of the publisher

This year we delivered on the promises made in our 2016 Publisher Manifesto when we launched OpenAthens Cloud for publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair. This new product uses the OpenID Connect protocol to help streamline the journey for readers, while reducing the associated technological and expertise overhead for publishers.

We’ve also been tackling some of the challenges associated with providing a seamless user log-in experience by developing a new organisational discovery tool. With OpenAthens Wayfinder, users can now find their home organisation to log-in through geo-location or type their home organisation or email into the search bar. We are an active participant of Resource Access in the 21st Century initiative (RA21) and currently testing OpenAthens Wayfinder against RA21 use cases. You can find out more in our recent UKSG webinar presentation.

We remain committed to working with publishers on solutions that enable seamless single sign-on across as many different user journeys as possible.

Support for librarians and information managers

We launched a new Health Check service to audit single sign-on setup across your organisation with a documentation pack that includes recommendations and suggested improvements. The new service is proving very popular and we’ve received very positive feedback so far.

We have also just released a report examining challenges and solutions around authentication and access in global pharmaceutical companies. The paper looks at collaboration opportunities and how to move towards the ideal authentication and single sign-on solution.

Looking ahead

We anticipate a continued move towards single sign-on (SSO) solutions and increased use of local directory integration and WAYFless urls/ deep links to simplify user access to resources.

As discussed in our recent report Approaches to Authentication, the technology underpinning identity and access management is subject to many points of stress for information security. In the face of increased attacks against research institutions and other secured networks, we anticipate that multi-factor authentication will become more important in the near future. We will continue to support publishers and organisations alike to establish secure channels for readers to access the content they need.

Some key milestones for next year:

  • We’re in the process of moving all our products to Google Cloud and plan to complete this work by April 2018. This will help improve the speed and reliability of our services and deliver the best quality of service to our global community.
  • Our annual conference ‘Championing the User’ will take place on Thursday 22 March 2018 at the British Library, London.
  • We’re well on our way to becoming GDPR compliant by 25 May 2018.

As we move into 2018, keep an eye on the OpenAthens blog for more news and discussion around the latest developments in identity and access management.


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