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Access management

Jon BentleyBy Jon Bentley
Category - Blog

Wednesday 24th February 2016

OpenAthens delivers access management for publishers, platforms and applications.

OpenAthens has millions of end-users across the world using our identity management services. These individuals – students, researchers, professionals and users of public libraries – engage with resources and applications from across the world. There are hundreds and thousands of journals, magazines, data platforms and news services. And the owners of these resources want licensed individuals to be able to search, discover and access this intelligence with the simplest user experience possible. This is where OpenAthens for access management steps in.

Federated access management ensures these individuals can reach the information they need within the terms of their organisation’s license. There is no need to remember a panoply of passwords and publishers see engagement increase as one of the major barriers to entry is removed.

The OpenAthens identity service identifies the end-user; OpenAthens access services answers the question: Do you have the appropriate license to access this content?

There are two pillars to OpenAthens access management:

1. OpenAthens for Service Providers (SP): “Service provider” is a semi-technical term that defines the organisation that is granting access to content. OpenAthens SP is SAML software that integrates with an existing CMS or application. Once the software has been set up and tested, the publisher has the ability to manage SAML metadata and certificates that controls access for individuals within agreed licensed terms. They become official SAML Service Providers!

2. OpenAthens Federation: OpenAthens SP is just one method of establishing SAML metadata to enable the single sign on experience – Shibboleth is another. In the world of federations these services are all work with each other thanks to a standard of protocols. The OpenAthens Federation is a global federation – that includes commercial organisations from around the world – that brings publishers and other platforms into the world of single sign and federated access management. OpenAthens provides a dashboard that allows the service provider to set up and manage these licenses within our federation.

This single sign on world establishes an individual relationship between the end-user and the publisher. The data being passed securely in the background allows the end user to log-in onsite, enables personalisation and also empowers the publishers to track individuals and measure their engagement rather than losing detail and security from IP ranges and proxy access.

Just a few reasons why federated access is better than proxy access.

When implemented effectively, single sign on for publishers drives up engagement, removes the burden of username and password management for high volume subscribers and opens up publishers to a world of information hungry professionals.

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