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Authentication landscapes of tomorrow

Jon BentleyBy Jon Bentley
Category - Blog

Tuesday 13th March 2018

OpenAthens 2018 Conference speaker Jon Bentley discusses what we can expect from his plenary session on the ‘authentication landscapes of tomorrow’.

Trust is the bedrock of subscription agreements

I will be talking about why trust is vital to successful and effective licensing agreements. David Orrell, our Solutions Architect, will then look at how identity and access management technology is developing to support these trusted relationships.

The three key agents in the subscriber relationship are:

  1. The publishers and platforms creating or distributing the material.
  2. The libraries, which can be corporate research libraries or public libraries all curating their institution’s collection.
  3. The end users, who could be anyone wanting to access the material from students and researchers through to professionals or journalists

Delivering successful outcomes

Success can be measured by the quality of outcomes for the end user. Technology must not get in the way of the best possible experience in this relationship as that risks losing the user completely. The aim is to encourage as many people as possible to access the material but within a licensed framework that works for everyone.

Each of the three parties in the relationship has slightly different needs and trust requirements.

  • Publishers need to know their material will not be stolen and redistributed, plagiarised or subjected to other forms of copywrite infringement. They must trust the librarians and their end users to use their services and content within the terms of their agreement. For publishers, compliance is vital. Valuable content must, by definition, be paid within a recognized commercial model.
  • Librarians need to trust the publishers to provide top quality reliable content which will satisfy their existing users and encourage more people to access their services. They also need to trust their end users not to abuse the access they provide.
  • Finally, the end users need to trust the librarians to properly curate the material they are supplying to ensure it is of the best possible quality and will meet their requirements for research and decision making.

Establishing legitimacy

In the knowledge economy, the quality and legitimacy of content has become incredibly important. Even more so in the digital age, since the internet has enabled the rapid spread of misinformation like ‘fake news’.

At OpenAthens, our technology creates a framework of trust which means control of the end user relationship is moved away from the publishers to a platform where everything is compliant and legitimate and it is designed to offer the best end user experience.

Our conference is focused on improving and enhancing that end user journey because in the past, the authentication processes and control publishers and librarians put in place to protect their content has created a poor user experience.

Evolving technology

With appropriate technology we can ensure there are processes in place to protect the content and keep the publishers happy while also offering smooth seamless access for the end user.

Individuals, with an authenticated identity, can access information from any location. The requirement to be within a central, controlled hub – like a physical library – is no longer. Identity now operates like a secure firewall.

That is where the role of librarians becomes very important as they can enable or disable these identities for their institution. At the conference we will look at what technology is available and how that’s developing.

This evolution of contextual and multi-factor authentication needs to be considered. Logging in to access content via your phone is one example. On your mobile you are likely to stay permanently logged into all your apps so authentication into your phone is all that you need to prove your identity in this context.

Collaboration is key

For our technology to maintain this framework of trust for the publisher, librarian and end user while enhancing the good experience for the end user, there has to be collaboration across these three parties. Which is why OpenAthens is so excited to bring people together to discuss these issues face to face.

To find out more and join the debate, register for our conference by Monday 19 March.


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