There are many issues surrounding the complex nature of accessing digital content and at OpenAthens we are often asked our view.
We recognize the need to look at the topic of access from the users’ perspective in parallel with the librarian’s vital role in curating published works so they are readily available to those who need them.
The way we all use technology, both as consumers and in business, has dramatically evolved since the current access methods were designed.
We have created this resource hub full of educational content and to raise awareness of the three key issues around IP-based access: security, poor user experience, and lack of personalization.
For users: personalization features can only be obtained via a separate log-in, requiring users to set up separate accounts with every publisher so they can access their search history, favorites and recommended content.
For content providers: it’s not possible to recognize individual users. This means it’s difficult to investigate potential misuse and usage reports have little meaningful information as IP addresses describe organizations, not users .
Any access route which relies on IP recognition/proxy, referral URLs or shared username/passwords is not secure – these methods can be exploited so publisher content can be made available on pirate sites. This could lead to publishers raising subscription prices to recover lost income.
OpenAthens fully support the NISO-approved RA21 recommendations for improved institutional access to scholarly content and the overarching aims of Seamless Access which acknowledges that personalized access can be consistent with user privacy.
For subscribing organizations: it’s not possible to proxy video and other non-text content, so you’ll end up paying for a workaround. With federated sign sign-on you will be able to differentiate between individual users along with details in regards to what sort of content users are accessing and how they are using it.
The subject of privacy was explored during our Access Lab 202o conference and we have a range of in-depth presentation recordings available on our youtube channel including:
As a leading provider of single sign-on (SSO) software, we can help you to provide library users with secure, seamless access to your content wherever they are in the world.
Find out more about the services we provide to publishers and service providers.