Improving access and delivery of academic content – a survey of current & emerging trends | Musings about librarianship

“Some readers might be thinking that this might be a odd time for us to start focusing on improving user experiences with delivery given that the coming of open access might make a lot of this moot.

 

There are two answers to this. Firstly open access even in the most optimistic of projections will still have a decade or more to go and is likely to cover only journal articles. Libraries will still need to provide access to other licensed resources (A&I indexes, image archives etc) that will not be covered by Open Access.

 

The other reason is that some content providers even in a open access world would still want users to authenticate, so they can track usage and users.”

Improving access and delivery of academic content – a survey of current & emerging trends | Musings about librarianship

“Some readers might be thinking that this might be a odd time for us to start focusing on improving user experiences with delivery given that the coming of open access might make a lot of this moot.

 

There are two answers to this. Firstly open access even in the most optimistic of projections will still have a decade or more to go and is likely to cover only journal articles. Libraries will still need to provide access to other licensed resources (A&I indexes, image archives etc) that will not be covered by Open Access.

 

The other reason is that some content providers even in a open access world would still want users to authenticate, so they can track usage and users.”

Campus Activated Subscriber Access (CASA) – Highwire Press

“HighWire and Google co-developed CASA (Campus Activated Subscriber Access) as an authentication enhancement that improves the authentication for off-campus users of Google Scholar.  CASA is free and is automatically enabled for all HighWire-hosted Journals that are indexed in Google Scholar.

How does it work?

When a user is on-campus, they often connect to a University network. When connected, if they visit Google Scholar, Google automatically creates an affiliation between that user and their institution.  This affiliation allows Google Scholar to record that the user has subscription privileges granted by that institution. With Google CASA, this same seamless authentication follows the user when they take their device to any off-campus location.   Once the affiliation is created, it grants them immediate access to the articles and Journals that their institution subscribes to even when the user is off campus….”

Campus Activated Subscriber Access (CASA) – Highwire Press

“HighWire and Google co-developed CASA (Campus Activated Subscriber Access) as an authentication enhancement that improves the authentication for off-campus users of Google Scholar.  CASA is free and is automatically enabled for all HighWire-hosted Journals that are indexed in Google Scholar.

How does it work?

When a user is on-campus, they often connect to a University network. When connected, if they visit Google Scholar, Google automatically creates an affiliation between that user and their institution.  This affiliation allows Google Scholar to record that the user has subscription privileges granted by that institution. With Google CASA, this same seamless authentication follows the user when they take their device to any off-campus location.   Once the affiliation is created, it grants them immediate access to the articles and Journals that their institution subscribes to even when the user is off campus….”

Why are Librarians Concerned about GetFTR?  – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Twitter was abuzz this past week with the announcement of Get Full Text Research (GetFTR) at the STM association meeting in London. GetFTR attempts to reduce friction between discovery and access through a new kind of linking data service, and Roger Schonfeld’s same day analysis here in The Scholarly Kitchen provided some information from a publisher perspective. 

Developed by a group of five of the largest publishers, and built on top of RA21’s Seamless Access service, GetFTR was very effectively kept under wraps until the formal announcement — so much so that the staff of NISO, a lead partner in Seamless Access, was completely unaware of the project. 

GetFTR offers clear benefits for publishers and researchers. A direct link to a copy with known access entitlements is very useful. But, it seems some were taken aback by the less than warm welcome the announcement received from the library community.

Today, I wish to articulate why many librarians are concerned about GetFTR. …

GetFTR builds on the foundation of Seamless Access, an initiative that troubles the library community. The predecessor project, RA21, raised many concerns related to control over and privacy of user data and the future of publisher support for proxy and IP based authentication, access pathways that are valued and broadly implemented in academic libraries. The follow-on organization to the RA21 project, Seamless Access, seems to be unable to find a library organization partner to join the leadership team in spite of making a number of overtures, and the group has chosen to move forward with implementation without that engagement. By connecting itself to Seamless Access, GetFTR is “inheriting” a number of the library critiques of Seamless Access….”

 

Welcome to SeamlessAccess.org | SA Site

“Seamless Access is the new, convenient way to access digital scholarly content and services that builds on the guidelines resulting from the Resource Access in the 21st Century (RA21) initiative. It sets a standard for digital authentication based on a single sign on through your own home institution.

The Coalition for Seamless Access is a non-profit initiative geared towards supporting research and scholarship.
Now you can seamlessly find and use content and services outside your institution network anytime, anywhere, and on any device. Research as it should be!…

No cost to use Seamless Access? Flexible implementation that works with your existing site design? Straight-forward implementation? What are you waiting for?! See the Getting Started guide to understand the high-level steps, and contact Laura at laura@SeamlessAccess.org for a Getting Started Consultation to help plan your path to Seamless Access….”

New service from publishers to streamline access to research

“Get Full Text Research (GetFTR) is a new, free to use solution that enables faster access for researchers to the published journal articles they need.

When researchers are using online tools to search for research, GetFTR will provide seamless pathways to the published journal articles they want. Researchers will be able to link directly to the most up to date and best version of an article. To create a seamless experience, researchers will be taken directly to the article, and just the article, from a wide variety of discovery tools that they are already using. Even if a researcher does not have the relevant institutional access to an article, publishers can provide an alternative version of the content. Importantly, GetFTR enables users to access content in this way both off-campus and on-campus.

Publishers and providers of online research services are encouraged and invited to take part in GetFTR’s development to help maximize its benefits for the research community….

When using today’s discovery tools and platforms, researchers will be able to easily tell which content their institution has made available to them via the GetFTR indicator. They will then be able to follow the enhanced links provided by GetFTR to seamlessly access research on publisher websites.

For users who do not have access based upon their institutional affiliation, participating publishers can provide access to an alternative version of the research, which will be more extensive than the abstract, enabling the user to better understand the nature of the article e.g. a preprint….”

Publishers Announce a Major New Service to Plug Leakage – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Today, a group of the largest scholarly publishers is announcing a new effort to improve discovery and access, fight piracy, compete with ResearchGate, and position their platforms for an open access ecosystem. Their new “Get Full Text Research” (GetFTR) service will meaningfully improve access for the vast majority of users who discover articles from starting points other than the publisher website. This important development in user experience more importantly provides further evidence that publishers are finally beginning to address digital strategy in an environment of growing leakage that has steadily eroded their ability to monetize the value they create. At the same time, it probably does not yet go far enough to reset the competitive environment….

Publishers have been working on improved discovery and access for several years now. The effort to create RA21 (now SeamlessAccess.org) is helping to overcome one major access stumbling block by making the authorization process smoother. GetFTR, a service that signals to the user whether they will have access to the full-text and then routes them directly to it, is a natural next step. 

Backed by the American Chemical Society, Elsevier, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, and Wiley, GetFTR has two components. First, it enables the discovery service to indicate whether the article full text is available to the user before clicking on a link to the publisher page and if so to link directly to it. It requires that a user has disclosed their institutional affiliation through the SeamlessAccess.Org “Where Are You From” service, which in turn stores the affiliation information locally on their browser. The user’s institutional affiliation is sent along with the article DOI to a service which then queries the appropriate publisher to determine whether the individual should be entitled to access the article. This should take place seamlessly in the background as a list of search results is loading. The user will see, in a list of search results, clear information such as a green or red button, on whether they will be able to access the full text of each article prior to clicking on the link to it. A user who then clicks on the link will be taken to their institutional login or directly to the article without any intermediate pages if they are already logged in during the current session. This is a natural next step to improve access by leveraging federated authentication that is being rolled out more broadly in the wake of RA21. If enough subscribing institutions adopt federated authentication and the GetFTR technical implementation is successful it will measurably improve user experience in many cases. 

In a way, however, the second aspect of GetFTR is more significant, because it recognizes that, in the workflow described above, many users are not entitled to access the licensed version. Naturally, a user with entitlements through a subscription will be routed to the version of record. But the service will also provide an alternative for others who do not have licensed access, an alternative that each publisher will be able to determine for itself. Some publishers might choose to provide access to a preprint or a read-only version, perhaps in some cases on some kind of metered basis. I expect publishers will typically enable some alternative version for their content, in which case the vast majority of scholarly content will be freely available through publishers even if it is not open access in terms of licensing. This alternative pathway is a modest technical development but will have far-reaching strategic implications. 

GetFTR is intended to be entirely invisible to the user other than an array of colored buttons indicating that the link will take them to the version of record, an alternative pathway, or (presumably in rare cases) no access at all. Thus, like RA21, the brand name is not intended to face towards users. Digital Science and Elsevier expect to pilot GetFTR in the first quarter of 2020 through their platforms Dimensions, Mendeley, and ReadCube Papers. GetFTR characterizes these kinds of discovery and scholarly collaboration platforms as “integration partners.” Technical details about the service and associated APIs for publishers and integration partners are available online. …

For publishers, this situation is increasingly untenable. Pirate sites include nearly 100% of licensed publisher content. In addition, various kinds of repositories make green versions available and scholarly collaboration networks provide access to tremendous amounts of content as well. But it is not just availability elsewhere that is a concern. The use of SciHub, ResearchGate, and other alternative sources of access has exploded. With usage growing rapidly through these alternatives, the share of usage taking place on the publisher site is declining….”

NISO Releases Draft Recommended Practice on Improved Access to Institutionally-Provided Information Resources for Public Comment | NISO website

“The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) seeks comments on a new Recommended Practice draft for improved access to institutionally-provided information resources. This document details the findings from the Resource Access for the 21st Century (RA21) initiative and provides recommendations for using federated identity as an access model and for improving the federated authentication user experience.

For several years, scholars have expressed increasing frustration with obtaining access to institutionally-provided information resources against a background of changing work habits and the expectation of always-on connectivity from any location, at any time, from any device….

The NISO Recommended Practices for Improved Access to Institutionally-Provided Information Resources is available for public comment between April 17 and May 17, 2019. To download the draft document or to submit comments, visit the NISO Project page at: https://www.niso.org/standards-committees/ra21.  All input is welcome and encouraged….”

RA21: Resource Access in the 21st Century

[Less about OA than convenient access to non-OA sources.]

 

“Resource Access for the 21st Century (RA21) is a joint STM – NISO initiative aimed at optimizing protocols across key stakeholder groups, with a goal of facilitating a seamless user experience for consumers of scientific communication. In addition, this comprehensive initiative is working to solve long-standing, complex, and broadly distributed challenges in the areas of network security and user privacy. Community conversations and consensus building to engage all stakeholders is currently underway in order to explore potential alternatives to IP-authentication, and to build momentum toward testing alternatives among researcher, customer, vendor, and publisher partners.”