China increases remote access to scientific information for students


OpenAthens authentication services offer a technical solution for Chinese students and research who need remote access to IOP Publishing’s journal platform, IOPscience.

Since the start of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, Chinese schools, universities and research organisations have been in lock down. Many of China’s learners and researchers have needed to stay at home, losing access to vitally important education and research.

Responding to China’s urgent need, IOP Publishing recently announced it now provides remote online access to scientific information in China. OpenAthens’ secure, single sign-on software and federation infrastructure helped IOP Publishing connect quickly to Chinese institutions, maintaining access for students.

A growing number of service providers are expected to provide federated access in China as the crisis continues. Some of the world’s largest information providers – Clarivate Analytics, Elsevier and ProQuest – switched on remote access for China last month.

OpenAthens and IOP Publishing worked as one team to get IOPscience up and running as quickly as possible. As a result, Chinese students and researchers can get access to scientific information quickly and easily without needing to travel.

OpenAthens’ commercial director Jon Bentley said: “The Coronavirus (Covid-19) is causing untold stress and anxiety for people around the world. If affected students and academics are able to get to the information they need, irrespective of their location, OpenAthens is contributing in a small way to enabling their studies.”

OpenAthens enables publishers and other service providers to connect with organisations in identity federations around the world. The single sign-on provider recently worked with IOP Publishing to upgrade its authentication service.

IOP Publishing software engineering manager John Leopold said: “Speed was an important factor in establishing access. In the past, if we had to add a new identity federation, it took months of effort. Now, it’s mainly a configuration process, and the job is done. In fact, we went live with OpenAthens in less time than it took to add a new federation under the old system.”

Chinese researchers can easily search for their institution and login to IOPscience using OpenAthens Wayfinder organisation discovery service. OpenAthens’ standards-based technology ensures Chinese academics continue to access electronic journals during the Coronavirus outbreak.

OpenAthens works with information providers and national identity federations globally to authenticate library users, creating a simple, seamless user experience.

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