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You know you want OpenAthens but if you are having trouble convincing the Powers That Be to let you use it, here are some of the common challenges they might raise and how to answer them:

Why do we need to provide remote access?

Academic focus: Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between how much students read around their subjects and their performance in exams. We owe it to them to provide every opportunity to do so no matter their personal circumstance, and to maximise how many of them not only graduate, but graduate with the best grades and the advantages for the future that gives them.

Business focus: Helps with remote working without additional strain on our infrastructure. Works in the field. 

[Insert competitor name from this list of OpenAthens customers] is doing it - do we want to be let behind?

Don't we already have a proxy server for that?

Yes, but quite apart from the strain on our infrastructure that this kind of rewriting proxy causes, it requires a lot of maintenance to keep running as it is prone to failing whenever a proxied site makes any changes. Not only that, but it flat out doesn't work unless the user only ever uses our library page for all their research - finding results via Bing or Google won't give them a way to access the content.

What about Shibboleth - that's free...

With Shibboleth it's not so much the purchase price but the upkeep. If our IT team recruits for Java and XML skills for other reasons, rarely has to replace people and has enough spare capacity to manage another service as well as updating configurations whenever the library subscriptions change, then yes it can be cheaper. If any of those are not in place then it is significantly cheaper to outsource to OpenAthens.


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