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The OpenAthens discovery service uses the SAML DS protocol and as long as your SP software does too it is just a case of configuring it. Some common SPs are covered below:

Table of Contents

OpenAthens SP or OpenAthens Cloud


For both OpenAthens SP and OpenAthens Cloud SP, the procedure is the essentially the same.

  1. Sign in to the publisher dashboard (

  2. Select the application in question and go to its configuration tab

  3. Scroll to the  discovery method section and select the radio button for the central discovery service

  4. If it doesn't already say so in the box, enter  

  5. Save changes

OpenAthens Cloud SP will start to use the discovery service immediately.


If you are in any federations other than the OpenAthens federation they will have to update your metadata to include valid discovery return URLs before discovery will work - e.g:

Code Block
For OpenAthens SP:
<idpdisc:DiscoveryResponse Binding="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:profiles:SSO:idp-discovery-protocol" Location="" index="1"/>"

For OpenAthens Cloud:
<idpdisc:DiscoveryResponse Binding="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:profiles:SSO:idp-discovery-protocol" Location="" index="1"/>

See also: Discovery



  • Once you are logged in at, select your application
  • Go to the SAML endpoints tab and click the add endpoint button
  • Select discovery return URL, enter the value and click done
  • Click Save changes
  • It will take up to 15 minutes for the change to take effect

Other SP software

Add according to their instructions and then update the federation metadata as above.