Practices for improved access to institutionally provided information resources

The document put forward by NISO, RA21 and STM – Recommended Practices for Improved Access to Institutionally-Provided Information Resources – considers the findings of the Resource Access in the 21st Century initiative and suggests recommendations for solutions to the issue of convenient end-user authentication. We welcome all efforts to improve the research and discovery process for the scholarly community by addressing the technological complexities involved; we already support existing solutions that serve the researcher best by seamlessly integrating into their workflow.

The problem of off-campus access is well-documented, and conversations with our customers around the world have repeatedly reinforced the need for a solution. While IP Authentication works very well for on-campus usage, today’s researchers are more likely to be widely geographically spread due to international collaborations, remote and flexible working options, or field work. In order to circumvent the problem of access to content to which they are legally entitled, frustrated scholars are increasingly turning to pirate websites such as SciHub, which presents potential risks to the veracity of the scientific record.

In addition, institutions and funders want to ensure they are getting value for money from their licenses, and that the time of their faculty is well-spent; publishers want to see the content they carefully bring to the attention of the scientific community, curate and archive, accessed and used with ease.

This is a problem that no single player in the market can solve entirely by themselves. Resources and approaches vary wildly among stakeholders. But publisher-independent solutions to enable seamless access do already exist. EndNote™ Click, part of the Web of Science Group, is an established access enhancer that works by integrating into researchers’ existing workflows. It offers one-click access in the form of a web browser plugin, and it is already used by more than 200,000 researchers, and more than 2,000 institutions worldwide. Another example is Wayfinder from JISC, a tool that offers to ‘simplify access to online content’ for patrons ‘wherever they are in the world’.

As the landscape is likely to change significantly over the next few years, we expect to need futureproof solutions with immediate, mid-term and long-term milestones built in to the development plan. If we are to fix the problem of frustrated access for subscribers, any initiative must engage all of the scholarly community in a collaborative and transparent way; from publishers to institutions, funders, libraries, researchers, established access enhancers, other vendors and third parties. This will help to ensure that diverse viewpoints are represented and varied needs are met. It is only by doing so that we can create a service that offers seamless access, speeding up the process of research, collaboration and ultimately, discovery.



Amy Bourke-Waite

Director of External Communications, Web of Science Group


About Web of Science Group

Web of Science Group organizes the world’s research information to enable academia, corporations, publishers and governments accelerate the pace of research.  It is powered by the Web of Science – the world’s largest publisher-neutral citation index and research intelligence platform. Its many well-known brands also include Converis, EndNote, Kopernio, Publons, ScholarOne and the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). The Web of Science Group is a Clarivate Analytics company. @webofscience