RA21 and libraries

(16 May 2018) Resource Access for the 21st Century (RA21) is a joint STM  and 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.

RA21 is of interest to libraries because:

  • Librarians currently have to constantly monitor and provide updated IP address information to multiple resource providers to ensure ongoing access for end users. RA21 seeks to remove the need for this time-consuming activity.
  • Off-site access management is currently complex and time consuming for librarians and difficult for users to understand. RA21 aims to reduce the barriers to off-site access for users, thereby maximizing the use of the resources purchased by libraries.
  • RA21 aims to enable more granular reporting of usage to libraries, while allowing libraries to protect the identities of their users.
  • By having a more traceable access mechanism, librarians and publishers can work together to more easily and more quickly identify instances of illegal or fraudulent activity and undertake targeted resolution.
  • By moving away from IP-based access, libraries will be less subject to network perimeter intrusion and man-in-the-middle attacks on their IP address.

Visit the RA21 website to find out how you can participate.