August 2021 Newsletter

Upcoming Events

On 24 September, Heather Staines will be talking about SeamlessAccess in a webinar entitled “Identity in Research Infrastructure: An overview of how identity is managed in scholarly infrastructure” as part of Peer Review Week 2021. You are cordially invited, please register here.

SeamlessAccess and the User Journey

SeamlessAccess is all about providing a seamless, intuitive user experience, with the ideal being that it “just works” with as little user interaction as possible. Interestingly, that also means that it is not always obvious to users what exactly SeamlessAccess is doing for them, and how their user experiences would be different without it. To explain the value of SeamlessAccess in a visual and easily digestible way, we have created a series of videos that are available on our Learning Center.

The latest video in this series, just released, is called “SeamlessAccess and the User Journey”. It offers a step-by-step description of the access user journey from a researcher point of view, demonstrating how SeamlessAccess is making the whole process of accessing a journal article much more straightforward. Check it out here.

Feedback from Integrator Workshops

Over the summer period, we organised three workshops for SeamlessAccess integrators and federation operators. Collectively, these were attended by close to 100 individuals which meant that we were able to get a lot of valuable feedback from different angles on SeamlessAccess’ current offering and our plans for the future.

By and large, the feedback suggested that we have the right items on our current roadmap. In particular, IdP filtering and internationalization were confirmed as priorities, and the team is actively focusing on these topics at the moment. Additional items that we will be taking on board include branding (especially for federation operators) and thinking through the options to include non federated IdP’s such as social in the central discovery service. We always value further feedback: We have a SeamlessAccess Slack channel for general discussions with our community, and any concrete issue reports or feature requests can be submitted as an issue via GitHub.

Once we’re done implementing internationalization, we will be looking for contributions for translations - stay tuned!

Apple’s iCloud Private Relay impacting IP recognition

Even though SeamlessAccess focuses on Federated Authentication as the best technology to enable researchers to access digital resources in a user-friendly and secure way, we realize that for many organisations and for many use cases IP-recognition is still an important access mechanism. With that in mind, we’d like to raise awareness within our community for ongoing work at Apple (dubbed “iCloud Private Relay”) that will anonymize IP addresses for Safari users on both iOS and MacOS. Very recently, Apple published a document that provides guidance for network administrators to prepare their institutions on how to deal with these changes.

These developments at Apple fit into a larger story as changes in legislation and expectations with regard to user privacy are driving significant changes at browser vendors over the next few years - with potentially huge impact on the scholarly web and services like SeamlessAccess. If you’d like to know more about what’s happening in this space, we highly recommend a recent webinar “Web browsers, privacy, and your publishing platform webinar” by Heather Flanagan. is a service designed to help streamline the online access experience for researchers using scholarly collaboration tools, information resources, and shared research infrastructure. This service is governed as a coalition between four organizations: GÉANT, Internet2, the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), and the International Association of STM Publishers. Participants include researchers, service providers, libraries, identity providers, and federation operators. We’re excited to bring you up to date on the latest news.