Answered By: Bianca Rios
Last Updated: Nov 22, 2023     Views: 111

OpenAthens is an authentication service that allows you to remotely access Library-subscribed electronic resources such as ejournals, ebooks, and online databases, using your access.caltech username and password. 

If you are on campus or if you are using the Caltech VPN, you do not need to authenticate with OpenAthens to access e-resources. OpenAthens is for off-campus use.

There are two ways to authenticate with OpenAthens, though this may vary from one publisher’s website to another. 

The first method is redirector links.

  • These are URLs with the OpenAthens prefix attached. This prefix prompts your browser to take you to a login screen, then, once you have authenticated, redirects you back to the original URL. 
  • The OpenAthens prefix is: https://go.openathens.net/redirector/caltech.edu?url=
  • The OpenAthens prefix is already in use in the Library’s online discovery services, LibSearch and Publication Finder. When you use LibSearch or Publication Finder to get to full text, OpenAthens will prompt you to authenticate if you have not done so already.
  • If you are not going through LibSearch - e.g. browsing through a specific publisher’s website - you can get OpenAthens to authenticate you by copying the prefix and pasting it at the front of the URL. 
  • Alternatively, you can paste your URL into the OpenAthens Redirector, which will provide you with a redirector link. You can access the OpenAthens Redirector at: https://go.openathens.net/generate/caltech.edu/80262336 .
  • Please note that this will not work with resources provided by O’Reilly/Safari or Overdrive/Libby. Links from EBSCO, ProQuest, and Gale do not need redirection by OpenAthens, but the Redirector will still work with them.

The second method is using a publisher’s WAYF (Where Are You From?), which will prompt you to select your institution from a list. Once you do so, it will redirect you to the appropriate login screen, then take you back to the publisher. 

Wiley, Royal Society of Chemistry, Geological Society of America, and other publishers have a slightly different WAYF. They will prompt you to select the appropriate group for your institution, rather than asking you to select the institution itself. The appropriate group in this case is “OpenAthens Sign In” or “OpenAthens Federation.” 

If you encounter an error at any step in the process, please contact library@caltech.edu for help.

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