OpenAthens SP

Standards-compliant access management for service providers

OpenAthens SP (Service Provider) enables your organisation to securely provide and manage access to your web-based resources.

Choosing OpenAthens SP as your access management solution means you can support multiple access management federations and keep up to date with the latest standards and protocols as new technologies emerge.

OpenAthens SP's simplicity means you can manage connectivity to your web-based services to multiple end-users and customers. This makes it ideal for publishers of online content including journals and databases.

OpenAthens SP customers include:

  • American Medical Association
  • BMJ Journals
  • British Standards Institution
  • Cambridge University Press
  • Elsevier
  • Financial Times
  • IHS Global
  • LexisNexis
  • McGraw-Hill Professional
  • New Scientist
  • National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
  • Nature Publishing Group
  • Publishing Technology
  • SAGE Publications
  • Serials Solutions
  • Thieme Publishers
  • Westlaw
  • Wolters Kluwer Health

Established user base

  • OpenAthens authenticates and authorises 4 million users from 2,000 organisations worldwide
  • Can be used to connect to Shibboleth federations
  • Can be used in any trust federation that uses Open Standards.

Easy to use with simple integration

  • Manage configuration with a setup wizard and federation wizard
  • Web-based dashboard to manage configurations and perform maintenance and upgrades
  • Cross-platform API support to fully integrate access management systems
  • Dedicated support with 24/7 infrastructure monitoring
  • Easily connect with OpenAthens LA to provide enterprise-wide single sign-on
  • Straightforward and free product upgrades
  • Minimal effort needed to keep up-to-date with software updates provided in an online repository.

Flexible and future proofed

  • We have a long-term development roadmap and are committed to open standards such as SAML
  • A single platform with a modular architecture – enabling you to adopt all of the protocols appropriate to your market

Supported Federations

OpenAthens products and services are used in an increasing number of federations across the world.

These are currently known to include:

Austria (ACOnet)
Belgium (Belnet)
Canada (CAF)
Chile (COFRe)
China (CARSI)
Czech Republic (
Denmark (WAYF)
France (RENATER)
Germany (DFN-AAI)
Holland (SURFfederatie)
Hungary (
Ireland (Edugate)
Italy (IDEM)
Japan (GakuNin)
New Zealand (Tuakiri)
OpenAthens Federation
Portugal (RCTSaai)
Spain (SIR)
Switzerland (SWITCHaai)
United Kingdom (UK Access Management Federation)
USA (InCommon)

Technical details

Supported protocols:

  • Athens
  • SAML 1.1 (Artifact and POST bindings, Shibboleth extensions)
  • SAML 2.0 (HTTP-Redirect, Artifact and POST bindings, Shibboleth extensions incorporated into SAML specification)

Supported platforms:

  • IIS 6.0 and 7.0
  • Apache 2.0 and 2.2
  • JDK 1.5.x, 1.6.x
  • Tomcat 5.5+
  • WebSphere
  • WebLogic

Supported languages:

  • Native C API
  • Native Java API
Rob Scaysbrook image

Get in touch


OpenAthens Form


Contact us

Rob Scaysbrook

OpenAthens Sales Manager, International Territories


Athens and SAML (Shibboleth) authentication are ‘must have’ features if you are going to provide online services to academic publishers. OpenAthens SP makes it easy for us to add support for additional SAML (Shibboleth) federations as publishers broaden the reach of their content.

Rose Robinson

Product Manager, Solutions Division, Publishing Technology

Case study

See Also

  • Federations


    An access management federation provides a structure and a legal framework that enables authentication and authorisation across different organisations.