The benefits of IP authentication

I spent time today working through a list of our subscriptions that do not provide IP authentication. Ideally, we’ll switch all of those subscriptions back to print (unless an IP-based subscription exists as an alternative, like with the Journal of Chemical Education, and is affordable). Of course, not everything will be that simple, and I will contact several publishers to clarify their access models.

In the future, our criteria for EBSCO to switch a print subscription to online should include IP authentication only. It’s frustrating to see that many of our titles are restricted to “up to 100 IP addresses allowed.” That won’t even cover a single Class C range, which rules out many institutions. Some of the information is missing from the report our EBSCO rep sent to me, so I have some holes to fill in before I start.

Some publishers offer print + online subscriptions with password-based online access, but the online access part just doesn’t cut it for an institution. I’ve noticed several examples over the last few months:

PC Magazine does not allow password sharing, but someone can share the issues after downloading them (and who will that be?).

No Load Fund Investor and Population and Vital Statistics Report post their passwords on the print copy’s mailing label and inside the front cover, respectively; this is not much help if you don’t have the issue in your hand (and if you had the issue in hand, why would you need online access?).

Families in Society requires both IP authentication and a un/pw to access its journals (the publisher’s rep explained that they record IP addresses so we “can have access on those computers” but IP addresses “are not for login”). Now that’s security.

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