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OpenAthens Guide: FAQ

This research guide is designed to assist all Liberty University users in understanding and navigating all issues related to OpenAthens

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David Leffler
(434) 592-3463
Subjects: Business

How do I Convert an EZProxied Link to OpenAthens?

If you have a link that still has the EZproxy prefix, you can remove it by deleting from the URL. However, if you see EZproxy in the middle of the URL that is not the standard prefix, please contact us for help at for assistance

How is the Workflow Different for Creating OpenAthens Links?

You may be wondering, “is the workflow for manually creating off-campus links any different from EZproxy?” In short, the answer is yes. If a vendor does not provide a permalink function compatible with OpenAthens, you will need to manually create an off-campus link. To create an EZproxy link, you would copy and paste the EZproxy prefix at the beginning of a link. With OpenAthens, you paste the link into the OpenAthens Link Generator.

How are OpenAthens Links Different from EZproxy Links?

When you paste a URL into the OpenAthens Link Generator, you will notice that the characters in the URL change. This change is expected behavior. OpenAthens links are different from EZproxy links because OpenAthens links are “encoded.” An “encoded” link means that certain basic characters in a URL, such as a dash or a dot, are changed into encrypted characters, such as a percentage sign, that are easier for a computer to read. Links created using the OpenAthens link generator tool are encoded to provide more reliable access to electronic resources.

What are the Common Mistakes in Creating OpenAthens Links?

There are a few common mistakes when creating OpenAthens links that you should keep in mind. First, is using the URL in the address bar when a database, such as ProQuest, provides a permalink. In some cases, using the URL in the address bar with the OpenAthens Link Generator is appropriate, but a way that you can tell that the URL in the address bar will break is if it has the letters “sid” in the URL. This string of letters indicates that this URL will only work for a temporary session and will not provide long-term access. If you have questions about when to use the URL in the address bar, please refer to the OpenAthens libguide. Another pitfall to avoid is simply putting the OpenAthens prefix at the beginning of the link just like an EZproxy link. This process might break access to the link because the URL is not encoded. It is important to keep in mind that you should always test your links before sending them in an email or adding them to your courses.

Can I Use a DOI Link with OpenAthens?

No, DOI links are not recommended with OpenAthens.

This recommendation is for three primary reasons:

  1. DOI links do not always work due to poor configuration.
  2. DOI links do not provide authentication on their own and are not always compatible with the OpenAthens link generator.
  3. It is possible that access will break if an article switches vendor platforms.