[Fim4l] Elsevier unilaterally shutting down pseudonymous access to institutionally licensed resources?

Peter Schober peter.schober at univie.ac.at
Wed Sep 4 15:35:49 CEST 2019

Thanks for chiming in, Meshna.

* Koren, Meshna (ELS-AMS) <M.Koren at elsevier.com> [2019-09-04 15:00]:
> That is not quite correct but what has happened is this:
> 1. 'sign in' link expects a user to want to 'sign in' as an individual

I agree that this is far from obvious. You're essentially changing the
meaning of "sign in" only for your site. I guess if you're following
other conventions -- such as the upcoming Seamless Access one already
mentioned by Jiří -- that may be workable. Otherwise I'd expect more
grief to be coming your way. :-\

> 2. if you find an article that your institution doesn't subscribe
> to, you will also see 'check access' button and signing in via your
> IdP that way will allow you to sign in as anonymous institutional
> user

For the purpose of federated logins (or always when I'm off-campus)
it's unkown what my institution subscribes to before I log in (as the
institution itself is unknown before I log in) but you're saying above
that accessing non-Open Access content directly will provide me with a
different button that enables me to log in via my institution in the

Searching for random articles on https://www.sciencedirect.com/ I can
confirm that it indeed works this way, by -- after clicking away the
popup/overlay asking me to register -- following a "Get Access" link
with a PDF symbol at the top of the article page (ignoring any
"Purchase PDF" links with PDF symbols on the right-hand side, for
other content), again ignoring the "Purchase PDF" link on the
popup/overlay and following the "Check Access" link instead. Then I
sign in via my institution and click "Continue without registering" on
return -- which I suppose I will have to do every singe time I log in
to Elsevier now (as hinted at in the statement that registering now
would save time in the future).

So still is possible to access licensed, protected content without
registering a personalised accounts, though in all honestly you've
made it as difficult and unlikely as possible to continue use of your
site without registering.

> We're changing a lot of logic at out end and we're not done yet.

Thanks for sharing.  When confronted with a given UI/UX on a
production system in global use I cannot simply assume that it's still
a work in progress -- I have to consider it final (as much as anything
is "final" in online services) if it's "live".

Thanks again for clearing up my misunderstanding,

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