Mark Allen Group

OpenAthens helps leading UK media group open up new UK and international markets

25 May 2017 • Sophie Allen, marketing officer

Mark Allen Group (MAG) is a leading UK media group of businesses producing journals, magazines, books, events, exhibitions, and websites across healthcare, education, business, and consumer markets. Personal subscriptions have always been a major channel for distributing content, but the last 10 years has seen increasing demand, especially in the health sector, from organizations and businesses needing institutional access so their staff can use MAG content.

The challenge

Over the last few years, Mark Allen Group has increased and reorganized the way it manages institutional subscriptions. MAG looked at how it could shift from just using IP to add more efficient, secure, and manageable ways to enable multiuser, single sign-on access. As a result, MAG became an early adopter of OpenAthens. More recently, MAG restructured content delivery, bringing all of its healthcare and education content under a dedicated umbrella solution – the MAG Online Library website.

The solution

To improve content management and service delivery further, MAG is using Literatum for MAG Online Library content. Developed by Atypon, Literatum is a platform for managing and publishing online content and services. Because the OpenAthens Federation integrates with most content publishing applications, MAG is using it within Literatum as a secure and simple method for single sign-on authentication. In addition, MAG is using LibLynx, a plug-in service that allows MAG to offer IP, OpenAthens, and Shibboleth authentication on other, non-Literatum sites.

OpenAthens removes the need for MAG to manage complex authentication across multiple customer types wanting to access various MAG products and services.

Via OpenAthens, 450 organizations – comprising NHS Trusts, individual NHS sites such as hospitals, and organizations like universities, that provide training services to the NHS – are able to access MAG Online Library securely. MAG has already started to increase its international customer base with healthcare-related organizations in North America and Australasia.

As a major content publisher, the significance of OpenAthens comes down to ease of management. It is easy for us to set up new customers and quickly provide access for them and their users. So for the NHS – which is a core market that we are actively looking to expand – OpenAthens makes it pretty seamless.”

Tom Pollard, Content Development Director, Mark Allen Group

Access to the OpenAthens Federation also supports the introduction of new content services. For example, MAG has recently launched a continuing professional development (CPD) resource for nursing and midwifery. Using LibLynx with OpenAthens has enabled MAG to establish secure, single-on access so that nurses and midwives can start using these new resources quickly and easily.

"Without membership of some kind of federation like OpenAthens, the alternatives for us are much less secure and much harder to implement. We’ve had very few problems in terms of management with the OpenAthens Federation and it is doing a great service for us.”

Tom Pollard, Content Development Director, Mark Allen Group

The results

  • Provides publishers with seamless access to key markets and customer sectors such as the NHS.
  • Supports and makes it easier to break into international healthcare markets.
  • Removes the complexity of signing up new customers with new user set-up taking a few minutes.
  • Makes it fast and simple to roll out new products and services to existing customers.
  • Supports all standard publishing platforms and software applications.
  • Rapid expansion of the OpenAthens Federation broadens and simplifies access to new markets.

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