OpenAthens celebrates 25 year anniversary SS Great Britain

OpenAthens celebrates 25 years’ enabling access to knowledge

28 July 2020 • Sophie Allen, marketing officer

OpenAthens celebrates 25 year anniversary!

We will mark the milestone with a range of celebratory activities over the next few months which will include recognition of staff, customers and partners.

Activities will be organized in recognition of our key values. Specifically, showcasing how OpenAthens has helped people achieve great things over our quarter-century history. We will also continue our ongoing commitment to providing excellent customer service and support. Finally, celebrations will focus on our commitment to future innovation.


OpenAthens 25 year anniversary logo in black

Formed in 1995 to provide access to the National Information Services and Systems (NISS) and Bath Information and Data Service (BIDS), our single sign–on software was originally developed by the IT department of the University of Bath. 

In its early years, OpenAthens was one of the first organizations to provide electronic access to library databases. The team working on the project spotted its potential for use by other educational institutions. Within a couple of years, it had been adopted by universities across the UK. 

We are now a market-leading global access management organization, employing 53 staff from its head office in Bristol. Our technology is used by more than 2,600 organizations across multiple sectors, in over 50 countries. 

The name OpenAthens references Athena, the Greek goddess of knowledge and learning and reflects the focus on open standards and commitment to working with the knowledge community. 

While the original technology has advanced rapidly and the publishing and library sectors have undergone huge changes over the last two decades, the basic principles and aims remain the same.  

We continue our dedication to removing barriers to knowledge and creating access to quality content for as many people as possible while protecting that same content from misuse. 

Commenting on the OpenAthens 25 year anniversary, commercial director Jon Bentley said:

“We have come a long way from our first deployment as an internal access management system and are proud that we were one of the first services to provide electronic access to library databases.  We believe our success and growth over 25 years has been down to our three key values around which our work has always been based: helping people achieve great things; providing excellent customer service; and supporting and innovating for the future.” 

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