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Seamless Access

What is Seamless Access?

Seamless Access is a service designed to help foster a more streamlined online access experience when using scholarly collaboration tools, information resources, and shared research infrastructure. The service promotes digital authentication leveraging an existing single-sign-on infrastructure through one’s home institution, while maintaining an environment that protects personal data and privacy.

The direction and implementation for the service came from the RA21 Initiative, a joint project of the International Association of STM Publishers and the National Information Standards Organization. While the origin of the effort was in the scholarly publishing and library communities, the applicability of SeamlessAccess is for all parties that want to use federated identity as part of their authentication and authorization workflows.

NISO is one of the 4 governing organizations of the Seamless Access project (NISO, STMGéant, and Internet2), and provides support and technical expertise through involvement in governance and committee work for the project.

Guiding Principles

  1. The user experience for researchers will be as seamless as possible, intuitive and consistent across varied systems, and meet evolving expectations.
  2. The solution will work effectively regardless of the researcher’s starting point, physical location, and preferred device.
  3. The solution will be consistent with emerging privacy regulations, will avoid requiring researchers to create yet another ID, and will achieve an optimal balance between security and usability.
  4. The system will achieve end-to-end traceability, providing a robust, widely adopted mechanism for detecting fraud that occurs at institutions, vendor systems, and publishing platforms.
  5. The customer will not be burdened with administrative work or expenses related to implementation and maintenance. The implementation plan should allow for gradual transition and account for different levels of technical and organizational maturity in participating institutions.


View the various governance committees that comprise the Seamless Access community here.

Public Webinar Recording

If you weren't able to join the August 10, 2020 public webinar discussing Entity Categories and Attribute Bundles, a recording is now available. The webinar reviewed each of these entity categories with a goal of encouraging informed feedback from the community during the public consultation period.


Committee Roster