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    Open Access Content in CDI

    The Open Access flag in CDI is managed at the record level. It has no relation to the collection’s Open Access flag in Alma/SFX, and it does not determine whether an active link goes to an open access collection or a subscription database. This allows documents that have been published as open access by the author (such as to comply with funding requirements) to be flagged as open access regardless of whether the document is also available from subscription platforms or aggregator databases. 

    Depending on the content provider data feed, a merged record in CDI can consist of participants in which some of them, but not all, are marked as open access. If at least one participant in the merged record is marked as open access, the merged record itself will also be marked as open access for the reason given above. 

    The Open Access flag has functional implications in the following places:

    • Link priority – Links from “Link in Record” collections are treated as open access links if the participant record (where the link is coming from) is marked as open access. If the library has access to a subscription link and an Open Access link, the subscription link (link in record or OpenURL) is given precedence. For more details, see The Link Rules.

    • The Open Access facet in the user interface.

    With the Primo VE September 2022 release and the Primo November 2022 release, only the link-level open access indicator is used to determine whether a CDI collection is open access. For all links that have this indication from CDI, the proxy configuration settings in Primo/Primo VE are used to determine whether a proxy is added or not. For more details, see Remove Proxy Prefix for Open Access Links.

    Managing Open Access Collections on Alma/SFX

    In Alma and SFXAdmin, collections have an Open Access indication in the full text rights field at the Collection level. This indication is descriptive and not functional because, as described above, the Open Access indication in CDI is handled at the record level. There is no functional relationship between the collection-level flag and the record-level flag. The purpose of the collection-level indication is to assist librarians in selecting collection activations and subscriptions. 

    For each collection, we currently specify the following full text indications for Access Rights:

    • Open Access – Indicates that most of the content is Open Access, but a small portion (less than 5%) may or may not be restricted. An example of an Open Access collection is the Unpaywall for CDI collection. For more information, see Integrating Unpaywall for Discovery.

    • Partially Open Access – Indicates that CDI has mixed collections where some of the records are available as Open Access while other records are restricted or have no access to full text. As the collections are dynamic, the part of Open Access records within these collections may change, but in general, we give them a "Partially Open access" indication if more than 20% of the collection's records are Open Access.

    • Subscription (Collection Level) – Requires a subscription to access full text.

    • Subscription (Link Resolver) – Requires a subscription, and full text linking is provided by the link resolver.

    Partially open access collections should be treated with caution because they can cause problems with linking, especially if they do not have portfolios in Alma and SFX and are using the link in record. Activating such a collection will lead to its entire content to be flagged as available in CDI. Unless flagged as open access, the link in record will take precedence over linkresolver links and may lead to incorrect linking.  Where possible we separate the open access and the paywalled content and create two different collections, one for open access and one for paywalled content to give you control over which content you want to expose to your users. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. We recommend activating partially open access collections only in exceptional cases in which the benefit of finding this content outweighs any possible linking issues for your users.

    Hybrid Open Access Journals

    Open access content can be part of an Open Access Journal where all the Journal's articles are open, or part of hybrid Open Access journal, where only specific articles or issues are open. To enable your users to find and link to both types of articles, we set up collections that index the entire open access content of a provider regardless of whether it is coming from open access or hybrid journals. For that purpose the open access indicator is maintained at the record level rather than the journal level.

    These collections use the link in the record for full text linking instead of using the link resolver because the link resolver can identify availability only if the access rights are inherited at the journal issue level, but not if an individual article within a journal is open access. This even applies if the collections in Alma/SFX have portfolios. This method enables us to support individual open access articles as well as articles from full open access journals.

    The following providers' collections support the Hybrid Open Access functionality:

    Provider Collection ID Collection Name



    Sage Journals Open Access Journals



    Emerald Open Access

    Oxford U Press


    Oxford Journals Open Access Collection



    IEEE Xplore Open Access Journals

    Taylor & Francis


    Taylor & Francis Open Access



    Springer Nature OA Free Journals

    Wiley Online Library


    Wiley Online Library Open Access

    Cambridge University Press


    Cambridge University Press Wholly Gold Open Access Journals


    Open Access Content Sources Flagged in the Central Index

    Content in the Central Index is considered Open Access if it meets the following general criteria:

    • An item is freely available and openly accessible without requiring authentication by the user.

    • An item is identified by the provider/publisher as Open Access.

    • An item resides in a known Open Access repository, database, or journal collection that we determine to be Open Access.

    We recognize that there are different flavors and models of Open Access that depend on where the article is published, who is responsible for the cost of publishing, reuse rights, embargo periods, and so forth. We do not distinguish or differentiate between any of these models. Instead, we identify Open Access content based on the broad criteria described above and the methodologies described below.

    We have identified more than 100 Million items in the Central Index as Open Access content across dozens of content types, including journal articles, books, thesis, technical reports, patents, images, archival documents, and more. In most cases, links for Open Access items in Primo lead to the full text of an article, thesis, book (PDF or HTML), image, patent, technical report, or to just the descriptive metadata (such as a Table of Contents or an abstract) in the case of some open access repositories.

    For more information, see the following documents:

    How Open Access Content is Defined in the Central Index

    In the Central Index, content can be identified as Open Access at the collection level for Open Access repositories and open websites.

    There is no consistent way to identify open access content across different providers and content types. As such, metadata for all collections from participating providers must be carefully analyzed to determine the best methods for identifying whether content is open access or not. In many cases, we must apply conditional rules and logic to the metadata at indexing time to be able to correctly identify and differentiate open access content from subscribed content.  

    In the case of collections with hybrid content, for example, collections of primary publishers where some articles from a journal are open access and others are not, we usually separate the collection into two collections (one collection for subscribed content and the other for open access content), regardless of whether the open access content is coming from full open access journals or from hybrid journals. Over time, you can see an increasing number of those collections appearing in the Central Index.

    Institutional Repositories

    The responsibility for the metadata quality of institutional repositories is on the contributing institution and we will not make any record corrections, including OA indications, unless it is a major issue which affects the entire collection. You can read more here: Institutional Repositories in CDI.

    Remove Proxy Prefix for Open Access Links 

    Linking in CDI is supported either by the Alma/SFX Link Resolver or by the link within the records. The proxy configuration is managed accordingly in two different places. Both places allow to create exceptions for records that are flagged as open access.

    • In Alma/SFX you can define the proxy settings for links that are generated by the LinkResolver (LinkResolver collections), see Managing Electronic Resources (Alma) and  SFX General Users Guide (SFX).

    • In Primo/Primo VE, you can define proxy settings for link in records. For more details, see the configuration options for the EZproxy field (Primo) or the configuration options under the Use Proxy section (Primo VE).

    The removal of the Proxy as configured above is based on whether the link returned from CDI is marked with the Open Access indication. If the link in the record does not come from a participant marked as open access, the Proxy is not removed. 

    CDI provides this OA information per link in the PNX links section as follows:


    # Regular "Link in Record" Links:



    # All Links:


    # QuickLinks:


    If the $$H field contains the free_for_read indication, the collection is considered Open Access, and depending on the Proxy settings in Primo/Primo VE, the proxy is added to the URL.









    The OA indication at the record level is used for the display of the OA icon in the brief and full displays and the appearance of the record in the Open Access facet. 

    • Article last edited: 26-May-2023
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