The HEI NHS OpenAthens Scheme

What Is The NHS OpenAthens Scheme?

Throughout England, the NHS uses OpenAthens as its authentication system to journals, bibliographic databases, and other online resources.

Where Do Universities Come Into The Picture?

Our students on health-related courses (medicine, nursing, dentistry, allied health professions) go on placement in NHS Trusts. Whilst there, they will need access to those online resources – and getting them familiar with NHS routes into these resources will help prepare them for their transition from university student to NHS staff.

Can Students Register for An OpenAthens Account With The Trust They’re On Placement With?

Yes. But only for the time that they’re on placement in that Trust.

  • It’s a lot of work for the Trust’s library staff, when the students will be there for a few weeks at most
  • Students will need to register for a new account every time they start a new placement

Is There A Better Way?

Yes! Why not give them an NHS OpenAthens account that they can keep for the duration of their course? Enter the HEI NHS OpenAthens scheme: one OpenAthens account for the entire time they are at university.

Are All Students Eligible?

It’s available to all healthcare students in England, so long as their programme includes practice and / or placement within an NHS provider service. They can have the account for the duration of their programme.

How Do They Get An Account?

Their accounts should be set up by the NHS OpenAthens administrator within their university. Rather than registering each student individually (which can be done), you can bulk register them – keeping the process quick and simple.

What Resources Can They Access?

Students can access all the national core content, bought by Health Education England (HEE). This includes the NHS Core Content journals, the NHS databases via HDAS, the e-Learning for Healthcare training courses, and BMJ Best Practice.

What’s The Catch?

The only catch is that they only get access to the core content – access to resources purchased by the local library of the Trust they’re on placement with are not included. If access to that is needed, they’ll still need to register for a local NHS OpenAthens account that will work for the just the duration of their placement.

Oh, and their university library will need to manage the OpenAthens administration for their students’ accounts.

Who Manages OpenAthens Overall?

OpenAthens is an organisation in itself (and is part of Jisc). The NHS subscription for the use of OpenAthens is managed by HEE and NICE. UHMLG joins in with these three organisations in regular meetings where we represent all of the HEIs using the scheme. On a practical note, we have management oversight of all the HEI NHS OpenAthens accounts.

Which HEIs Are In The Scheme?

We have a list of all participating institutions.

I Want Our Organisation To Join The Scheme!

  • Do you work in a higher education organisation in England?
  • Do you have students on healthcare courses?
  • Do these courses involve an element of going on placement?
  • Is that placement in NHS organisations?

Yes + Yes + Yes + Yes = Welcome Aboard!

Use our Contact Us form and ask to join up.

How Can I Ensure I’m Up To Date With Developments And Hear About Training?

Simple: sign up for the lis-uhmlg-openathens mailing list.

Is There Any Training And Support Available?

Yes! We have two training sessions coming up in November.

There’s a huge amount of detailed help available in the OpenAthens dashboard. We’ve pulled out some of the basics to help you get started with your HEI NHS OpenAthens administrators role:
HEI NHS OpenAthens Administrators: the UHMLG “how to” guide.