Related product Link Resolver (SFX)

Free and Open Access Targets in SFX

Best of SFX Free and Open Access collections in CARLI shared SFX instance.

CARLI's SFX System Committee has recommended that CARLI activate the Tier 1, “Best of” free targets in the CARLI Shared instance of SFX, so that all libraries get the benefit of them, by default. (Effective Sept. 2015, with quarterly updates. Here's the latest spreadsheet of free and Open Access targets. )  

Effect of Shared Instance on the local SFX Instance

All CARLI SFX instances are linked to the shared instance, although some libraries have contacted CARLI to opt out of selected targets from the shared instance. Targets activated in the shared instance appear on a library's menu of services, even if the target is not active in the local instance. (For more information, see "How Does SFX Know What We Subscribe To? The CARLI Shared Instance," an eleven minute video.) The SFX System Committee believes much valuable content is available to library patrons from the Tier 1 Free and Open Access targets. Therefore, CARLI will activate these targets in the shared instance, effective Monday September 21, 2015.

If your library does not want to be part of this new project, you must opt out, with an email to If your library is among those for which CARLI has activated all the free full text targets automatically each week, please read the "What should we do now?" section below, about your free full text target activations. After September 14, 2015, CARLI will no longer activate free targets in local instances of SFX.

Of course, SFX administrators can activate free or open source targets in their local instances, based on local needs, regardless of how the SFX System Committee has ranked them.


Over the last year, the SFX System Committee has examined SFX free and Open Access targets, in order to help CARLI libraries determine which targets they should activate. We started with “getFullTxt” or “getSelectedFullTxt” targets that have FREE or OPEN_ACCESS in the target name.  Our selection criteria included:

  • All publications in the target from the same provider/publisher/platform.
  • Publisher provides a reliable title list with valid linking. 
  • The target supports article- or chapter-level linking. 
  • The target does not duplicate other free targets.
  • The target has a reputation for quality content.
  • The primary language of the publications in the target is English.

See the CARLI SFX website for the latest spreadsheet of free and Open Access targets. The first worksheet is Tier 1: what the SFX System Committee considers the best English-language free or Open Access targets (total 53 targets). The second worksheet is Tier 2: Free English-language targets with drawbacks: some degree of duplication, poorer quality linking, or lack of article-level access (total 40 targets).  

The third worksheet is Tier 3: non-English-language free or Open Access targets (total 60 targets). The SFX committee realizes that demand for foreign language periodicals and eBooks varies widely across institutions. SFX administrators need to choose whether to activate these targets, based on local needs.

We had all free targets activated the past,
what should we do now?

CARLI recommends that libraries deactivate in their local instance any target that's activated for them in the shared instance. The only reasons to leave these targets active in the local instance would be:

  • You have a public display name for the target that you prefer to the public display name assigned in the shared instance.
  • You prefer to troubleshoot and maintain locally any targets that you expose to your users.

Regarding free targets that are not among the "Tier 1" targets, if your library decides it is still valuable to expose these to your users, you will need to leave them active in your local instance. Going forward, you will need to activate manually any new free targets, and new object portfolios under existing free full text targets,  and you will need to maintain these targets locally, as URLs change and as titles come and go.

Get Help?

Contact if you need help acting on the information in the spreadsheet. For help activating new targets, see the video lessons “How Do I Tell SFX What We Subscribe To?”

We welcome your feedback on this project, by email and at the next SFX Systems Committee open conference call.