I would like to facilitate things for our UK users. In theory, we could forward our users to an Athens URL containing the final URL of the resource the user wants to access and the user's institution, i.e. something like this:
Athens could easily look up the relevant publisher based on the submitted URL, then a) forward the user directly to FINAL_URL if they are already authenticated or b) present the user with a login page before forwarding them. This would make Athens as easy to use as reverse proxy for PhilPapers users.
But this was not to be. The actual login URLs for Athens look something like this:
These are the URLs one finds on publishers' sites (Wiley in this case). As far as I can tell, there is no parameter to specify the institution, and the ath_dspid code is mandatory. When I tried changing the latter for 'OTHER' the login failed (I found someone with an Athens account who tested this for me).
So, to point our users to appropriate Athens login pages we would have to know the publisher codes. And of course they are not published by Eduserv, the company that runs Athens. Eduserv has refused to help us out in any way -- all we've ever heard from them is 'buy our product'.
Another company which hasn't been very cooperative is ExLibris, the company that makes the widely used SFX OpenURL resolver. Here too we'd need some data to make use of the service, because each institution has its own OpenURL resolver. I've repeatedly asked ExLibris for a list of institutional SFX server URLs (I'm sure they have that), and I never got any response at all.
Fortunately for us, WorldCat has come up with a solution to our problem (and everyone else trying to streamline access to subscription-based resources): they've created a big database of institutional OpenURL resolvers which everyone can query for free (so long as it's for non-profit use). Given an institution's name, WorldCat's 'Registry' will tell us what resolver(s) it uses. The resolver will then forward the user to an appropriate access point to the item, including (as far as I can tell) Athens access pages as appropriate. Thanks to WorldCat, we can give our users the benefits of all the secret data the like of ExLibris and Eduserv have at almost no expense to ourselves.