Denial of Access Error - FAQ
At approximately 11AM CT on Tuesday 9/25, customers with a valid subscription were erroneously being blocked from accessing the full text of JAMA Network journals' articles and subscriber-only resources. Subscribers were confronted with a 'no access' message regardless of whether or not they had a current and valid subscription. This problem lasted until approximately 8PM CT on 9/25 when access was restored to all customers.
Why did it happen?
The denial of access problem was introduced into the journals platform software as part of a regularly scheduled maintenance release which typically includes normal functionality enhancements and bug fixes. The specific part of the software that caused the outage was related to how the system checks subscription expiration dates to that access expires at the appropriate time. A new bug in this date comparison system erroneously expired subscriptions on the system, thereby denying access to valid, active customers.
What steps have been taken to ensure it doesn't happen again?
An oversight during the quality assurance process of this release caused this problem; more specifically, the oversight occurred while testing live customer accounts to simulate a real customer attempting to access the journals. Both the AMA and Silverchair Information Systems (The JAMA Network's online platform provider) are modifying the quality assurance and testing process to supply Silverchair with actual account information to use during testing, and to collaborate with the AMA on new testing opportunities so that all customer access scenarios are tested.