It’s that time of the year when we look at what REFEDS has achieved.
2015 has been a rich year for REFEDS not only because REFEDS celebrated its 10th birthday, but also because of the high number of results!
The new sponsorship model launched at the beginning of 2015 has been well received and the number of sponsors increased in 2015 (11 in 2015 versus 9 in 2014). The expectation is to have two new sponsors in 2016.
A new REFEDS website was launched in 2015, to offer a more stable and easy to manage platform. The website, the wiki, the mailing lists (also migrated to Sympa in November 2015) and the blog constitute the REFEDS online presence.
Besides the two yearly meetings, REFEDS held two BoFs (APAN, EWTI) and the REFEDS Coordinators made a number of presentations at events throughout the year.
To support promotion and management, REFEDS started a new activity – the REFEDS annual survey – to gain a better overview of the current state and maturity federations.
The work on entity category has been very valuable to the community. REFEDS continue to support this approach and plans for 2016 are to offer more supporting documentation to further increase adoption. This included in 2015 two campaigns:
- to help promote entity categories to IdPs and SPs;
- and a set of guidance on how to justify the use of entity categories according to the EU regulations on data protection.
A consultation on a further entity category was carried out (Academia) but consensus was not reached. This will be revisited in 2016.
The new workpackage on Groups and Virtual Organisations, outsourced to Heather Flanagan, produced two main outputs:
- a VO assessment document – a template for those interested in starting a VO .
- a value proposition for federations – to highlight the benefits of federations as well as the reasons as to why should federated access be prioritised and what needs to be done to create a federation.
REFEDS has funded development on two tools:
- MET – The Metadata Explorer Tool is designed to give federations a quick overview of the metadata in existing federations. Thanks to the work done by GARR (Andrea Biancini) the tool offers a real value for federations now.
- REEP-PEER – a tool that allows for easy and simple registration of entity metadata in a central source. The workflow and the interface were improved after a trial period. REFEDS will continue to support this tool, which can be used as a supporting tool for other projects where an exchange of metadata is needed, but using eduGAIN may not be necessary. The new software is expected to be in production by the end of 2015.
The approach to use the RFC process for some specific REFEDS documents will be continued as it has proved to be very valuable. This work has been outsourced to Ian Young. Two main documents are being pushed via the RFC process at the moment:
Finally, REFEDS keeps supporting SCHAC (the latest update was done in June 2015; the schema is now stable) and a number of working groups.
Plans for 2016 are to consolidate the current work and to focus efforts in preparing additional supporting material.
Many thanks to REFEDS sponsors, to Heather, Ian and Andrea for helping us and of course to all of you who engage so passionately in REFEDS!
Best season wishes from Nicole and Licia!