Following a fruitful second year, a new work plan for REFEDS (Research and Education Federations) was approved by the REFEDS Steering Committee (SC) in December 2012 for the period January – December 2013. The plan includes the completion of some ongoing work as well as the start of a new initiative.
Thanks to the sponsors and the work carried out by many volunteers in REFEDS we managed to carry out significant work in 2012! A summary of the main achievements is appended below.
The REFEDS plan for 2013 includes the start of a pilot service called REEP, built using the PEER (Public EndPoint Entity Registry) software that was completed in 2012. The pilot will be hosted by NORDUnet (Nordic Infrastructure for Research and Education) and is supported by ISOC (Internet Society). REEP will offer a central register for service providers to upload their metadata and will enable federations to download relevant metadata. This has the clear advantage of avoiding duplication of data and ensuring that the data stored in REEP are updated.
Work is ongoing to launch the REEP website and to better define the service conditions.
In 2012, guidelines were completed for ‘The Discovery Project‘, offering recommendations (“4-Steps into Discovery”) for service providers to implement federated login in a way that improves the users’ experience. These will be released within the first months of 2013, according to the REFEDS plan. These guidelines build on the NISO ESPReSSO report to implement federated login.
Metadata Explorer Tool (MET)
MET, the Metadata Explorer Tool, became available at the end of 2012 as a beta version. The tool is meant to replace the federations survey hosted on the REFEDS wiki, and shows, among other things, the number of services that are offered by different federations, visualises the number of identity providers per federation and thus enables some comparisons between federations.
The MET tool is available for testing.
Roadmap for Federations to address e-Research communities
A document was prepared jointly by REFEDS and eduGAIN teams to provide answers to the various requirements gathered by the the e-Research community in the FIM4R paper and to propose a roadmap to address them. The first version was circulated to the general REFEDS list in December 2012. The final version will be presented in March 2013 to the FIM4R workshop. The document can be found online at:
Plans for 2013
To complement policy work carried out in 2011-2012, REFEDS will focus on the creation of federation operator best practice documents from a technical perspective.
Further plans include more extensive engagement with the e-Research community regarding the use of federated access. REFEDS also plans to help federations support Level of Assurance through the creation of a tool that allows organisations to map their current practices and processes to known assurance profiles.
The REFEDS planning documents are available for consultation.