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Attributes Working Group Focuses on Research & Scholarship

Apr 16, 2018, by Dean Woodbeck
Tags: Identity Federation, InCommon Federation, Recent Posts, Research, Trust & Identity, Working Group

By Brad Christ, CIO at Eastern Washington University

Since this past December, the Attributes for Collaboration and Federation Working Group has reached over 130 institutions and organizations through an online survey and personal interviews as the group has examined participation in the Research and Scholarship Category (R&S). A wide range of institutions and organizations were contacted, including both InCommon participants and non-participants, large public research universities, small private institutions, service providers, and collaborative groups. 

Our results indicated that awareness of the R&S Category is high among active participants in InCommon, but low to almost non-existent for institutions that, while members, are not actively participating in the InCommon Federation, Internet2, or other technically-focused higher education collaborations. As our interviews showed, however, there are also many large research institutions that are unaware of R&S. 

Besides lack of awareness, the most common reasons for why an institution hasn't joined the category include confusion about the purpose of R&S (i.e. "my institution does not perform research"), other priorities taking precedence, and lack of knowledge about technical requirements. Most institutions would like to see additional information about the category, such as a list of their peers currently participating, better technical documentation, and a listing of the services available as part of the category. 

The working group is incorporating these findings into a set of recommendations. Thank you to everyone who participated in our survey or our interviews.

More about the working group (taken from the working group's charter): The working group will explore reasons default attribute release policies (ARPs) are not in place at most campuses, propose a default list of attributes for InCommon IdP operators, develop and execute a roadmap for adoption of Research and Scholarship Service Category as well as a default attribute release policy (ARP), and review and enhance online content for identity provider administrators so they have a clear set of steps to follow to implement the desired approach.

Additional information is on the working group's wiki: