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Comment: Updated status

These are the proposed top level areas for the 2019 workplan, drawn from proposals crowdsourced in 2019. 

Table of Contents


REF19-1: REFEDS Coordination and Management

Lead: Nicole Harris


  • To progress REFEDS position as an important player within the access and identity management space internationally.  
  • To build on established relationships with GÉANT project, ISOC and Kantara. 


REF19-1AREFEDS BOFS at appropriate meetings throughout the year (maximum of 2).Suggestions for where to target BOFs in 2019 welcomed.  Proposal for an "unconference" style REFEDS meeting has been circulated to the community for discussion.Nicole Harris 01/19 12/19
REF19-1BMaintain and develop the REFEDS blog, wiki and website.

As normal.

Nicole Harris 01/19 12/19

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REF19-1CREFEDS annual meetings.TNC and Internet2 Technology Exchange Meeting.Nicole Harris 01/19 10/19

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REF19-1DImplement 2019 REFEDS Survey.Annual REFEDS Survey to go out in September 2019.Nicole Harris 09/19 12/19


REF19-1EManage REFEDS contracts with third parties.These are contracts with external parties that support REFEDS such as Spherical Cow Consulting and RETI.Nicole Harris 01/19 07/19

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REF19-1FManage REFEDS Sponsorships.Current sponsor list.Nicole Harris 12/18 01/20



All sponsorship invoices sent out. 

REF19-1GREFEDS Distinguished Engineer Programme. Programme to bring 2 engineers from developing federations to TNC.Heather Flanagan02/1908/18

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2 engineers have been identified and issued with an invitation to attend. 



FOG: Federation Operators Group

Peter Schober with support from Nicole Harris01/201912/2019Continuing as usual. There are 128 subscribers as of 14 January 2020.

OIDC(re): OpenID Connect for Research and Education

Niels van Dijk with support from Heather Flanagan01/201912/2019Proposed addition to the charter: OIDCre federations are moving into pilot phases and discussions on how to run hybrid SAML/OIDC federations are happening now. Rather than having to go back and try and normalize the policies for OIDCre federations, let's take a look at what we think the policy space should look like and create the necessary templates.This group was closed and work shifted to the OIDF Research & Education working group
REF19-2CSIRTFITom Barton with support from Nicole Harris01/201912/2019


Activity to investigate and report on the various ways Identity Federations have implemented incident response handling internally.

The result should provide national federations with insight on what to expect when contacting a peer, and opportunity for alignment and improvement. In addition it could support Sirtifi and eduGAIN e-Science support activities within AARC GEANT projects.

Template for federation operators.

Scoping tools to automate Sirtfi response testing and compliance.

See the group wiki page for an update on the status of work items for this group.
REF19-2DIdPs of Last ResortPete Birkinshaw with support from Heather Flanagan01/201912/2019

Continue on work to define ways of tagging IdPs of Last Resort and defining a specification for minimum requirements of such an IdP within federation environmentWork is largely dormant in this group.

REF19-2EAssuranceMikael Linden with support from Heather Flanagan01/201912/2019

The REFEDS Assurance suite was approved in October 2018. 2019 will focus has focused on encouraging adoption of the profiles.

REF19-2FEntity Category SupportNicole Harris01/201912/2019

Conduct a post-mortem for entity categories in general.

Work for REFEDS R&S next steps: R&S2, affiliation, academia

Abstract attributes

 - define approaches to abstract attributes to allow groups of attributes to be used.

 - feed into proposals to produce guidelines on attribute release for edugain.

 - create registry of attributes if appropriate.

Exchanging entity attributes outside of those with global definitions (e.g. R&S, Sirtfi etc) creates a potential for mounting conflict; part of handling this is orchestration and handling. There may also be tags that are defined within a federation, but not cross federation. This creates a vocabulary control challenge. Who handles the responsibilities among the fed ops to consider this and does this need managing? This work area will initially focus on discussion here (best practice), clarifying use cases and create a matrix to inform the discussion.  Recommendations on future steps to support this (including potential registries, rules for stripping using MDQ etc.) will be made.

The existing identifier complexity is maddening, and changes to recommendations in SAML2INT may significantly impact the attributes supported within R&S. Possibly push for adoption of the Subject-ID spec everywhere an identifier is needed, to reduce complexity for all involved going forward. Replaces eduPersonTargetedID, SAML 2.0 persistent NameID, eduPersonUniqueID and (partially) eduPersonPrincipalName. Might help align with private/public identifiers in OIDC.


Federation Trust 2.0

Tom Barton and Judith Bush with support from Heather Flanagan01/201912/2019The Federation 2.0 Working Group will follow a structured process to gather input from a wide range of information sources and individual perspectives, in order to review the past and current states and formulate possible future scenarios for the evolution of research and education federations. This data will be analysed and synthesised to articulate the value of R&E federation, identify potential changes that may increase that value, and recommend actions that R&E Federations and others can take to increase their value over time.The WG will focus on activities and outcomes in areas of common and shared responsibilities of many or all R&E Federationsworking group kicked of a process of scenario planning; work will continue in 2020 to develop a final report as a result of that effort.

REF19-3: Promotion and Communication

Lead: Nicole Harris


  • To provide materials and support mechanisms to help federations promote effective approaches to IdPs and SPs.
  • To provide feedback on documents produced by other groups to support clarity of messages.
  • To reach out to target groups where specific messaging could be beneficial.


REF19-3APromotional material and support for entity categories

Nicole Harris 

04/201909/2019 R&S pages updated.  Still an outstanding need for a benefits doc to be hosted at:

REFEDS Discovery Guide, Mark 2

Consent is used often within identity federations. While on a national level it may be clear what asking and giving consent entails, unfortunately consent does not mean the same thing in various countries as the legal grounds for consent vary. Also there are many ways to implement consent. What makes a good consent page and what does not? When is it (not)   user friendly, what should be shown to make it legally usable? What are the best practices around consent globally?

This activity investigates what it means to ask and give consent in various countries. In addition it describes recommendations for 'good' and 'bad' consent pages similar to the REFEDS Discovery Guide.

Include note on how hub and spoke federations manage discovery.

Heather Flanagan01/201908/2019 Work postponed until RA21 pilots are completed.

Publisher engagement

It is proposed that concerted effort continue in 2019 to engage publisher groups and tackle some of the wider problems in the publisher space.  This will be in coordination with the "RA21" group.

Work will expand in 2019 to include development of a scholarly resource entity category.

Heather Flanagan01/201912/2019 Tracked via Heather's engagement with RA21.

SP Engagement Plan

Develop/enhance an engagement plan for service providers. The goal is threefold: 1) to gain deeper insights about the needs of SPs within the community, 2) to better integrate SPs in general community engagement (conferences, working groups, discussions, etc), and 3) to develop a resource for gaining SP support, feedback, and contributions. (Follow up from the Technology Exchange ACAMP session, SPs Unite!:

Laura Paglione, Heather Flanagan01/201912/2019 

REF19-4: Standards and Specifications

Lead: Heather Flanagan


  • To provide support for the development of standards and specifications under the REFEDS banner.
  • To pilot specification work to support implementation requirements.
  • To put in place structures to ensure specification and schema sustainability.




Contract in place with GARR for central operations.  Development work to be contracted to RETI (Andrea).

New features added and delivered in Oct.

Contractor 01/2019 12/2019 


Evaluate service and determine what, if any changes are required to maintain

Licia Florio01/201912/2019Outstanding decision on EOL.