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This consultation will be open from Tuesday 5th October 2021 at 17:00 CEST to Monday 1st November at 17:00 CEST


R&E federations are key enablers of academic endeavors by facilitating user access to protected online resources, within and across organisations, locally and around the world. They have evolved from seeds planted by select universities to encompass the full range of educational institutions, research institutions, their commercial and governmental partners, and research and scholarly collaborations. The distinctive access needs of the Academy to support trusted collaboration have resulted in a unique combination of technical and policy implementations. We name this singular, global infrastructure, an integration of all of the national R&E federations, Academic Interfederation.

The Federation 2.0 Working Group, following a scenario planning methodology, explored the future of 10 or more years hence. We were concerned about what we saw: variations of dystopia across the Academy. We realised that the community of national Research &  Education (R&E) federations is not prepared to navigate the critical uncertainties that will determine their future.

This report sets out a range of recommendations on actions that need to be taken to ensure the future of Academic Interfederation.


Participants are invited to:

  • consider the proposed report
  • propose appropriate changes / challenges to the proposed text, and
  • reflect on whether the recommendations in the report are valid and correct.

This consultation will be open from Tuesday 5th October 2021 at 17:00 CEST to Monday 1st November at 17:00 CEST

The document for the consultation is available as a pdf attachment.  All comments should be made on: or added to the changelog below.  Comments posted to other lists will not be included in the consultation review.

Change Log

comment #Line/Reference #Proposed Change or QueryProposer / AffiliationAction / Decision (please leave blank)
1generalI think it is strange that a report on Academic Interfederation does not mentioned eduGAIN at all. This seems a significant oversight.Nicole Harris, GÉANT
2616The report makes a recommendation that new governance structure for federation be put in place but does not analyse or discuss why the group feels the current models are ineffective.  To make this point, i feel this analysis is needed.  There are many groups looking at federation - REFEDS, eduGAIN, FIM4R, FIM4L, AEGIS etc. The report does not mention them.Nicole Harris, GÉANT

"Academic Interfederation exists, but is not coordinated nor resourced as a viable and evolving infrastructure" - this statement implies that the eduGAIN infrastructure is neither resourced nor viable. This needs addressing.

Nicole Harris, GÉANT
41036 and 665These comments on the volunteer nature of the community seem to contradict each other.  I'd also challenge the participation in REFEDS by many individuals as strictly "volunteer" as most people are participating on paid time from their organisationsNicole Harris, GÉANT
5208The use of "federal" and also the examples provided might lead to believe this is a US based thing, which is of cause totally not the case. Perhaps showcasing examples from around the globe would strengthen the notion this is a global effort.Niels van Dijk, SURF
  • The report does not describe or discuss the existing federation arrangements (e.g., eduGAIN) and assets (e.g., Shibboleth) that have global significance. You need to know where you are, before you can decide when and how you intend to get to your destination.
  • A specific, egregious omission is the absence of the role of NRENs. Almost all federations are funded, organised, and governed through an NREN. The same is true of virtually all international activities relating to academic federation: who funds eduGAIN and Shibboleth? The NRENs are the decision-makers, and therefore all change will be directed through their governance mechanisms.
  • Where there should have been reflective discussion on the tangible, actual facts and realities of federation, there is, instead, unsubstantiated speculation about “future-looking scenarios”.
  • The “key takeaways” and “recommendations”, therefore, appear non-sequiturs, having little apparent logical association with the preceding scenarios. This is not to say that they are poor takeaways or recommendations, necessarily; but that they are not clearly supported by the prior analysis.
  • The recommendations themselves are uncontentious; they often describe activities that the community is already engaged in, to a greater or lesser extent. It might be helpful if the report discussed how existing activities could be refocused, realigned, etc., to achieve the intended vision or end-state.
  • However, the report does not articulate a vision or end-state. It is unclear what purpose, therefore, what the recommendations are intended to accomplish, in a strategic sense, for the stakeholders and beneficiaries of federation. An unsympathetic reader might read it as a justification of “more of the same”, rather than a directed statement of ambition.
Josh Howlett, Federated Solutions

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