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December 2018

Reducing barriers to federated authentication

First published by Australian Research Data Commons

The Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) is providing further $900k investment to expand the capacity of the Australian Access Federation’s (AAF) managed service Rapid Identity Provider (Rapid IdP).

This expansion aims to minimise the barriers to connecting research communities. Rapid IdP provides a simple way for researchers in organisations of all sizes to access shared infrastructure and platforms. This investment will expand collaboration in Australia and internationally by simplifying the process for service providers to connect with research communities.

Ian Duncan, Acting Executive Director at ARDC, states that this investment will ensure Australia’s identity platforms can evolve to meet the emerging and changing requirements of the research community.

To learn more about Rapid IdP, contact enquiries@aaf.edu.au.

July 2018

International researchers can now map the universe with Murchison

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Located 360 km northeast of Geraldton, Western Australia, lies the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), one of Australia’s leading radio telescopes. While situated in Australia, a team of partners from Canada, India, Japan, China, New Zealand and the United States are behind the design and ongoing maintenance of the MWA. The vast, radio-silent landscape of Australia’s outback offers ideal conditions to house this internationally significant equipment. Enabling astronomers from around the world to explore the universe, the MWA is a critical part of Australia’s astrophysical research infrastructure.

As an internationally accessible telescope, global collaboration is integral to the success of the MWA and researcher outputs. To ensure this collaboration is seamless and secure the MWA has connected to eduGAIN. eduGAIN is a global initiative to connect research communities and higher education identity federations around the world. The Australian Access Federation (AAF) connected to eduGAIN in 2017 and have made it possible for global facilitates to share research services and tools with over 50 federations around the world. Professor Melanie Johnston-Hollitt, MWA Director, said, ‘the eduGAIN connection is a vital service for an international collaboration like the MWA making it simple for our team of global researchers to access data from the telescope’.

Using eduGAIN to further streamline international collaboration is ‘fundamental to the continued success of the project’ Johnston-Hollit claims. In Australia, organisations can connect to eduGAIN through the Australian Access Federation (AAF) an eResearch infrastructure capability enabling single sign-on nationally and now internationally. Not only does the MWA benefit the education and research sector, the commercial sector benefits through multiple joint projects. The discovery of new and fundamental astrophysics by the MWA and partnering organisations can lead to new technology in the coming decades.

Connecting the MWA to eduGAIN not only enhances and accelerates innovation in astrophysics, it enables borderless research. A global initiative and a world leading data advantage, Australia’s role in eduGAIN is becoming solidified as more national research and infrastructure is shared globally.

May 2018

Identity Federations in Australia and the Asia Pacific Region

The Australian Access Federation has been working with APAN (Asia Pacific Advanced Network) to grow Identity Management federations in the Asia Pacific (APAC) Region. With 43 organisations currently participating in APAN, The AAF is providing thought leadership and support for identity federations in the APAC region. Terry Smith the AAF’s Technical Support and Engagement Manager currently chairs the APAN Identity Access Management working group, and is supported by his Co-Chairs, Toby Chan represents the Hong Kong Access Federation and William Wan is representing CARSI (CERNET (China Education and Research Network) Authentication and Resource Sharing Infrastructure). Since 2016 the AAF has been instrumental in assisting Hong Kong and Singapore to set up their national access federations and have been sharing knowledge and skills with the other APAN participants.

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Broadening the reach of identity Federations in the region

The BACKFIRE Project

APAN, in conjunction with REFEDS and JISC, recently won a grant to begin the BACKFIRE (Broadening Asi@Connect Knowledge on Federated Identity, Roaming and E-infrastructure) project. The BACKFIRE project will continue to extend the work undertaken by the APAN Identity and Access Management Task Force to benefit members and ensure they receive the same level of support, mentoring and guidance for federation development. Part of the project will also sponsor delegates from non-federated countries to attend APAN conferences, to gain further understanding about federated access and the issues in the sector. The project will aim to foster discussions about developing federations in these countries, and cultivate federations in Asia and Oceania. 15 delegates from non-federated APAC regions will attend and participate in the next four APAN conferences. The BACKFIRE project is seeking further assistance from established federations to provide mentors for these counties.


The AAF has actively promoted the rollout of eduGAIN in Asia Pacific, assisting Singapore in obtaining membership, and advising Hong Kong, New Zealand and China to participate in the global initiative as voting members and candidates. Australia has recently completed the first phase of the national eduGAIN rollout, with eight identity providers and two service providers already connected to the global federation. The AAF will continue to work with Australian subscribers to connect to eduGAIN and realise the full potential that eduGAIN can provide for them.


In addition to federated access management, the Asia Pacific region has been strongly supporting the global uptake of ORCID. Australia, Taiwan and New Zealand are the ORCID Consortia in the region with other countries in the region consulting with the current consortia to understand how ORCID could benefit their national agenda. New Zealand recently developed an ORCID Hub, which will simplify connecting to ORCID for many of their members and Australia have been leading the way with community engagement and a national vision for ORCID.

To find out more about federations in the Asia Pacific visit the APAN website.

April 2018

Tell us what you think! The 2018 AAF Subscriber and Technical surveys are now open. To complete either survey, go to 2018 AAF Surveys.

March 2018

New AAF cloud hosted service makes connectivity effortless

Rapid Identity Provider (IdP) is the Australian Access Federation’s (AAF) new cloud hosted service. It provides a fast, easy option to connect your organisation to hundreds of research and education services already connected to the AAF. You configure your organisations AAF connection through the web interface and we take care of the rest.

This hosted service delivers a range of features which include updates, security patches, maintenance and more. Whether your organisation is large or small, Rapid IdP can provide a solution to suit your needs.

Connect to the AAF the easy way, and get back to the work that matters to you.

Find out more about Rapid IdP by visiting Rapid Identity Provider or contact us at enquiries@aaf.edu.au

January 2018

Australian ORCID Consortium is internationally recognised for inspired community engagement

In January, the ORCID Consortium run by the Australian Access Federation (AAF) was awarded the ORCID Consortia award for inspired engagement and outstanding community building. Since 2016, the AAF and governance groups have been working tirelessly to engage stakeholders across all research sectors and build awareness of ORCID nationally. With only two staff members, the AAF successfully manages a consortium of 40 organisations.

This hard work resulted in the development of joint ORCID policy statements from library, IT, and research office associations, the national data centre, and funding bodies. Using a broad buy-in strategy Australia developed an effective consortium governance and cost-recovery model. Continuing to produce high-quality communications materials and technical resources for members, the AAF has been generous in sharing their experiences with fellow consortia around the world.

Become a part of Australia’s national ORCID community today and contact orcid@aaf.edu.au

November 2017

ORCID Collect and Connect Program

Has your organisation completed an ORCID integration with one of your systems? If your answer is yes, then your organisation could be eligible for Collect and Connect badges. Learn more about the Collect and Connect program and start collecting badges today.

Collect and Connect video for research orgs

September 2017

One step closer to connecting Australia’s researchers globally


The Australian Access Federation (AAF) has recently completed a project funded by RDS (Research Data Services) that paves the way for Australian researchers to collaborate with international partners. The AAF is now connected to eduGAIN (Education Global Authentication Infrastructure) bringing Australian researchers one step closer to effortless international collaboration.

AAF and RDS have worked closely to deliver the eduGAIN service and have successfully piloted it with a subset of AAF subscribers. This phase of the project delivered the policy framework for the service, along with support materials and resources for a future national roll out.

eduGAIN helps deliver on the government’s agenda for the internationalisation of research. It will enable researchers, educators and students to collaborate with their colleagues and securely access applications, tools and datasets in other countries.

The project has delivered connections to more than 40 international identity federations and over 160 extra research services from organisations such as CERN and LIGO. eduGAIN connectivity will:

This international connectivity is also an important enabler for several tools which are under development as part of the joint (RDS, ANDS, NECTAR, AARNet) Research Data Lifecycle Framework project.

This project represents a significant step forward towards international connectivity, but there is still more work to be done to roll the service out nationally.

For more information

If international connectivity would be valuable for your organisation or service, find out how to connect to eduGAIN or contact support@aaf.edu.au | aaf.edu.au/edugain

July 2017

Your feedback is important to us!

Please take a few moments to complete the ORCID Consortium member survey

The ORCID Consortium is seeking your feedback by completing our member survey. Your feedback is important, as it will provide information that will assist with planning and meeting the needs of the Consortium in the future.

To complete the survey, go to ORCID Consortium member survey 2017.

The survey closes on Friday 11 August 2017.

We would like to ask you to complete the survey as one of our members and also encourage you to pass the survey on to others that work closely with the ORCID Consortium in your organisation.

Your responses and comments will be confidential and the survey will only take 10 minutes to complete.

If you have any questions, please email orcid@aaf.edu.au

For more information about the ORCID Consortium, please visit the ORCID Consortium web page.