InAcademia for Identity Federations

InAcademia leverages the existing eduGAIN service acting as a proxy service to service providers that need only validate the academic affiliation of a user. Offering InAcademia via your Federation offers a lighter weight option for SPs, therefore, potential SPs can be offered an entry-level, low-maintenance alternative to joining the federation, increasing the number of services available to IdPs as a result.

As a Federation operator, what is the value of InAcademia to us and why would we promote InAcademia to our constituents? 

  • InAcademia is a service available to NRENs/Federations via eduGAIN that reduces the effort of onboarding services to national federations.
  • InAcademia is a trusted party that behaves like a proxy between IdP and Service Provider. This unifies the setup and experience that these entities would need to maintain with each other, minimising the flow of personal data, thus making the support for such cases significantly easier than the classical method.
  • This proxy relationship also means that registered merchants automatically and actively comply with the GEANT Code of Conduct.
  • Where commercial service providers in eduGAIN are free to request multiple attributes when using federated identity, InAcademia requests only the attributes necessary to confirm academic affiliation, and does not share the attribute values received from IdPs with its downstream services.
  • InAcademia responds to a merchant request for validation with pseudonymised identifiers, and strips out any superfluous PII returned by the IdP before returning an id_token to the client, meaning that it’s a truly privacy preserving route to using academic federated identities.
  • If an IdP is configured to send multiple claims/attributes to all services, InAcademia is capable of filtering only the claims/attributes that are relevant to the simple validation of academic affiliation, without sharing the additional information with the merchant.
  • Identity Federations can offload specific SPs to InAcademia whose use case only requires a success or denied answer in response to an affiliation request from a user, thereby removing the need to support them directly. This greatly reduces the effort that the Identity Federation would need to invest to bring those SPs up to join their federation.
  • InAcademia will open the possibility for SPs that wouldn’t be able to technically come to the point of joining an identity federation, to make use of academic identities, thus increasing the number of services available and making the Federation more attractive and valuable to IdPs.
  • Being able to widen the number and variety of SPs available in your federation is an exciting proposition for IdP organisations and end users, without proportionately increasing the support burden.
  • As SPs often don’t understand federated identity, Federations spend a disproportionate amount of time to onboard them; promoting InAcademia will save effort and cost for your Federation.

How is InAcademia governed?

  • InAcademia is a service created by Identity Federation operators under the GEANT Project. You can have a say, and can actively be involved in influencing the InAcademia future direction and roadmap. We encourage you to express your interest using the contact form or via the eduGAIN communication channels.
  • We’re planning to offer in the future a portal that would enable local onboarding of R&S/Community/not-for-profit SPs.

How is the revenue collected from InAcademia distributed?

The intention is that any revenue will be used to help to sustain delivery of InAcademia service, eduGAIN and Federation Operators in future, therefore, they may be some tangible, financial benefit in promoting InAcademia amongst your community.

As a Federation Operator, do I have to pay a fee to use InAcademia?


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