The South African Identity Federation (SAFIRE) has become the first African Federation to be admitted as a fully participating member of eduGAIN, the international interfederation service interconnecting research and education identity federations managed by GEANT, the European Research and Education Network.
eduGAIN enables the secure exchange of information related to Identity, authentication and authorization between participating federations.
And in February 2017, the eduGAIN steering group voted to admit SAFIRE, as its 41st member effectively allowing South Africa’s academics and researchers to log into a thousand participating services worldwide using their home organisation’s username and password.
Breaking the news on its website, the Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa (TERNET) expressed delight over the development saying SAFIRE’s joining of eduGAIN will play a big role in enhancing collaboration between South Africa and international research.
“Federated identity services play an increasingly critical role in facilitating access to big science projects, and so South Africa’s participation in this space is an important milestone towards allowing South African scientists to collaborate in international research. Locally, SAFIRE will make it easier for universities and research organisations to collaborate in a wide variety of fields, from teaching and learning through to interdisciplinary research. As it grows, SAFIRE should help the research and education sector realise economies of scale and savings in systems integration costs,” reads a statement in part.
The statement added that the joining of eduGAIN will also provide participants with more granular mechanisms to control access to expensive electronic resources, such as those provided by university libraries.
Meanwhile the eduGAIN team also announced it has admitted the Indian Federation (INFED) as a member but said the federation is yet to be admitted as a full participating member. The team said all issues concerning the participation of the federation will be resolved soon.
EduGAIN started as a research initiative in the GN2 (2004-2009) project and become a full operational service in 2011. Currently the service has a membership of 43 federations comprising of 3851 entities with 2361 IdPs, 1494 SPs and 4 AAS.
The service has 5 separate voting members and 10 candidate members. Four federations from African countries namely Algeria, Malawi, Mozambique and Uganda are listed as candidate members.
More information on the service is available at online.