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What is eduGAIN

eduGAIN provides an efficient, flexible way for participating federations, and their affiliated users and services, to interconnect

Today, online services are crucial for research and education. Students, teachers, researchers and institution staff rely on them for collaboration through many web services. This can be for e-learning, teaching and conferencing, analysing and sharing data, accessing journals and libraries etc. Enabling easy and convenient access to users is a key part of delivering a service. Service providers do not want the headaches associated with issuing passwords to users, and the user does not want yet another password.

With just one trusted identity provided by user’s institution as part of an identity federation participating in eduGAIN, users can access services from other participating federations. Even better, it works with single sign-on (SSO), so that user needs to login only one time during a browser session.

R&E identity federations are typically deployed on a national level and use different architectures, systems and policies. eduGAIN enables identity federations to interconnect, so that participating institutions and services can collaborate without the need to establish individual bilateral connections.

Benefits of eduGAIN

Users, services and organisations who need to easily and securely manage access to services benefit from eduGAIN because identity federations enable them to reuse their existing systems to operate across borders without having to make many individual agreements.

eduGAIN is a global service. Around the world there are more than 55 federations participating in or in the process of joining eduGAIN, with more than 2,600 identity providers and 1,800 service providers.



Who is eduGAIN for?

 Identity federations

  • Join the eduGAIN service as it enables you to interconnect with other federations
  • Lean on eduGAIN trustworthy service – enables secure exchange of federation information
  • Enable you to provide more services for your users available through other federations
  • Gain in time saving and lower administration costs as no need for bilateral federation agreements

 Identity providers

  • Join an identity federation participating in eduGAIN​
  • Offer more to your users – enable access to a wider range of services than are available locally or nationally
  • No extra administrative burden if you are already participating in an identity federation

 Users – identity holders

  • Gain your federated identity from your home organisation i.e. identity provider
  • Access a wider range of services than are available nationally or locally
  • One digital identity for all services connected through eduGAIN
  • eduGAIN is ‘invisible’ to you so you can access services without extra effort – just login and be online !

 Service providers

  • Join an identity federation participating in eduGAIN
  • Grow your audience by making your service available to a greater number of users
  • Lower costs per user – your audience grows without increasing costs for maintenance of users credentials

Key concepts

Many organisations use Authentication and Authorisation Infrastructures (AAIs) to build a trusted environment where users can be identified electronically using a single identity. The necessity for user identity to cross borders between organisations, domain and services, lead to the creation of federated identity environments.

Home organisations (e.g. a university, library, research institute etc.) register users by assigning a digital identity. They also operate an Identity Provider and are able to authenticate their users and provide a limited set of attributes that characterise the user in a given context. Resource owners (Service Providers) delegate the authentication to Identity Providers in order to control access to the provided resources.

An Identity federation is a group of Identity and Service Providers that sign up to an agreed set of policies for exchanging information about users and resources to enable access to and use of the resources. There are many Research and Education identity federations around the globe and they commonly have a national coverage. To discover worldwide identity federations, view the REFEDS map.

eduGAIN interconnects identity federations around the world, simplifying access to content, services and resources for the global research and education community. The eduGAIN technology involves a “metadata service”, which regularly retrieves and aggregates information from participating federations about Service and Identity Providers, and makes this information available to federations. eduGAIN coordinates necessary elements of the federations’ technical in

frastructure and provides a policy framework controlling the exchange of this information between Identity Federations. For an overview of identity federations currently in eduGAIN, visit the eduGAIN federations page.