The UK federation provides a single solution to accessing online resources and services for education and research. Participating organisations use SAML compatible technology, such as Shibboleth and Open Athens, that adhere to comprehensive technical standards in order to connect users to resources and services.
The animation 'UK federation; what it is' was created to give anyone interested in the service an introduction to why the UK federation was created and what it enables.
About federated access
Federated access is where there are mutually agreed, trusted policies for sharing user information, resources and services. A key point is that when a user attempts to access a resource, it is their home institution that authenticates them to do so. It does so by vouching for the user’s identity, whose personal information and credentials remains by default with their host institution, thus preserving privacy.
Using one username and password to access resources across different platforms, applications and locations is called single sign-on, and has significantly reduced the administrative burden on institutions and removed barriers to access.
Service level description
A service that provides organisations with:
A federated access infrastructure for participating UK educational organisations and education based service providers. This includes a UK federation metadata registry service with nightly updates of entity registration and a central discovery service.
A helpdesk providing technical, general federated access queries and membership and registration support available by phone via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hours of service
The central discovery service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week all year.
The metadata registry service and helpdesk are available during the business day as defined in SLD definitions.
Membership requests will be processed within three business days of receipt of all necessary information.
Entity registrations will be processed within two business days of receipt of all necessary information for existing registrations and within five business days of receipt of all necessary information for new registrations.
Access to Jisc services through single-sign-on access to resources offered by Jisc Collections
Through eduGAIN, UK federation users can access institutions and services in over 34 different countries
250 organisations offering over 350 services to over 500 participating institutions
Any of our customer organisations as well as service providers offering services to the UK education sector, are eligible to participate in the UK federation. Organisations that are funded by HEFCE as well as UK further education institutions can join free of charge.
Institutions not funded by HEFCE or UK FE funders may be liable for a £1000 per annum membership charge if they are looking to register an institution identity provider platform. Those registering an service provider platform only (ie making their services available to other users of the federation) can do so free of charge.
Individual users do not need to separately join the service. Instead, if you are a member of a participating organisation and you have a institutional logon account, you can use the UK federation.
Accessing the service
UK federation implementors
For information about how you can implement a UK federation compatible solution, using non-proprietary, free software, visit the Shibboleth website.
Organisations seeking to make their resources and service available through the UK federation can either notify the UK federation that they have a third party who are registered with the UK federation to do that on their behalf, or join the UK federation themselves. For more information, visit the UK federation website.