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Study on AAA
Platforms For Scientific
Resources in Europe
In December 2011 the Consortium composed of the following four partners:
- TERENA (Trans European Research and Education Networking Association), the leading partner;
- LIBER (Association of European Research Libraries);
- UvA (Universiteit van Amsterdam hereafter called UvA);
- DEENK (University and National Library of Debrecen)
has been , a consortium of four partners and a number of external experts was awarded a contract by the European Commission to carry out a study into AAA (authentication, authorisation and accounting) platforms and services for scientific data/information resources.
The consortium will work together with the following experts as indicated in the bid that was submitted and accepted by the European Commission:
- Diego Lopez (Telefonica I+D)
- Klaas Wierenga (Cisco Systems)
- Torbjörn Wiberg (Umeå University)
- Nicole Harris (JISC Advance)
This study will run from Dec 2011 until August 2012.
Background for the AAA Study
Supporting and promoting scientific research and innovation as well enabling access to scientific information are key priorities for the European Commission and for the Member States.
The rapid development and adoption of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) has changed the way researchers work, enabling almost instantaneous collaboration regardless of physical location and has provided access to an enormous amount of scientific information that can be processed on powerful computational platforms. This new way of working has generated and generates a huge volume of data, whose exchange and curation pose significant challenges.
To address this point. the High-Level Expert Group on Scientific Data (also known as HLEG on Scientific Data) recommends in its report (Riding the Wave ) the creation of a directive to set up a unified authentication and authorisation system, which they envision would pave the way to distributed and collaborative authentication, authorisation and accounting (AAA) for scientific data. As a result of the recommendations of the HLEG on Scientific Data, the European Commission has tendered to award funding to study the feasibility and impact of adapting the existing, widely used AAA platforms and services to be fully compliant with the requirements posed by the use of data/information resources (such as papers).
A bid in responce to the calls for tender was submitted in the summer 2011 and awarded to the Consortium in December 2011.
Aim of the AAA Study
The goal of this study is to provide recommendations for the development and deployment of a Scientific Data e-Infrastructure (SDI) that would enable access to heterogonous data for researchers and citizens alike. The SDI should be delivered integrating as much as possible existing AAA platforms (such as those used by the research and education community, or those used by the eScience community). The study will therefore will identify use-cases for the SDI; it will assess existing AAA-infrastructures as well as the ability for the existing AAA-infrastructures to address these use-cases; the study will also examine the gaps in providing the necessary infrastructure to support the use-cases and explore the work that is being done in the existing AAA-infrastructures to address those needs.
The results of the study in the forms of technical and policy recommendations will be used in developing a strategy, in particular, for Scientific Data Infrastructures in Europe that will support science by providing access to quality services for researchers, funding agencies and for the public at large.
The targeted actors in the study are the research and education communities, information service providers (data centres, libraries) and e-Infrastructure/technology providers.
Organisation of the AAA Study
The goal of the study will be achieved by meeting three different objectives as described in the picture below:
The study, led by TERENA, was concluded in September 2012.
The AAA Study Final Report is now available as pdf.
Aim of the AAA Study
The goal of the study was to evaluate the feasibility of delivering an integrated Authentication and Authorisation (and possibly accounting) Infrastructure (AAI) to help the emergence of a robust platform (Scientific Data Infrastructure(SDI)) for access to and preservation of scientific information.
The targeted actors in the study were the research and education communities, information service providers (data centres, libraries) and e-Infrastructure providers.
The study was organised in two parts (see picture on the righhand side):
- Collection use-cases to derive the AAI requirements;
- Evaluation of existing AAI as well as their gap analisys to identify their strengths and their challenges. The legal aspects of the different AAIs was also assessed.
The output of the study consists of a set of recommendations for the delivery of an integrated AAI to be used for SDI.
The recommendations highlight the following priorities:
- The general assumption confirmed by this study is that an AAI for SDI should be built on standard technologies, using mechanisms to translate between various authentication and authorisation technologies, and that federated access plays an important role;
- To fully benefit from federated access, more funding is needed to improve the reach of national identity federations in research an education;
- Further research is needed to enhance authorisation and accounting mechanisms;
- A common policy and trust framework for identity management is needed, as well as clarity on data protection laws – these should be coordinated at European level;
- Relevant organisations such as eIRG, REFEDS (Research and Education Federations), IGTF, the EC and consortia of libraries and data centres should all work towards these goals.
Results of the Study
The tables below summarises the list of high-priority recommendations as identified by the team.
The recommendations target different stakeholders:
- The EC for the definition of a possible directive;
- Developers to encourage them to use standard technologies to achieve interoperability;
- Member States for creating the conditions for such an infrastructure at a national level;
- Policy makers, particularly those involved in the Data Protection Directive, to create awareness of the impact of legislation on cross-boundary access management.
The involved stakeholders should act timely to address these points.
Milestones and Meetings
The study will be done in the period from January 2012 till August 2012 with the following deliverables and timetable.
|D1 - Inception Report||Feb 2012||To elaborate on the methodology that will be used to carry out the study, will provide details on the resources and articulate the objectives|
|D2 - Interim Draft Final Study Report||Apr 2012|
To cover the intermediate results for the objectives listed above, specifically:
|D3.1 - Final Study Report||June 2012|
To report on the results and recommendations of the study.
The final study report will take into account inputs received during the Final Workshop (see below), the internal meetings with the EC and the feedback received by the consortium liaisons.
Draft AAA-Study-Report - To provide the draft final report of the study for comments.
This version of the report was circulated before the final workshop (see below).
Beside the report, the consortium has made available an additional document 'FIM and Law'.
This document covers legal issues in federated access management.
|Final Workshop||July 2012|
To present the preliminary results to the study and receive feedback during the workshop.
|D3.2 - Updated Final Study Report||Sep 2012||To include any the feedback received during the Final WorkshopD4 -||final workshop.|
|Technical Report||Aug 2012||To report on the use of resources in the performance of the contract including e.g. time-sheets on man/days consumption, travel details, use of consumables, etc.|
More information about the AAA Study
The Consortium and the experts will seek feedback on the preliminary results within the interested parties, such as the libraries, eScience groups and the TERENA community (mostly within REFEDS and TF-EMC2). Public presentations on the study progress and results will be disseminated to solicit comments and discussion.