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Frequently Asked Questions about the R&S Category

General FAQs

Which services are eligible for the Research & Scholarship category?

Candidates for the R&S category include InCommon service providers that support research and scholarship as an essential component. For example, a service providing tools for both multi-institutional research collaboration and instruction is eligible as a candidate for the R&S category.

InCommon reviews all applications from potential R&S service providers. Visit the Federation Info pages for a complete list of all R&S service providers.

What is the R&S attribute bundle?

The R&S category defines a bundle of attributes that SPs choose from. InCommon identity providers that support R&S release a minimal subset of this attribute bundle to R&S SPs. See Section 5, Attribute Bundles in the REFEDS Research and Scholarship Entity Category description.

Where can I find complete information on the Research & Scholarship Category?

For quick start instructions, see the InCommon Federation REFEDS Research and Scholarship category page.

To learn more about the details of Research & Scholarship category, see the official REFEDS Research and Scholarship Entity Category description.

FAQs for SPs

What if my R&S SP doesn't require all the attributes in the R&S bundle?

InCommon highly recommends that SPs take a minimalist approach to attributes. In metadata, list only those requested attributes that you absolutely need. Some IdPs will actually use the list of requested attributes in metadata to limit the attributes released to you just-in-time.

What if a user wants to access my service but that user's IdP does not release the attributes my service needs?

Please contact us at We will reach out to the site admins for that IdP on your behalf.

FAQs for IdPs

Do I need to configure my IdP to release attributes to each and every R&S SP?

No. A one-time configuration is all that's needed.

Today most IdPs configure their attribute release policies around the SP's entity ID (i.e., on an SP-by-SP basis). Every time you type an entity ID into your IdP software configuration, you paint yourself into an ever-smaller corner. To better scale the Federation, we recommend that IdPs configure their attribute release policies using entity attributes instead of entity IDs. This leads to a more robust deployment that is much easier to maintain.

What is an entity attribute?

Once an SP becomes an R&S SP, it receives the R&S entity attribute in metadata. You can support a single R&S SP by configuring its entity ID into your IdP software configuration, or you can support all R&S SPs by configuring the corresponding entity attribute. The latter scales better since it is a one-time configuration change.

What are the deployment options at the IdP?

See Identity provider - support Research and Scholarship.

How do I configure my IdP to release the absolute minimum attributes required?

If your software supports it, you can release a dynamic subset of the R&S attribute bundle based on the list of requested attributes in SP metadata.

How do I get my IdP on the official list of IdPs that support R&S?

Once you've configured your IdP to release the R&S attribute bundle, you declare your IdP's ability to support R&S by submitting a short form. Normally such an IdP would be added to the list within one business day.