It's time to move to REFEDS Research and Scholarship category

The InCommon-only Research and Scholarship (R&S) category has been replaced by the REFEDS Research & Scholarship category. If your identity provider still supports InCommon-only R&S, it is time to switch to the REFEDS category.

All qualifying R&S resources, including those spinning up to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, are part of REFEDS R&S. Your IdP must release attributes under the REFEDS R&S category to enable seamless user access to these collaboration resources.

You can read the history below, but the short story is that there are no longer any service providers in the InCommon-only category, so that category effectively does nothing today.

How do I migrate my Identity Provider (IdP) from InCommon-only R&S to REFEDS R&S?

One.Review the REFEDS R&S specification, particularly section 5, Identity Provider Requirements.
Two.Configure your IdP to release attributes to REFEDS R&S SPs.

Declare support for REFEDS R&S:

  • sign in to Federation Manager.
  • check the box for "Support REFEDS R&S". (How?)
  • uncheck the box for "Hide from Discovery." Your IdP won't show up as an available sign-in option at the research or collaboration resource if you check this box. 
  • publish your metadata.

How do I remove the InCommon-only R&S entity attribute from my metadata?

For now, besides declaring support for REFEDS R&S, you do not need to do anything. The InCommon Federation will announce a "clean-up" date in the near future to remove the InCommon-only R&S tag from all identity providers registered in InCommon. 

What are the differences between the two R&S categories?

See Comparing REFEDS and InCommon-only R and S categories.

Let's back up - what is a category?

An Entity Category includes services that have been vetted and tagged by a federation operator as meeting the criteria of the category. For Research & Scholarship, for example, services must support research or scholarly collaborations. Identity Providers can then safely release a small set of data to these providers with the knowledge that they meet minimal requirements and privacy requirements. Identity Providers release the data to the category, which means any new service added to the category will automatically receive the necessary information.


The Research and Scholarship (R&S) category was first introduced within the InCommon Federation and available only to InCommon participants. In 2014, with research and education federations around the world coming together to form the global eduGAIN federation, the continued curation of the R&S category moved under the stewardship of REFEDS (the Research and Education FEDerations group) to promote international adoption. REFEDS Research and Scholarship Entity Category was born. All Service Providers (SP) who previously qualified for the InCommon-only R&S category were automatically converted to REFEDS R&S. 

Because identity providers need to take explicit actions to support REFEDS R&S, we couldn't automatically convert IdPs to REFEDS R&S. As there are no longer any InCommon-only R&S SPs, you can't benefit from the category without moving your support to the global REFEDS service.