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Internet2’s InCommon has enhanced its support for international research organizations through a pilot project with the Leonard E. Parker Center for Gravitation, Cosmology and Astrophysics (CGCA) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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The pilot will enable astronomers world-wide to use their local campus credentials to log into three UWM-based services, including astronomers from Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO), a project to detect and study gravitational waves from astrophysical objects such as black holes and supernovae. The CGCA plays a key role in LIGO, which was the impetus for creating these collaboration services for gravitational wave and other astronomers. By participating in the pilot, CGCA identity management staff are streamlining the access process to these important tools, while simultaneously saving time and effort by not having to create and maintain separate (duplicate) user IDs and passwords for hundreds of researchers worldwide. The new approach will enable researchers to gain immediate access to these resources by simply logging in with the home campus-issued credentials they already have in place.

InCommon has previously partnered with CGCA and LIGO to provide secure federated access for researchers at U.S. institutions. By joining the international eduGAIN service, InCommon extends this benefit to researchers in other parts of the world. InCommon participants can make this process even easier by supporting the Research & Scholarship (R&S) program, in which a campus automatically releases a small number of user attributes to all services tagged as R&S. This allows researchers to access a service with little or no intervention from their central campus IT department, while still maintaining full control and being in full compliance with federal, state and campus privacy requirements.

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The global InCommon-eduGAIN pilot involves exporting the metadata about these three CGCA services to the international eduGAIN service, which provides trustworthy exchange of information among national research and education federations, like InCommon. The three services include: the Gravitational Wave Astronomy Community Registry; the Gravitational Wave Astronomy Community Wiki; and the Gravitational Wave Astronomy Community List Server. All three services are tagged for R&S.

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