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Migrating an SP to the Global Research and Scholarship Category

This topic is for owners of existing Research & Scholarship (R&S) SPs.

R&S IdPs in the InCommon Federation are currently in the process of migrating to global R&S. Likewise new R&S IdPs will be encouraged to support global R&S as well. More importantly, InCommon will soon begin importing the metadata of R&S IdPs from other federations. In anticipation of these events, existing R&S SP owners should begin to develop a migration strategy for global R&S.

Since all R&S SPs in the InCommon Federation now meet the requirements of the international REFEDS Research & Scholarship Entity Category specification, R&S SPs have a multivalued R&S entity attribute in InCommon metadata. In that sense, all R&S SPs have successfully migrated to global R&S. However, if an R&S SP depends on the R&S entity attribute in IdP metadata, then additional migration steps may be required since the entity attributes in IdP metadata will change as IdPs declare their support for global R&S.

For example, a small number of R&S SPs are known to filter IdP metadata such that R&S IdPs are the only IdPs exposed on the SP's discovery interface. Such an SP is dependent upon the R&S entity attribute in IdP metadata.

If your SP deployment depends on the R&S entity attribute in IdP metadata, please read on. Otherwise there is nothing further you need to do to migrate to global R&S.

An SP deployment that depends on the R&S entity attribute in IdP metadata almost certainly recognizes the legacy R&S entity attribute value:

Such an SP may also want to recognize the R&S entity attribute value

since IdPs that support global R&S will necessarily carry the latter in their metadata. Indeed, R&S IdPs from other federations will carry the R&S tag exclusively.

An R&S IdP carries a single-valued entity attribute in its metadata

An R&S IdP will carry either the R&S tag or the R&S tag but not both. An SP that depends on the R&S entity attribute in IdP metadata must take this fact into account.

For example, a Shibboleth SP that restricts its discovery interface to R&S IdPs might configure the following <MetadataProvider>:

A Shib configuration that recognizes an R&S entity attribute in IdP metadata
    The following MetadataProvider attempts to refresh the 
    InCommon production metadata aggregate every hour.
<MetadataProvider type="XML"
    backingFilePath="InCommon-metadata.xml" maxRefreshDelay="3600"

  <!-- Verify the signature on the metadata file -->
  <MetadataFilter type="Signature" certificate="inc-md-cert.pem"/>

      Require a validUntil XML attribute on the EntitiesDescriptor element
      and make sure its value is no more than 14 days into the future
  <MetadataFilter type="RequireValidUntil" maxValidityInterval="1209600"/>

      As the R&S tag becomes more prevalent, the
      order of the attributes should be reversed for efficiency.
  <DiscoveryFilter type="Whitelist" matcher="EntityAttributes">


The above configuration requires Shibboleth SP v2.5 (or later). Be aware that filtering entity metadata from the discovery interface is not the same as filtering the metadata in the first place. If the latter is really what you want to do, replace the <DiscoveryFilter> with an identical <MetadataFilter> in the previous example.



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