The Australian Access Federation (AAF) provides a framework and support infrastructure to facilitate trusted electronic communications and collaboration within and between universities and research institutions in Australia. The AAF uses cutting edge technologies to provide a range of automatic identification services, which will allow authentication of people (researchers, teachers and students) and resources (servers, services, networks, instruments and data). It enables resource owners to identify and authorise a researcher to access online resources, such as computer facilities, data and other research infrastructure, at their home institution, at other Australian institutions, and around the world.
The Australian Access Federation provides the means of allowing a participating institution and/or a service provider to trust the information it receives from another participating institution. This will provide seamless access to resources and secure communication to support collaboration between users.
Similar federations are emerging in the international community as institutions around the world seek a common approach for managing and sharing resources. A key driver for the AAF is to reduce the risk of accidental or malicious exposure of data and other resources in a collaborative environment.
From 2009 to December 2011, the AAF received funding from the Australian Government’s Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR) to provide an Access Federation for organisations and institutions which undertake or support education, research or research and development in Australia. From 1 January 2012 the AAF is operating entirely from its subscription income, ensuring that the AAF remains a significant and sustainable part of the Australian eResearch infrastructure landscape in the years to come.