If you are a UK based education organisation you may want to join the UK education specific 'UK Access Management federation for Education and Research' (sometimes called the UK fed).

The first thing to do is check if you have UK fed enabled in OpenAthens and have our service desk enable it if not. To check: access the administration area and go to Management > Connections. Look for entry in the federations section. You will need to reference these details later.

If there is no existing registration our service desk can quickly add one. Your 'scope' will be the same across all federations but your entityID can be different in the UK fed if you need it to match an existing entity - e.g. if you were upgrading from Shibboleth. If you do not specify an entityID, our service desk will duplicate your OpenAthens federation entityID (recommended).

Now you are ready to register with the UK fed.

Their website should be your source of details for the process:

  1. https://ukfederation.org.uk/content/Documents/ApplyforMembership
  2. https://ukfederation.org.uk/content/Documents/OutsourcedIdP

The relevant bits of information about us that you will need to tell them about your 'outsourced IdP' are below. This may be all you need if you are already a member.

The name of the external organisation providing the outsourcing service.


The entityID of the identity provider which the external organisation proposes to use on behalf of the applicant.

Use the entityID displayed in your administration area as described above. E.g. https://idp.yourdomain.net/entity

If the domain name contained within the entityID belongs to the applicant rather than to the external organisation, an explicit statement by the applicant approving the use of the entityID by the external organisation.

"I want OpenAthens to manage this entity on my behalf."

Any identifier assigned to the applicant by the external organisation.

Repeat your entityID here.

A contact person (name and email address) within the external organisation.

"OpenAthens Service Desk - help@openathens.net"

The security domain(s) that the applicant grants authorisation to the external organisation to assert on its behalf. This normally corresponds to the applicant's registered DNS domain(s). This should be specified in lower case.

If you are a single organisation, use the scope displayed in your administration area for the UK fed as described above. E.g. "yourdomain.net"

If you are a consortia organisation, or have organisational units that will need to be identified as discrete to service providers, or may have those later... or if you are unsure, add a wildcard to your scope. E.g. "*.yourdomain.net"

Anything else?

They do not ask for this, but it would be helpful to include your metadata address which for them will be https://login.openathens.net/saml/2/metadata-idp/DOMAIN/c/ukfed where 'DOMAIN' is your OpenAthens domain (usually the same as your basic scope). If you are unsure, our service desk can help. This is slightly different from the metadata address you would use for a custom SAML application