Paper 54 (Research track)

Semantic Interoperability Approach for Digital Identity Management in Federated Systems

Author(s): Hasnae L’Amrani, Younès El Bouzekri El Idrissi, Rachida Ajhoun

Full text: submitted version

Abstract: The identity management systems are a huge domain for users and application data management. As a voted system to work on, the federated system proved on it legibility to solve a several numbers of digital identity issues. However, the problem of interoperability between federations, still the researcher first issue to achieve the objective of creating a federation of federations which is a large meta-system composed of several different federation systems. The technical interoperability approach solved a part of the above-mentioned issue. However, they still many problems in the communication process between federated systems. In this work, the researcher target the semantic interoperability as a solution to solve the exchange of heterogeneous attribute issues. Due to the increasing number of the federated system’s users’, there is a significant requirement of managing the users’ attributes coming from different federations. Therefore the researcher proposed a semantic layer to enhance the technical previous approach with the objective to guarantee the exchange of attribute which has the same semantic signification but a different representation, all that based on an intermediate ontology which guarantees the semantic mapping between different federations. This approach is applied to the academic domain.

Keywords: Digital Identity; Federated system; Interoperability; Semantic interoperability; Security; Cross-Domain; Ontologies; semantic mapping

Decision: reject

Review 1 (by Irlan Grangel)

(RELEVANCE TO ESWC) The paper seems to present a problem that can be solved with existing ontology matching approaches
and that are not even mentioned.
(NOVELTY OF THE PROPOSED SOLUTION) There is not a clear contribution in this paper. The utilization of ontologies for data integration is not novel.
(CORRECTNESS AND COMPLETENESS OF THE PROPOSED SOLUTION) Authors propose an architecture to solve "technical" and "semantic" interoperability levels. They do not explicitly mention, what is considered "technical" and "semantic" interoperability problems in identity management or federation systems.
(EVALUATION OF THE STATE-OF-THE-ART) The paper does not contain the State-of-the-Art nor evaluation of it.
(DEMONSTRATION AND DISCUSSION OF THE PROPERTIES OF THE PROPOSED APPROACH) The paper does not contain any kind of evaluation.
(REPRODUCIBILITY AND GENERALITY OF THE EXPERIMENTAL STUDY) There is not clear reproducibility of the proposed approach. Authors do not even present one draft of the ontology, implementation, experiments, etc.
(OVERALL SCORE) The paper entitled "Semantic Interoperability Approach for Digital
Identity Management in Federated Systems" presents a work to solve semantic interoperability issues in Federated systems. 
The paper seems to present a problem that can be solved with existing ontology matching approaches
and that is not even mentioned. 
The paper would benefit to present the example after the introduction section and clearly explain the problem. 
Weak Points (WPs) 
- Too many typos that really difficult the reading and the understanding of the paper. 
- The problem tackled is not clear since the terminology used in this paper also does not follow 
a systematic line. E.g., what are "Federated systems", "Federation", "technical interoperability"
- There is not a related work section, and, as a consequence, the approach presented is not compared with
respect to the state of the art.
- There is not an evaluation section.
Questions to the Authors (QAs) ** Enumerate the questions to be answered by the authors during the rebuttal process**
Minor Issues
- Sections "Conclusion" and "Future work" should be merged 
- interaction.[4]. -> interaction[4].   
- no space between references reference[1].
- .However -> . However
- As Cited -> As cited
- the researcher -> The researcher
In the current state, the paper is NOT mature enough to be presented in ESWC.
I maintain my opinion regarding this paper. It is NOT mature enough to be presented in ESWC.


Review 2 (by anonymous reviewer)

(RELEVANCE TO ESWC) I could not identify a clear relevance. The paper is too vague with using the terms semantics.·
(NOVELTY OF THE PROPOSED SOLUTION) I do not see much of a novelty, considering that there are many federated identity management proposals           available, especially for the web.
(CORRECTNESS AND COMPLETENESS OF THE PROPOSED SOLUTION) not assessable
(EVALUATION OF THE STATE-OF-THE-ART) not existing
(DEMONSTRATION AND DISCUSSION OF THE PROPERTIES OF THE PROPOSED APPROACH) The paper does not contain a demonstration of the proposes solution
(REPRODUCIBILITY AND GENERALITY OF THE EXPERIMENTAL STUDY) The paper contains no experiments
(OVERALL SCORE) ## Description
**Short description of the problem tackled in the paper, main contributions, and results** 
The paper at hand addresses the problem of personal identity management in a federated system and propose and architecture to achieve technical and semantic interoperability at different levels. 
In general, the paper is very vague. I do not see a clear use case for the proposed solution and also a clear technical  realisation.
There is also no evidence that the proposed solution is applied or deployed. 
Overall, the current state of the work is too unstructured and requires more work. 
The authors should focus on providing a clear motivation and a setup. Terms should be specified and describe  (e.g. what federation system is considered? SW/SPARQL query federation, General federation). 
In addition, the usage and setup of the proposed solution should be more detailed (e.g. adding a deployment scenario). The I also do not see how the different identity attributes can be described or mapped.
## Strong Points (SPs) 
** Enumerate and explain at least three Strong Points of this work** 
--
## Weak Points (WPs) 
** Enumerate and explain at least three Weak Points of this work**
* structure and level of detail - The paper is missing an important related work section and a discussion why the authors did not consider to look into existing federated identity management approaches (e.g. SAML 2.0)
* writing and grammar - The readability of the paper is rather low due to many complex sentences, small spellings and also grammar mistakes (e.g. use of ,)
* related work is missing
## Questions to the Authors (QAs) 
** Enumerate the questions to be answered by the authors during the rebuttal process**
* The question which directly pops up if you read identiy management in a federated system is: Why are you not considering OAuth or OpenID? What about SAML 2.0 Web SSO, OpenID Connect, WS-Federation?
### Abstract
The abstract is very confusing. To be honest, it was not clear to me what the paper proposes just by reading the abstract. There are many terms which are not explained or not well known. 
### 
### Minor
* the second sentence in the abstract is quite long and confusing. Maybe rewrite or split it
* Fourth sentence in the abstract "However, they still" -> "However, there are still"
* the figures are in general of low quality. Authors could increase font size (e.g. Fig.3)
### Rebuttal ###
I read the reply to my question in the rebuttal. Unfortunately, the author do not propose to provide a discussion about the question and only refer to a publication under review. 
My overall verdict is not affected by this answer.


Review 3 (by Pankesh Patel)

(RELEVANCE TO ESWC) In this work, the authors target the semantic interoperability as a solution to solve the exchange of heterogeneous attribute issues. The topic quite is relevant to the conference.
(NOVELTY OF THE PROPOSED SOLUTION) the objective  is to guarantee the exchange of attribute which has the same semantic signification but a different representation, all that based on an intermediate ontology which guarantees the semantic mapping between different federations. The proposed approach is be applied to the academic domain as the researcher
application domain.
(CORRECTNESS AND COMPLETENESS OF THE PROPOSED SOLUTION) The authors presented their study. However, this paper lacks concrete evaluation  results. Moreover, it is difficult for me to learn state of the art with respect to the proposed approach.
(EVALUATION OF THE STATE-OF-THE-ART) it is difficult for me to learn state of the art with respect to the proposed approach. The authors may consider to revise the paper with respect to state of the art.
(DEMONSTRATION AND DISCUSSION OF THE PROPERTIES OF THE PROPOSED APPROACH) In this work, the solution of interoperable approach is adopted to solve this problem of communication interruption, caused by the heterogeneity of those federations’ technologies, standards, and protocols. Also, the researcher adds a semantic layer to solve the problem of attributes exchange among different academic domain like the UK and Moroccan universities.
(REPRODUCIBILITY AND GENERALITY OF THE EXPERIMENTAL STUDY) The authors presented their study. However, this paper lacks concrete evaluation  results. The authors may consider to present a real-world concrete use case to position their work strong.
(OVERALL SCORE) This paper's objective to guarantee the exchange of attribute which has the same semantic signification but a different representation, all that based on an intermediate ontology which guarantees the semantic mapping between different federations. 
This paper lacks many key issues:
- it is difficult for me to learn state of the art with respect to the proposed approach. 
- The authors may consider to revise the paper with respect to state of the art.


Review 4 (by Carlos Buil Aranda)

(RELEVANCE TO ESWC) identity management is an important topic, specially regarding security within federation frameworks.
(NOVELTY OF THE PROPOSED SOLUTION) The authors propose an architecture that uses an ontology as mediator. Not really new.
(CORRECTNESS AND COMPLETENESS OF THE PROPOSED SOLUTION) the authors fail to show that their solution is correct nor complete.
(EVALUATION OF THE STATE-OF-THE-ART) No state of the art, just some references.
(DEMONSTRATION AND DISCUSSION OF THE PROPERTIES OF THE PROPOSED APPROACH) they do not provide any evaluation.
(REPRODUCIBILITY AND GENERALITY OF THE EXPERIMENTAL STUDY) No experiments in the paper.
(OVERALL SCORE) In this paper the authors propose a framework to manage digital identities in a federation framework. The authors define as digital identity some id number, IP address, etc. The problem the authors present is how to manage identities when accessing distributed systems. The authors propose a semantic layer via an ontology which is used by the system to achieve semantic interoperability when exchanging identities.
Comments: I found this paper hard to read since the English language is not good. An example of the incorrect English is just the paper’s abstract like “still the researcher first issue to achieve the objective of…”: I think the writer intended to write something like "the main goal addressed within the paper” . Next, the authors propose a framework for identity management, however they fail to define clearly the concepts used within the paper like identity, federation, system, etc. They are vague concept all around the paper. Next, the authors only propose an architecture with no validation. From my point of view an implementation/proof of concept is needed to validate the feasibility of the solution.
========== After rebuttal ==========
I acknowledge the author's response. However, I think that the fact of the evaluation section not being present in the paper is critical. All the papers I see in the main conference have it (or the corresponding theorem proofs). I would advise to resubmit once the evaluation is done.


Metareview by Maribel Acosta

This work tackles the problem of data integration across federations. The proposed solution relies on a mediator ontology that semantically associates concepts used in different federations. The solution is presented in an academic context, where entities correspond to persons (students), and the attributes describe the persons in different systems. 
The research problem addressed in this paper is interesting and relevant to the Semantic Web. Nonetheless, the major concern of the reviewers about this work is the novelty of the proposed solution. The idea of using a mediator schema or ontology to perform data integration is not really novel and have been extensively studied in the area of databases as well as in the Semantic Web. 
The reviewers have also identified further critical issues in this work, which include: the description of the approach is rather imprecise, the proposed approach is not positioned with respect to state-of-the-art solutions, and the properties of the approach are neither formally or empirically demonstrated. Lastly, the reviewers suggest the authors clarify the terminology and proofread the paper to improve its readability. 
Due to the issues described above, the paper cannot be accepted for publication in the conference.


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