Achieving credential integrity and security for ANZ universities

  • 12 Sep 2016
  • by Jacqui Elson-Green
Achieving credential integrity and security for ANZ universities

The first step towards achieving credential integrity and security for Australian and New Zealand university students’ academic records is likely to be taken within the next four months as the latest phase of the Digital Student Data (DSD) Project rolls out.

Higher Ed Services (HES) is the managing organisation for the project which is supported by vast majority of universities in Australia and New Zealand.

DSD Project Group Chair and Deputy Head of University Services and the Registrar at the University of Melbourne, Mr Neil Robinson said that almost 90 per cent of universities in Australia and New Zealand have agreed to participate in the project and seven pilot sites have been identified, with two likely to implement the solution before year end.

“It is hoped that Monash and The University of Melbourne will begin implementation very soon,” Mr Robinson said.

The DSD Project aims to eliminate qualification fraud through the ability to provide third-parties with a verified document from a secure and trusted source, reducing the need for the production and verification of hard copy documents and the manufacture of fake documents.

The Project will also enhance student mobility and data portability by giving students control of their documents in an easily accessible and secure form regardless of where they are. It will also improve productivity in universities through streamlined academic record production and management.

“Most significant is the ability for the universities to provide and access secure academic records from local and, critically, international institutions via international modes,” Mr Robinson noted.

He said that a key point about the Project is that the university sectors in Australia and New Zealand have taken the initiative in driving this change to create credential integrity and security.

“There has been no government requirement, mandate or funding and by international standards this is unusual. We have chosen to do this to protect individual institutions, but equally, to protect the sector and the industry,” he said, adding that international education is booming and this initiative will help protect that growth.

Extensive sector consultation over the last two years to develop a long-term sustainable, cost-effective solution for universities that will be accessible by students, employers and institutions has resulted in Digitary being confirmed as the vendor of the platform and Deloitte as the local implementation partner.

Seven pilot sites for the project are: University of Adelaide, University of Auckland, Griffith University, University of Melbourne, Monash University, University of New England and University of Western Australia.

The Project Group has worked with Digitary to finalise the DSD solution scope, pricing model and funding mechanism, implementation plan and costs. HES is now finalising contractual arrangements.

The DSD Project is linked to the international initiative, the Groningen Declaration which aims to enhance student mobility and provide credential integrity and security for digital student academic data globally. Fifty-six stakeholders in 20 countries have signed the Groningen Declaration with Australia and New Zealand becoming signatories in May 2015.  Two of Australia’s largest source countries for international students, China and India, are signatories.

Mr Robinson has successfully led the project since its inception. In May, he represented Australia at the annual Groningen Meeting where Australia was chosen as the host country for the 2017 meeting. It will take place at the University of Melbourne from 26 to 28 April next year.

Participating universities

Australian Catholic University

Australian National University

Charles Darwin University

Central Queensland University

Charles Sturt University

Curtin University

Deakin University

Edith Cowan University

Federation University

Flinders University

Griffith University

James Cook University

La Trobe University

Monash University

Queensland University of Technology

RMIT University

Southern Cross University

Swinburne University of Technology

University of Adelaide

University of Canberra

University of Melbourne

University of New England

University of Newcastle

University of South Australia

University of Notre Dame

University of NSW

University of Queensland

University of Southern Queensland

University of the Sunshine Coast

University of Tasmania

University of Technology Sydney

University of Western Australia

University of Wollongong

Victoria University



Participating New Zealand Universities

Auckland University of Technology

Canterbury University

Massey University


Otago University

University of Auckland

Victoria University Wellington

Waikato University

The DSD Project was established in March 2015. It is a truly collaborative effort involving 39 Australian and eight New Zealand universities who have contributed $400,000 in total funding and in-kind support at least equal to that amount to develop business requirements, engage KPMG to manage the tender process and identify a suitable vendor to develop the solution.

The Steering Group set up by the DVCs-Corporate to oversee the project confirmed Digitary and Sixtree, now owned by Deloitte, as the local implementation partner and the preferred vendor of the platform.