External collaborators


Once explicitly given access to a VRE site by its owner, external collaborators can log in to the VRE using one of the following:

social identity providers

  • Facebook
  • Google
  • LinkedIn

independent identity providers

UK HE institution

  • Durham University

Instructions for using a social identity provider or indiid

The owner of your VRE site needs to know the internal user id used for your account by the identity provider in order to give you access to the site. Examples of internal userids are


To find this, visit https://researchtools.ncl.ac.uk/secure/register.php and log in with your chosen provider (Facebook, Google, LinkedIn or indiid). This will generate a page containing the necessary details to send to your VRE site owner.

For the nervous: your password never leaves the identity provider’s system - it is not passed across the Internet and it is not stored on any Newcastle University system.

Notes for site owners

Our contract with ProtectNetwork expires on 15 Nov 15. Existing external collaborators should be referred to the instructions for converting to a social identity provider - they can do this without any intervention from you. If they fail to do it before their ProtectNetwork id expires, then you will need to treat them as new users (see below).

New external users are added to your site in the same way as before via the adding new users form. In order to obtain their user id, refer them to https://researchtools.ncl.ac.uk/secure/register.php and ask them to email you the details returned by that page, which are their name and user id for the external provider they logged in with.

Durham University and other UK HE institutions

Please contact us via the Service Desk if you have an external collaborator who wishes to use a Durham University userid - we will need to do some brief testing. It may be possible to add other UK HE institutions in the same way, depending on their federated access management capabilities.


indiid is a UK startup which provides a similar service to ProtectNetwork at a cost of £5 per user id per year for a basic account. If you wish to buy userids for external collaborators, it is possible to purchase coupons which can then be distributed to your external collaborators to enable them to set up user ids. Please contact us via the Service Desk if you need more information.


ProtectNetwork is run by US company 9Star. The cost of subscribing to this originally free service has been steadily increasing and has reached the point at which the IT service is no longer able to subsidise it. We have not removed the ability to log in with a ProtectNetwork user id, so negotiating with them directly is still a possibility for any project that wishes to do so.