EOSC - The European Open Science Cloud    

Here, we provide an overview of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) from an ECRA perspective. ECRA is a network of Climate Researchers, and where there is research, there is also data. In particular in light of developments of open science and open access, we believe it to be an important task to make sure that EOSC is widely known and that networks like ECRA promote the possibilities that exist.

 

History of the EOSC

In 2015, the Commissioner for Research and Science of the European Commission announced[1] the new priorities of the Commission: “Open Innovation, Open Science, and Openness to the World.” One year later, there was already a shared understanding of the importance of data for research and other applications (including the maximisation of “the growth potential of the European digital economy”[2]) - especially if data from all sources are freely accessible, understandable and usable. Data comes from various sources, with different flavours, purposes, and underlying governances and structures. With research (publications, data, software) becoming increasingly ‘open access’, the European Commission suggested[3] the EOSC, the European Open Science Cloud as a potential solution. It aims to “offer 1.7 million European researchers and 70 million professionals in science and technology a virtual environment with free at the point of use, open and seamless services for storage, management, analysis and re-use of research data, across borders and scientific disciplines”[4].

After 2016, the European Commission considered views from European member states and the European Institutions, through various forms of stakeholder engagement. Many stakeholders were included by the Commission, who were all supportive about the endeavor to establish the EOSC. Member states commented “that the EOSC should act as a trusted platform between research data needs, traditionally funded by public money, and cloud- based scientific services in the private marketplace.”[5] The European Council and Parliament were also in support and asked for concrete action plans. Overall, it was “underlined (..) to differentiate clearly between the architecture of the EOSC (e.g. the implementing model), and its governance (e.g. how it is run)[6]. However, the first report by the EC indicated[7] that “[t]he majority of the challenges to reach a functional EOSC are social rather than technical, [t]he major technical challenge is the complexity of the data and analytics procedures across disciplines rather than the size of the data per se, [and that t]here is an alarming shortage of data experts both globally and in the European Union”, among other issues. So, a main challenge is (and was) to “bring together” the actors under one roof…

Several initiatives were started for this purpose. The programme called EOSCpilot supports the first phase in the development of the EOSC by “testing” the EOSC’s Governance and developing demonstrators such as Environmental & Earth Sciences, or High Energy Physics - pilots for the EOSC. The EOSC-hub project serves to bring together service providers and act as a single contact point for European researchers and innovators.

In 2018, the EOSC Portal was launched and can be seen as the central piece of the EOSC. It provides access to existing data, open for researchers. “The EOSC Portal is the result of the progressive integration and consolidation of e-infrastructure projects, with the help of Horizon 2020 funding. It started as a collective effort from the OpenAIRE, EOSC-hub, eInfraCentral and EOSCpilot projects building on the experience and technology of major pan-European e-infrastructures, universities and research infrastructures.”[8] The site can be accessed now for networking, computing, storage, sharing and publishing data, on environmental, physical, weather, and other domains → https://www.eosc-portal.eu/eosc-in-practice/use-cases

 

EOSC values

The EOSC Summit in June 2017[9] “marked the beginning [of the EOSC] process”[10] by publishing the EOSC Declaration[11] with the following aims and steps:

  • “the implementation of the EOSC is a process, not a project, by its nature iterative and based on constant learning and mutual alignment”[12].
  • a common culture of data, open access by-default, rewarding research data sharing, skills and education in research data management, data stewardship and data science should be provided, support of adequately trained data stewards
  • FAIR data - “Data that is Findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable”; FAIR Data governance: inclusive stakeholder participation, based on a solid stakeholder engagement strategy, on inter-institutional arrangements, well-established frameworks and decision making flows; Implementation & transition strategy
  • technical, semantic, legal and organisational standards: global standards for open research data, as well as standards for EOSC based services for collaboration through the EOSC (e.g. to facilitate inter-disciplinarity and avoid fragmentation)
  • Research data repositories (find, re-use, deposit and share, provision of DOI numbers), Accreditation and certification, Data Management Plans, Technical Implementation, Data expert organisations, etc.
  • Research data services and architecture: “The EOSC will be developed as a data infrastructure commons serving the needs of scientists. (..) Indeed, the EOSC will federate existing resources across national data centres, European e-infrastructures (..) it will top-up mature capacity through the acquisition of resources at pan-European level by EOSC operators”[13]
  • User needs: “a one-stop-shop to find, access, and use research data and services from multiple disciplines and platforms”[14]
  • The funding of the EOSC comes from instruments of the European Union (Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe, Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and potentially other sources in the future.[15]

EOSC Governance

The Governance of the EOSC ensures co-design and inclusion of member states and other stakeholders. The Executive Board is responsible for implementation and coordination of efforts, and has advisory and an implementing role[16]. A Governance Board consists of member states and Commission representatives and is supervising the implementation of the EOSC. A Stakeholder Forum consists of organisations, projects and initiatives actively supporting the EOSC work. Further information and background can be found in the European Commission Staff Working Document Implementation Roadmap for the European Open Science Cloud.

The legal status of the EOSC is based on

  • a MoU between the European Commission and the EOSC Association - an ASBL (organisation) under belgian law. The Association has members (e.g. KIT in Germany) and had its first meeting in December 2020. The MoU sets the relationship for the Partnership between the European Commission, member states, and the Association.
  • a SRIA, setting research priorities, aiming at coordinating additional activities and feeding into Horizon Europe (SRIA under development).
  • The Partnership within Horizon Europe is still in development. It will be a ‘co-programmed’ Partnership model.

image1.png

 

EOSC Projects

Many projects have been active in building the EOSC initiative, most prominently by preparing the EOSC Portal (https://www.eosc-portal.eu/). Most projects and networks are active in the domain of HPC, data processing, analytics, AI, storage, networking. Some organisations are presented below. 

 image2.jpg

The EOSCpilot project supports the first phase in the development of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). It proposes and puts to trial the governance framework, and aims to develop a number of demonstrators.

https://www.eoscpilot.eu/ 

 

EOSC-hub brings together multiple service providers to create the Hub: a single contact point for European researchers and innovators to discover, access, use and reuse a broad spectrum of resources for advanced data-driven research.”

https://www.eosc-hub.eu/

 

A EOSC Secretariat “delivers support to the EOSC Governance while working openly and inclusively with communities to co-create an all-encompassing European Open Science Cloud” and acts as central piece between the governing bodies and structure: Stakeholder Forum, Governance Board, Working Groups and Executive Board (more information)

 

The goal of eInfraCentral is to “develop an e-infrastructure commons” and tackle the issues of ”service accessibility, interoperability and fragmentation, comprehensibility and clarity + inconsistent use of key performance indicators”

http://einfracentral.eu/

 

EOSC-Pillar and EOSC-Synergy bring together Open Science efforts of several European countries and coordinate and maximise their experience, resources, and infrastructures. 

 

OpenAIRE’s mission is to provide unlimited, barrier free, open access to research outputs financed by public funding in Europe. It contributes to the EOSC by its own network in member states, and aligning and pushing open science values to them.

OpenAIRE team is working together with the rest of the EOSC Portal team in EOSC Enhance, that has a collaboration agreement with OpenAire. Currently 22 services provided by Open Aire are offered via the EOSC Portal.

https://www.openaire.eu/openaire-and-eosc 

https://www.openaire.eu/ 

 

EOSC Enhance is a 24-month project funded by the European Commission and tasked with progressing the vision for the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). Their project goals are to enhance, accelerate, and provide the service provider interface and incorporate new services, and enable easier access to thematic cloud services. They rely on interviews and feedback from the EOSC community.

Enhance continually improves the interface of the EOSC Portal (see webinars), for example a planned search functionality (e.g. search for provider location, currently only EU but in future more countries), kind of access (Order required, open access, etc.), contact information to helpdesk,  

https://www.eosc-portal.eu/enhance

 

An example of a scientific initiative within the EOSC is the O3as project with the goal to “Visualize ozone trends from multiple climate prediction models”, co-led by Peter Braesicke. O3as offers tools to plot and access Ozone data.

Homepage and test: http://o3as.data.kit.edu/

More information: https://www.eosc-synergy.eu/thematic-services/o3as/

Explanatory video: https://youtu.be/sVwZP6Ce85A 

 

Access to the EOSC Portal (Marketplace)

The main approach to interact with services by the EOSC is to approach the services facilitated by the EOSC through its Marketplace. The Catalogue of the marketplace is categorised into the eight categories, with close to 300 resources, for example Climate Analytics Service, Data Repository, Web Portal (see example screenshot on the right side)
Targeted groups are mostly: researchers, providers, research organisations.

Eight categories:

image4.png

  • Networking
  • Compute
  • Storage
  • Sharing & discovery
  • Data management
  • Processing & analysis
  • Security & operations
  • Training & support

Science domains:

  • Medical & Health Sciences
  • Engineering & Technology
  • Natural Sciences
  • Generic
  • Humanities
  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Social Sciences
  • Support Activities
  • Other

https://marketplace.eosc-portal.eu/services

 

Further information

For further information, have a look at the following links.

Horizon Europe Work Programme (Draft) on Research Infrastructures (version November 2020)

EOSC SRIA (Draft) (version December 2020)

EOSC on European Commission website

EOSC Secretariat

EOSC Portal

 

References

Illustration 1 on Governance from https://www.eoscsecretariat.eu/eosc-governance

Illustration 2 on projects in and around the formation of the EOSC, own illustration (ECRA)

Illustration 3: Screenshot from EOSC Portal (ECRA)

[1] A new start for Europe: Opening up to an ERA of Innovation, Press Release, European Commission, 22.6.2015. https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/SPEECH_15_5243

[2] Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions: European Cloud Initiative - Building a competitive data and knowledge economy in Europe, 19.4.2016, page 3. Via: ec.europa.eu/newsroom/dae/document.cfm?doc_id=15266

[3] Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions: European Cloud Initiative - Building a competitive data and knowledge economy in Europe, 19.4.2016. Via: ec.europa.eu/newsroom/dae/document.cfm?doc_id=15266

[4] Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions: European Cloud Initiative - Building a competitive data and knowledge economy in Europe, 19.4.2016, page 6. Via: ec.europa.eu/newsroom/dae/document.cfm?doc_id=15266

[5] Commission Staff Working Document: Implementation Roadmap for the European Open Science Cloud, 14.3.2018, page 5. Via: https://ec.europa.eu/research/openscience/pdf/swd_2018_83_f1_staff_working_paper_en.pdf

[6] Commission Staff Working Document: Implementation Roadmap for the European Open Science Cloud, 14.3.2018, page 5. Via: https://ec.europa.eu/research/openscience/pdf/swd_2018_83_f1_staff_working_paper_en.pdf

[7] Realising the European Open Science Cloud, First report and recommendations of the Commission High Level Expert Group on the European Open Science Cloud, 2016. https://ec.europa.eu/research/openscience/pdf/realising_the_european_open_science_cloud_2016.pdf

[8] European Open Science Cloud, Strategy document, 29.10.2020. https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/european-open-science-cloud

[9] European Open Science Cloud Summit, 12 June 2017, Brussels, Belgium, event page: http://ec.europa.eu/research/index.cfm?eventcode=44D86060-FBA1-1BD1-9355822B162BB0EE&pg=events

[10] EOSC Declaration: New Research & Innovation Opportunities, 26.10.2017, p. 4. Via https://ec.europa.eu/research/openscience/pdf/eosc_declaration.pdf

[11] EOSC Declaration: New Research & Innovation Opportunities, 26.10.2017. Via https://ec.europa.eu/research/openscience/pdf/eosc_declaration.pdf

[12] EOSC Declaration: New Research & Innovation Opportunities, 26.10.2017, p. 1. Via https://ec.europa.eu/research/openscience/pdf/eosc_declaration.pdf

[13] EOSC Declaration: New Research & Innovation Opportunities, 26.10.2017, p. 3. Via https://ec.europa.eu/research/openscience/pdf/eosc_declaration.pdf

[14] EOSC Declaration: New Research & Innovation Opportunities, 26.10.2017, p. 4. Via https://ec.europa.eu/research/openscience/pdf/eosc_declaration.pdf

[15] Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions: European Cloud Initiative - Building a competitive data and knowledge economy in Europe, 19.4.2016, page 12. Via: ec.europa.eu/newsroom/dae/document.cfm?doc_id=15266

[16] EOSC Declaration: New Research & Innovation Opportunities, 26.10.2017, p. 5. Via https://ec.europa.eu/research/openscience/pdf/eosc_declaration.pdf

[17] Commission Staff Working Document: Implementation Roadmap for the European Open Science Cloud. Via: https://ec.europa.eu/research/openscience/pdf/swd_2018_83_f1_staff_working_paper_en.pdf

[18] Commission Staff Working Document: Implementation Roadmap for the European Open Science Cloud. Via: https://ec.europa.eu/research/openscience/pdf/swd_2018_83_f1_staff_working_paper_en.pdf

[19] https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/blogposts/discussing-implementation-european-open-science-cloud-eosc-hub-week

 

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