European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) Pilot project launched!

The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) Pilot project kicked off last 17-18 January in Amsterdam. The EOSCpilot brings together about 50 partners, third-parties and subcontractors to support the development of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). It will establish the governance framework for the EOSC and contribute to the development of European open science policy and best practice. Moreover, it will develop a number of working scientific demonstrators that show interoperability and its benefits in a number of scientific domains, by integrating services and infrastructures. Finally, it will engage with a broad range of stakeholders, crossing borders and communities, to build the trust and skills required for adoption of an open approach to scientific research.

The EOSCpilot project aims at addressing some of the key reasons why European research is not yet fully tapping into the potential of data, in particular by reducing the existing geographic, thematic, technological, and governance fragmentation between data infrastructures; by improving interoperability between data infrastructures and demonstrating how data and resources can be shared even when they are large and complex and in varied formats; by providing incentives and other means to enhance openness to data coming from publicly funded research, and; by engaging stakeholders of different scientific communities.

In this way, the EOSC pilot project will improve the ability to reuse data resources and provide an important step towards building a dependable open-data research environment where data from publicly funded research is always open and there are clear incentives and rewards for the sharing of data and resources.

This ambitious project will face challenges related to technology, culture and governance. On the technological side, EOSC will need to provide real interoperability among infrastructures and data, in order to ensure standardisation and services operation. With respect to governance, the EOSCpilot must create an open governance  and policy framework for the EOSC that is inclusive of all stakeholders. However, the most difficult challenge would probably rely in radically changing the culture of researchers and infrastructure managers, engaging them so that to remove obstacles related to the availability of own data and to the use of other’s infrastructures. In this scenario, it would be then vital to collaborate with other relevant initiatives such as OpenAIRE, EUDAT and so on, in order to establish a common ground of infrastructures and interoperability on different levels.

The EOSCpilot will last for 24 months (ending December 2018). The project is organised in 9 work packages, dealing with management and governance, policy drafting, science demonstrators, services, interoperability, skills, engagement and communication, ethics requirements; all of them are strinctly interconnected and will work synergically to build the EOSC ecosystem.

The EOSCpilot will put together some policy expert groups, in order to explore open science drivers and constraints, issues related to data protection and ownerships, ethical driven constraints, and so on, so that to establish the policy framework required for an open and trusted environment. They will also develop a portfolio and roadmap for the EOSC services and define the rules of engagement for service providers.

The pilot will fund and mentor a total of 15 ambitious science demonstrators as proofs-of-concept and prototypes for the ambitious new levels of interoperability the EOSC will bring. 5 have already been selected at project proposal stage, belonging to different research areas from life sciences, energy, climate science, material science and the humanities. Future open calls will bring 10 more demonstrators on board over the course of the next year (watch this space!). Infrastructures wishing to participate to the new expression of interest for science demonstrators should have a strong and defined data analysis activity showing their scientific excellence and societal impact; provide data integration, management, interoperability and analysis that will drive the development of new services within EOSC; be already developed and supported by mature research infrastructures and/or organisations; and last but not least, commit to publish or consuming third party research artifacts.

The EOSCpilot plans to connect with active actors in open data science education, such as schools, universities, pilots and projects dealing with education and training, building training and skills, then, on what already exists. The project will also deliver a series of workshops engaging specific targets of stakeholders, such as researchers, research funders, communities of practice, and to provide training materials useful to improve researchers skills on some hot issues.

Learn more about the project: http://eoscpilot.eu/ (more information coming soon!)

Ilaria Fava

Project Officer for EOSCpilot and OpenAIRE at University of Goettingen

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