Digital skills for FAIR and open science are a cornerstone of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC)’s operations and future. The authors of the report identify a framework for building competences and capabilities, focused on four priority areas. They provide seven recommendations for next steps.

Digital skills for FAIR and open science

Report from the EOSC Executive Board Skills and Training Working Group

Edited by: the EOSC Executive Board

February 2021


Executive Summary

Digital skills for FAIR [1]FAIR stands for Finable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (Wilkinson et al. 2016) and open science are a cornerstone of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC)’s operations and future. An EOSC network of skilled professionals is essential to bring a culture change for sharing research outcomes, and to empower individuals and institutions to develop and maintain EOSC competences, skills and capabilities.

The EOSC Skills and Training Working Group (WG) was formed in 2020 to identify a framework for building competence and capabilities for EOSC. The WG focused on four priority areas that form the major sections of this report:

1. Developing the next generation of FAIR and open science professionals: Presents a framework of all the EOSC actors (roles) in the EOSC ecosystem for whom skills and training is relevant.

2. Collaborating to enhance digital skills for FAIR and open science in Europe: Reviews organisational approaches to implement training activities and programmes, through the concept of competence centres.

3. Building a trusted and long-lasting and trusted knowledge hub of learning and training resources and related tools: Provides insights for an EOSC federated training catalogue as part of a sustainable training infrastructure that supports EOSC actors.

4. Influencing national open science policy for skills by supporting strategic leaders: Analyses the framing of digital skills required in EOSC in the wider European agenda for skills, to provide recommendations for Member States and Associated Countries on how to support EOSC in national skills policies and strategies.

Gap analysis completed by the WG demonstrates that significant work is still needed by a wide variety of stakeholders to not only achieve the vision of EOSC, but to maximise research impact internationally. Whilst this report identifies the next steps to overcome barriers and leverage opportunities to maximise vital skills and training development, a major focus is needed to continue to advance this area in the future. The WG’s recommendations on next steps are as follows:

Main Recommendations

1. Utilise the Framework of Actors in the EOSC Ecosystem (Figure 3) in the development of initiatives, skills, training, reward and recognition frameworks and career paths necessary to support further development and mainstreaming of FAIR and open science.

2. Coordinate and align relevant skills curricula and training frameworks by generating a consensus on a core European higher education curriculum to deliver FAIR and open science skills at university level.

3. Encourage and support the competence centres approach as a framework for increasing coordinated provision of aligned training to support FAIR and open science.

4. Facilitate increased integration of FAIR and open science courses with university qualifications.

5. Build a learning and training catalogue utilising the specifications for development recommended by this WG to maximise interoperability.

6. Include learning and training resources in the EOSC Interoperability Framework (EIF).

7. Develop an EOSC Skills and Training Leadership Programme to:

    • Increase coordination of European and national policies, programmes and networks supporting the skills elements of FAIR and open science.
    • Develop and promote an EOSC Skills and Training Ambassadors programme to advise national
    • Advocate for the inclusion of skills and training of FAIR and open science into major European and
      national funding instruments.


European Commission
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation

© European Union, 2021