One year ago, the European Commission published a declaration, inviting national governments, industry and the scientific community to participate in establishing the European Open Science Cloud – a trusted environment for sharing and analysing data from all publicly funded research.
The response to the declaration has been strong and positive, enabling good progress on the complex tasks facing us. We have just launched the first version of the Cloud’s portal, the governance structure is in place and we are well on track to having the Cloud operational by 2020.
In all this work, we have benefitted extensively from the advice of high-level experts groups. I am therefore pleased to receive the recommendations laid out in this report and in the report ‘Turning FAIR into reality’. They will help guide us when developing a Cloud that is open to all researchers, and which will function as a user-friendly, collaborative tool for data sharing and re-use.
The authors of the two reports touch upon a number of key issues for the Cloud. They discuss the definition of what constitutes a minimum viable research data ecosystem in Europe, its main rules of participation, governance framework, and possible financing models. They also look at how the Cloud can effectively interlink people, data, services and trainings, publications, projects and organisations. In addition, they present an action plan to make research data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR): attributes which are essential to extract the full scientific value from data resources and to unleash the potential for large-scale, machine-driven analysis.
Europe’s decision to develop the European Open Science Cloud reflects the willingness to embrace change, but also to empower 1.7 million European researchers and 70 million professionals in science and technology. The ultimate goal is to achieve a fundamental transformation of the whole research lifecycle and to make it more credible with increased integrity, more efficient, collaborative and more responsive to societal challenges.
I am convinced that the Cloud will allow a new generation of scholars to find, combine and analyse data and discoveries in a way that supersedes anything we have ever seen before. It will accelerate the transition to Open Science and Open Innovation and bring science and research closer to societal needs
‘Musical harmony is based on physical principles, while in cooking,ingredients must be weighed out with precision. At the same time, youhave to be able to invent because if one follows the same recipe allthe time, you never create anything new’. Fabiola Gianotti
The work of any high-level expert group is always complex, as they are requested to harmonise, at times, very different points of view and especially considering the complexity and ambition of the EOSC vision, we found ourselves, at times, making choices on delivering a fair and objective analysis from multiple points of view and we have enjoyed finding a common vision together.
With this report we aim to mark a transition towards the practical implementation of the EOSC, based on the European Commission’s implementation roadmap, and to set the scene to the practical launch of the EOSC, by placing focus on the governance structure, rules of participation and business model options. The ideas presented in this report bring together, deliberate, and further expand various policy papers and recommendations contributing to the establishment of the EOSC that have beenpublished by ongoing Horizon 2020 projects and national initiatives, European Commission reports, as well by the Commission FAIR data expert group and by the Open science policy platform.
We, (very probably) just like you, want all European researchers in science and technology, to reap the full benefits of data-driven science, for the benefit of society and the public and with due respect for their privacy. We want the unprecedented production of research data, in terms of quality, quantity and variety, to be accessible and usable in productive, ethical and user-friendly ways. We have learned over one and a half years that this ambition will only succeed if it is shared and inclusive, and if it is based on the accumulated knowledge and practices from all of our stakeholders.
A sentence, which we see also highlighted in this report and which we think truly does sum up the EOSC of tomorrow is that the EOSC intends to ‘interlink people, data, services and trainings, publications, projects and organisations across borders and scientific disciplines’.
Our recommendations invite our stakeholders to go that step further and, through engagement to EOSC, get the research infrastructures, ESFRIs, ERICs, etc. to do what they could not do before and spell it out as part of their key performance indicators (KPIs) in their future projects. We have also done our best to listen to our stakeholders and weaved considerations made by them throughout this final report and into the recommendations it spells out.
We have found ourselves at the very heart of significant change with regards to European legislations including the EU general data protection regulation (GDPR), the EU copyright directive, as well as other initiatives such as the Coalition-s for the acceleration to full and immediate open access to scientific publications; these will all help the open science cloud fulfil its potential. By pushing the boat out further with our recommendations for how the EOSC portal should evolve based on the rules of participation that have been submitted to us through the open consultation platform over the summer of 2018, we have tried to capture the pain points, the challenges and the must-haves throughout. We do not want to reinvent the wheel, but we wish to capitalise on existing vehicles and tools that make up our strong scientific base and investments made in infrastructures.
We hope that the report will make an impact as part of the EOSC launch for the end of the year for all EU Member States and we are extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to work on such a challenging yet stimulating process where we have been engaged, especially over the past 10 months, alongside relevant, and timely EU milestones to support the Digital Single Market which, going forward, will have direct implications on the EOSC. We know Europe has the skills, knowledge and capacity to drive its new, open science cloud, pragmatically forward and hope that with this report we can contribute to reaching this ambitious goal.
The group would like to extend its gratitude to everyone who actively contributed to it; there were many who did, and we hope that we have been true to their input – while assuming responsibility for choices made in composing this report.
The 2nd EOSC High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) [2017-2018]
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation
Directorate B – Open Innovation and Open Science
Unit B2 – Open Science
© European Union, 2018.