Education and Science, EU – Baltic States, Innovations, Modern EU, Technology

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 04.12.2021, 07:10

Turning digital: challenges and perspectives for science and research in the EU

Eugene Eteris, BC International Editor, Copenhagen, 07.10.2019.Print version
The internet and digital technologies are already transforming the EU member states’ knowledge and operation systems. During last five years the turn has come to science, research and innovation with a new concept of free access to all kind of research (called “open access”). The Baltic States science community has to take this challenge seriously.

Most states in Europe, as well as in the world, are witnessing a serious increase both in the amount of science information produced and research data for use in social development. There are already billions of managed data in digital devices and services for personal and professional needs, as well as data through the science digitized literature.


Besides, managed data is extensively entering numerous traditional public services turning them digital, e.g. e-governance, e-trade, e-finance, e-health, and e-education platforms.  


Due to improved digital infrastructure, industry and manufacturing are influenced by new skill-intensive sectors (contrary to labor-intensive) with the growing employment facilities moving to services; the process is greatly affected by research and innovation.

More on the role of science and research in Latvian development:

Sparitis O., Eteris E. Modern European science policy: challenges and opportunities for Latvian perspective growth. Latvian Academy of Sciences’ publication series: Latvia in Europe and the World. - SIA Medicinas apgards publish. - Riga, 2019. -214 pp.


Review of the book in: Latvian science and research policy through a perspective vision, by Baiba Rivzha, in:  

Fundamental changes: digitalization in science and research

Generally, the European open science (EOS) is based on fast implementation in the member states the EU Digital Single Market (DSM), whish for the last five years has been one of the ten strategic political priorities as an integral part of the digital aspects in the European integration. The DSM is also one of the seven main flagship initiatives in the five years EU-2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth


There are several components in EOS, facing different aspects of national political economy, for example, the measures for digitising industrial/manufacturing sectors in the EU member states are parts of the “digital package”, due to the fact that industrial sector is the background of European economy: it accounts for 2 million enterprises, 33 million jobs and 60% of productivity growth.


However, the sector is at the center of the 4th industrial revolution’s transition with the new-generation of information technologies (e.g. ICT and the Internet of Things-IoT, cloud computing, big data, robotics and 3D printing). The transition opens new opportunities for industrial and manufacturing in developing innovative products and services: according to the EU, digitisation of products and services can add more than EUR 110 billion of annual revenue to the EU states’ economy in the next five years.


More in:

On IoT in:


The “big data” phenomenon creates new possibilities in sharing knowledge, in carrying out research and in developing/implementing public policies. It is also becoming easier for the wide public to exploit this data thanks to the global “net” or the “cloud”. The latter shall be understood as the combination of three interdependent elements: a) data infrastructures for storing and manage data, b) the high-frequent networks which are transporting “big data”, and c) more powerful computers which are processing the data.


The ability to analyse and exploit the “big data” has a great economic impact on the EU member states and global development, opening up the possibility of major industrial and social innovations. A key part of this impact is the change in the way scientific research is carried out, as modern societies are rapidly moving towards “open science”.


More in:


The Digital Single Market encompasses several policy areas where actions need to be further communicated and implemented by Member States, one of them being on “Open Data”. The term refers to all public sector information, PSI which, according to the PSI 2013 Directive, includes the “metadata” and publishing data in an open and interoperable platform. Additionally, PSI-process is to ensure re-usability with the standard licenses applied to them.


Besides, the Directive includes in “open data transfers” all museums, archives and libraries due to their cultural heritage and ability to use as digitised materials.


More on the information management in:

European approach to open science

The EU states are taking numerous steps in implementing European open science approach (EOS); however, the approaches varied in the states. For example, ”open science”, accordinhg to the Swedish conceptincludes several different and interchanging areas, e.g. open access to scientific information (which includes both publications and research data), open educational resources, open source code, alternative ways to measure scientific influence, open peer review, as well as increasing general public science knowledge.


Official approach to “open science in Europe” goes through “improving the quality of research by transparency and reproducibility” while widely using research outcomes by the industry and society at large as “an additional growth mechanism”. One of such “mechanisms” is the EU’s regional “research area” so-called ERA, through which the EU institutions and the member states are trying to strengthen their scientific and technological bases, competitiveness capacity and research outcomes in order to “collectively address” modern global and European challenges. 


During last years some guidelines and standards for open access to research results at national, European and international levels created by researchers, universities and governments have been elaborated.


The main methods for open access to internationally published materials are described by using the concepts of  ”gold” and ”green” access. Thus, ”green open access” means that, as soon as the publisher gives permission, the researcher self-archives a peer-reviewed and edited version of the article in a digital archive (called a repository). The final version of the article is being published in a traditional subscription-based journal.


The ”gold open access” means that researchers publish their work through an open access publisher: the book or an article becomes openly available on the internet. Often, the publisher charges a small administration fee, which is paid by the researcher/institution. Articles may also be published in traditional subscription-based journals and are then made openly available for a fee (the latter version is called a ”hybrid” one).


Generally, open access means that the author gives everyone the right to read, download, copy and distribute their work in digital form. The author retains all moral rights and the author must be properly acknowledged and the work must not be distorted.




As soon as without a financial support to the “digital implementation” it would be difficult to introduce in “open science” in the member states, the EU financing instruments envisage total investments of about EUR 37 billion to boost digital innovation, including: a) EUR 5.5 billion of national and regional investments in digital innovation hubs; b) EUR 6.3 billion for the first production lines of next-generation electronic components, and c) EUR 6.7 billion for the EU “cloud initiative”.


The open science’s aim is at strengthening the member states’ position in data-driven innovation, improving competitiveness and creating a digital single market in science. In order for the digital technologies and IoT to practically transform the member states knowledge systems the national barriers in online services have to be eliminated. Thus, the EU's digital single market requires that all the states’ digital arrangements are working within a single EU-wide model. These steps could contribute EUR415 billion per year to economic growth, boosting jobs, competition, investment and innovation in the EU states.

On the EU’s digital single market in:

More on the cloud initiative in:

The EOS-approach will provide European science, industry and public authorities with the following advantages: a) having a world-class data infrastructure to store and manage data (European Open Science Cloud), b) acquiring a high-speed connectivity to manage data (European Data Infrastructure), and c) introduce more powerful High Performance Computers, known as supercomputers, to process data (HPC).


On European open science cloud in:;

On EU data infrastructure in the digital market glossary in:;

 On HPC in:

Magic 3 “Os” in open science

There are three “major elephants” on which the whole EOS concept resides, called 3-Os. 

- Open innovation focuses on new business models and funding schemes to be developed so that everyone, particularly the industry and citizens, have access to knowledge and are able to use innovation workflows to analyse, publish and commercialise their findings. An open innovation ecosystem encourages the hatching of new entrepreneurs and the creation of new products, services and, therefore, new markets. The free flow of knowledge, data and new technologies is the key to achieving the transition from research (knowledge) to innovation in products and services; open innovation accommodates this need by completing the missing part of commercialisation.

- Open science follows e-science, i.e. through the computationally-intensive/digitalised research process and practice with collaboration and re-usability as its driving forces. Open science opens up the research lifecycle: from the concept of an idea and the collection of relevant material (papers, data, etc.) to the publication, archiving and re-use of the research outcomes. It creates a new modus operandi for science, where researchers, funds, organisations, ITs, libraries and governments are organised, linked, verified and enhanced with collaborative and coordinative activities. Legal barriers in accessing and sharing information, as well as utilisation of data-intensive infrastructures are among the issues that are eliminated with EOS.

- Open to the world approach is oriented at securing the EU’s leading position in scientific research agendas through the EU research and innovation activities. It also reflects on Europe’s contribution to global challenges ensuring effectiveness of research and innovation world-wide.   

References to:

To my mind, the fourth EOS shall be added, i.e. about an “open education”, where all syllabuses, teaching materials and publications are available both to the students and all those interested in “open education”.   

National strategies: Danish example

National open access strategy in Denmark was adopted in June 2018; the strategy states that the open access is implemented through the so-called “green model”, i.e. the parallel filling of quality-assured research articles in institutional or subject-specific archives (repositories) with the “open access”. However, the strategy does not exclude the use of the golden model as long as it does not increase the expenses for publication.

Two central principles form the basis for the Danish strategy:

  • the implementation of the “open access” will support the possibility for Danish researchers to continue to publish in the most recognized national and international journals;  
  • it is crucial that the aggregate public expenditure to research publications is not increased significantly because of the “open access” implementation.  

More on the strategy in:


Since 2018, the Danish strategy is successfully securing “open access” for all interested in the scientific articles and conferences’ proceedings in journals with an ISSN number. However, scientific monographs and anthologies, publications on patented discoveries as well as PhD and doctorate dissertations are excluded. Similarly, it is recognized that further implementation of open access may not hinder researchers’ freedom of publication; these prerequisites form the basis for Denmark’s National Strategy for Open Access.


References to:


Swedish example

Swedish approach to ”open access” means that all research that is funded through the public means can be openly found through the internet with the free of charge reading and use. In this way, the research results are openly accessible to the whole of society while providing a solid foundation for future research both within and outside academia and give all citizens access to scientific information. 


Since 2006 the Swedish National Library has been running a program aimed at promoting an open access on the internet to works produced by researchers, teachers and students. This is done by supporting open access publishing at Swedish universities, as well as supporting Swedish research funding agencies on issues relating to open access. The programme includes the provision of information and advice, infrastructure and services, as well as international collaboration.


More information on key areas in the position paper: Towards an Open Science Society.


There are the following key areas in the new Swedish open science program: - opening up ”science to society, for a sustainable future”; - engaging, involving and mobilising society and citizens; - science education as the basis for scientific literacy and scientific careers; - open access as the key to achieving an open-knowledgeable society; - evaluating and communicating scientific impacts.




Two important and complicated preconditions have to be completed along the way to the European “open science”: first, the EU’s digital single market (DSM) with all the necessary arrangements to streamline the member states’ abilities in developing digital technologies. Second, the creation of the European research area (ERA) with all the organizational structures in assisting the states’ academic and research communities towards closer cooperation in the EU-wide type of research.


Finally, as soon as the European open science has appeared to arrange and moderate a quicker exchange of research outcomes in the member states for the benefits of all, the member states have to accomplish the first two preconditions in order to enter the third one, i.e. the national and European “open science community”.  


There are significant economic, social and educational benefits in making European research outputs available to access without financial, legal and technical barriers. EOS incorporates national research into an interoperable network of European/global knowledge in increasing national research impact, providing new research impetus and stimulating professional activity. Thus, the EOS’ benefits are evident: a) research is becoming more efficient and effective, b) it delivers better and faster outcomes for all, and c) it strengthens economies through developing stronger national science background. Besides, there are growing evidences that the EU states also benefit as the EOS increases the impact of the research on economies with a better return on investment. Reference to:


However, to fully exploit the EOS potential, the EU states need to make “home work” and solve some problems concerning: a) maximising incentives for sharing data and increasing the exploitive capacity, b) ensuring that data can be used as widely as possible, across scientific disciplines and between the public and the private sectors, c) better interconnection between existing and new data infrastructures. 


Therefore the EU’s “cloud initiative” is designed to help science, industry and public authorities in the states acquire world-class data infrastructures and cloud-based services as they become the decisive factors for success in the digital economy. A “European cloud” would open up to every research centre, every research project and every researcher in EU the best world-class supercomputing, data storage and analysis capacity to succeed in global innovation.  


The EU cloud will make it possible to widen the user-base infrastructures and services to the public sector, industry and SMEs by guaranteeing an adequate level of security, data protection, interoperability and compliance with EU legislation.

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