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European Open Science Cloud: Strategic Implementation Plan

Eugene Eteris, , LZA senior adviser, BC International Editor, Copenhagen, 04.11.2019.Print version
European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) ultimate aim is to create a “global data structure”, which - as a result of standardization, data repositories and processing of relevant data -can be used by scientists and others for the benefit of national socio-economic development. In the Supplement, there is info on more than 20 EOSC projects covering ICT cooperation in various fields of scientific research.

In building EOSC, the Commission is designing a virtual “common place”, where science producers and science consumers come together for additional insights, new ideas and more innovation. The EOSC’s concept is “federal” in scope: i.e. by federating information data and services it can add value to innovative goods and services. EOSC uses ICT means to modernize the ways the EU states are managing science and research, the way collective scientific knowledge is created in all sciences’ fields.  


In May 2019, the EOSC Executive Board presented the Strategic Implementation Plan for comments from the member states and subsequent approval. The EOSC Strategic Implementation Plan presents the activities that will contribute to the implementation of the EOSC for the 2019-2020 periods.*)

*) European Open Science Cloud: Strategic Implementation Plan. Prepared by the Executive Board of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC); European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation/ Directorate G “Research & Innovation Outreach” and Unit G.4 “Open Science”. Commission Publication, June 2019. - 48 pp. ISBN 978-92-76-09175-2.

References to: and


Background: “federating” the EU research potentials

Growing information and data volumes present a serious problem for all kind of users: today the global increase in data per year is measured in zettabytes (1021 bytes). For most of the scientists, it is becoming too complicated to follow the innovative paths, to read all the relevant material that is being published in their corresponding scientific disciplines.


In some research spheres there are more relevant publications written in one year than a person can read during the whole lifespan. Thus, quite often, with the help of numerous search facilities, pertinent publications are selected for analysis and reading.


However, most of the modern socio-economic problems can be resolved only through a cross-sectoral approach, i.e. with the help of several scientific disciplines to find sophisticated solutions. In other words, in order to find relevant data and “present” them in an accessible way, the scientists need a combination of means that would lead to faster reuse and re-assessment of scientific achievements.

The new EOSC Governance started its activities in 2019; the Governance Board first met at the end of January 2019. Based upon the suggestions of the Executive Board, it decided on the prioritization of five topics and the creation of five working groups.


In March 2019, the Executive Board discussed in more details the description of each working group together with the nomination of a coordinator for each of the following groups: 

- Landscape; FAIR approach (findable, accessible, interoperable, and re-usable info); 

- EOSC Architecture; 

- Rules of Participation, and 

- Sustainability.


Thus, the EOSC will be the result of the federation of existing EU member states’ ICT infrastructures augmented by the new services dedicated to sharing publications, data and software for the benefit of research and business communities. The evolution of existing infrastructures and the creation of new ones will remain under the sole responsibility of the national governance. The federating efforts are therefore the way that EOSC will make a difference by offering services that are urgently needed by the science community, academia and entrepreneurs.  


More on the open science facilities in: Eugene Eteris. Turning digital: challenges and perspectives for science and research in the EU.

Supplement: EOSC projects in Horizon 2020

It is well-worth looking at previous and the existing EOSC-projects supported by the Commission research funding; the simple enumeration shows both the diversity and complexity of EOSC’s implementation agenda. 


= GÉANT (total funding €192 mln 2016-22) serves as the network access provider for the EOSC, contributing, together with the National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), secure seamless high-speed multi-domain networking and wide peering together with federated identity services delivering appropriate access to cloud services, data, research infrastructures and the many other components and resources of the EOSC. In addition, GÉANT has a role in a coordinated data management framework where the network, compute and storage are all working together to serve the needs of researchers.


= Helix Nebula Science Cloud (HNSciCloud) is a European pre-commercial procurement (PCP) initiative co-funded by Horizon 2020. Scientific research in many different domains generates massive amounts of data, creating enormous challenges for data capturing, management and processing. Today commercial cloud services do not play a significant role in the production computing environments for the publicly funded research sector in Europe. Using the PCP-approach, leading research organisations from 7 countries have joint to pull together commercial cloud service providers, publicly funded e-Infrastructures and in-house resources to build a hybrid cloud platform on top of which a competitive marketplace of European cloud players can develop their own services for a wide range of users. The project brings together Europe’s technical development, policy and procurement activities to remove fragmentation and maximise exploitation.

= EOSCpilot project (Jan 2017-April 2019) supported the first phase in the EOSC development; it trials the governance framework for the EOSC and contribute to the EOSC development and best practice; develops a number of demonstrators functioning as high-profile pilots that integrate services and infrastructures to show interoperability in a number of scientific domains. Besides, it engages 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.


= eInfraCentral (Jan 2017-June 2019, with a €1.5m funding) is providing access to the catalogue of e-Infrastructure services which will feed the EOSC-Hub. The overall aim of the project is to ensure that a broader and more varied set of users (including industry) benefits from European infrastructures. The catalogue is the single point of reference for researchers and the broad community to discover and compare services and resources, as well as to monitor the performance and quality across multiple service providers.


= Freya (Dec 2017-Nov 2020, with €5m funding) will provide a robust environment for a range of Persistent Identifiers (PIDs), as an EOSC essential component. A universal and persistent mechanism will be developed for discovering elements in the EOSC interoperable research environment, through richer linking of research entities, metadata enrichment and improved machine “actionability”.


= EOSC-Hub (Jan 2018-Dec 2020, with €30m funding directly contributes to the EOSC implementation. The project will integrate and consolidate services, software and data from the key existing eInfrastructures (EGI Federation, EUDAT CDI, INDIGO-DataCloud and major research eInfrastructures through a pan-European access mechanism), providing an integrated entry point to both generic and thematic services for the scientific community. Through the project's virtual access mechanism, more scientific communities and users will have access to services supporting scientific discovery and collaboration across disciplinary and geographical boundaries. The project will improve skills and knowledge among researchers and service operators by delivering specialised trainings and by establishing competence centres to co-create solutions.


= OpenAIRE-Advance (an 2018-Dec 2020, with €10m) addresses key aspects and challenges of the currently transforming scholarly communication landscape in terms of quality assurance and communication of scientific outputs. The project is based on the OpenAIRE network that supports, accelerates and monitors the EOSC implementation, including Open Access to publications and research data.


= RDA Europe 4.0 (March 2018- May 2020, with €3.5m funding) addresses the need for open and interoperable sharing of research data and the need to build social, technical and cross-disciplinary links to enable such sharing on a global scale. It builds on its community-driven and bottom-up approach, which has been operational since 2012.


= PaNOSC (Dec-2018-Nov 2022) is based on existing local meta-data catalogues and data repositories to provide federated services for making data easily findable, accessible, interoperable, and re-usable (so-called FAIR-approach). As is known, extracting the scientific value of the experimental data produced in research and innovations (RIs) is a complicated task: the raw data tends to be larger and larger and quite often require special skills for being correctly exploited. PaNOSC will develop and provide data analysis services to overcome these difficulties.

= OCRE (Jan 2019-Dec 2021) as an open cloud for research environments, combines the expertise of four partners to enable access and drive the adoption and use of commercial digital services by the European research community. After gathering user requirements, the OCRE will manage the adoption funds and buy resources from the selected suppliers and make cloud resources available to research institutions. Such a delivery vehicle is effective and efficient to contemplate “the supply & demand” sides.


= ARCHIVER (Jan 2019-Dec 2021) uses the PCP instrument and builds on results of recent projects. The ARCHIVER’s goal is to fulfill data management in a multi-disciplinary environment, allowing each research group to retain ownership of their data whilst leveraging best practices, standards and economies of scale. ARCHIVER will combine multiple ICT technologies, including extreme data-scaling, network connectivity, service inter-operability and business models, in a hybrid cloud environment to deliver end-to-end archival and preservation services that cover the full research lifecycle.  


= SSHOC (Jan 2019-April 2022) aims at providing a full-fledged Social Sciences and Humanities Open Cloud, SSHOC where data, tools, and training are available and accessible for users. Main idea is determined by the goal to further the innovation of infrastructural support for digital scholarship, to stimulate multidisciplinary collaboration across the various social sciences’ subfields and to increase the potential for societal impact. The intention is to create a European open cloud ecosystem for social sciences and humanities, consisting of an infrastructural and human component.


= ENVRI-FAIR (Jan 2019-Dec 2022) is the connection of the ESFRI Cluster of Environmental Research Infrastructures (ENVRI) to the EOSC. Participating research infrastructures (RIs) of the environmental domain cover the sub-domains of atmosphere, marine, solid earth and biodiversity/ecosystems to cover full complexity of the Earth system. The overarching goal is that all participating RIs will create a set of FAIR data services which would enhance the efficiency and productivity of researchers, support innovation, while enabling efficient data- and knowledge-based decisions.


= FAIRsFAIR (Feb 2019-Jan 2022), the project is on fostering FAIR data culture and the uptake of good practices in making data FAIR. It will focus on all scientific communities for supporting, creating, further developing and implementing a common scheme to ensure data development, wide uptake of and compliance with FAIR data principles and practices by data producers as well as national and European research data providers and repositories contributing to the EOSC.


= ESCAPE (Feb 2019-July 2022). The ESCAPE (European Science Cluster of Astronomy & Particle physics ESFRI research infrastructures) aims to address the Open Science challenges shared by ESFRI facilities, as well as other pan-European research infrastructures in astronomy and particle physics. ESCAPE actions will be focused on developing solutions for the large data sets and will unite astrophysics and particle physics communities with proven expertise in computing and data management.


= EOSC-Life (March 2019-Feb 2023): the project brings together 13 biological and medical ESFRI research infrastructures to create an open collaborative space for digital biology as a response to the challenge of analysing and reusing the prodigious amounts of data produced by life science. The goal of the EOSC-Life project is to make sure that life-scientists can access and integrate life-science data for analysis and reuse in academic and industrial research.


= EOSC-Nordic (Sept 2019-Aug 2022): the project aims at facilitating EOSC’s coordination of relevant initiatives within the Nordic and Baltic countries and exploit synergies to achieve greater harmonisation at policy and service provisioning. It brings together a consortium of 24 partners including e-infrastructure providers, research performing organisations and expert networks, with regard to the provision of research services and open science policy.


= EOSC-Pillar (July 2019-June 2022): the project unites representatives of the fast-growing national initiatives for coordinating data infrastructures and services from Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Belgium to establish an agile and efficient federation model for open science services covering the full spectrum of European research.


= EOSC-Synergy (Sept 2019-Feb 2022): the project extends the EOSC coordination to nine participating countries by harmonizing policies and federating relevant national research e-Infrastructures, scientific data and thematic services, bridging the gap between national initiatives and EOSC. The project introduces new capabilities by opening national thematic services to European access, thus expanding the EOSC offer in the Environment, Climate Change, Earth Observation and Life Sciences.


= ExPaNDS (Sept 2019-Aug 2022): the Photon and Neutron Data Services (ExPaNDS) is to enrich the EOSC with data management services and to coordinate activities to enable national Photon and Neutron (PaN) RIs to make the majority of their data ‘open’ following FAIR principles and to harmonise their efforts to make their data catalogues and data analysis services accessible through the EOSC, thereby enabling them to be shared in a uniform way.


= NI4OS-Europe (Sept 2019-Aug 2022): the project is to support the development and inclusion of the national OSC’s initiatives in 15 EU states and some associated countries in the overall scheme of EOSC governance; spread the EOSC and FAIR principles in the community and train it; and provide technical and policy support in on-boarding of the existing and future service providers into EOSC, including generic services (compute, data storage, data management), thematic services, repositories and data sets - thus covering the whole spectrum of services related to Open Science, data and publications.


=Finally, the (Jan 2019-June 2021) serves as a coordination structure to deliver on EOSC’s proactive, dynamic and flexible approach with the necessary competences, resources and vision. The 30-month project will maintain a practical approach addressing all the specific needs of the EOSC coordination. For example, it will adopt a co-creation approach working with the community to deliver many of the activities. Source: EOSC Implementation Report-2019, pp. 34-42.  


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