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Co-creating the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC)
Workshops with researchers and university networks
Author: Bernd Saurugger (TU Wien)
Research environments in transition
The way science is conducted is rapidly changing over time. If you think of research nowadays, the internet is indispensable. However, the primary precursor network, the ARPANET, which served as a backbone for interconnection of regional academic networks, was built only about 60 years ago. Many of today’s researchers surely still remember rushing after postmarks to meet their deadline in submitting research proposals. Now, the European research community faces the next big step: The implementation of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), to connect researchers from multiple disciplines and foster open science and the digital transformation of science by providing its scientific community with a trusted and open virtual environment, including seamless access to a wide set of software, infrastructure, protocols, methods, incentives, trainings and services addressing the whole research data life cycle. It shall be an infrastructure that is highly-used, robust and resilient with very complex processes in the background that are mostly shielded from the users of the services.
The EOSC building process is not yet completed. Thus, there are many opportunities to involve stakeholders and ensure that the EOSC will meet their needs. As researchers are the ultimate target group, TU Wien is organising a series of workshops involving Europe’s top-level experts in order to identify needs, requirements and visions for an ideal future research environment crucial for the implementation of the EOSC. The first three workshops targeted researchers from various disciplines, university networks, as well as representatives from funding bodies and research performing organisations. The events took place in January and in February 2020. The key takeaway messages of these workshops are now available on the EOSCsecretariat.eu website.
Cross-disciplinary workshop with researchers
The first workshop “Co-creating the EOSC: Needs and requirements for future research environments” (https://zenodo.org/record/3701194#.XmY_1KhKiUk) was held in Feldkirch, Austria, on 13 January 2020. A small group of 20 European top-level researchers was invited to brainstorm, with the masterminds from natural and technical sciences, not only about the actual needs of their current research but also about future needs and requirements concerning research infrastructures, and services. Together with the researchers, TU Wien elaborated visions on how research will be conducted in 5 to 15 years and its effect and impact on research infrastructures. The discussion included the following topics:
Impact of Research in Society Communication and Language Barriers
Re-definition of the Roles of Researchers and AI in Research Processes Trusted Data Frameworks Sustainable Data Frameworks Legal Frameworks, Guidelines and Rules of Participation (RoP)
In the EOSC’s community driven building process, universities are highly important stakeholders, as every researcher was once trained at a university and most research is performed in universities nowadays. In addition, in kind contributions of universities are essential for the future EOSC. Thus, the second workshop “University Networks shaping EOSC” (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3693914) targeted university networks and took place in Brussels from 23rd to 24th January 2020. Keeping in mind the findings of the first workshop, this event targeted at university network perspectives. Within the workshop, the following topics were discussed:
How will EOSC be governed and funded after 2020? User Engagement referred to Organisations Networking and Collaborations of Universities
Funders networks collaborate very closely with European researchers and are therefore essential in the building of the EOSC. TU Wien initiated a discussion on EOSC and the role of funders and research performing organisations at a Science Europe meeting which took place in Brussels on 11th February 2020. There a small group of experts from Science Europe Member Organisations have been invited to brainstorm about the actual needs in their current work as well as future needs and requirements concerning research and funding activities. The discussion was comprised by the following topics:
Communication gaps regarding the EOSC’s message Incentives that should be set in order to make research data FAIR
In the current development-phase of the EOSC, it is essential to collect the different perspectives of researchers and research institutions on EOSC and future research environments. Even though the results differed slightly, common messages could be identified. They include:
Concrete services that are needed in future research environments
Reward mechanisms for researchers to open their data (or make it FAIR) need to be established
Rules of Participation (RoP) have to be defined, thus shaping the EOSC as a regulated, secure and sustainable environment
The need of clear communication and a message about EOSC is essential