CoNOSC national policymakers and data stewards

SPARC Europe organised a face-to-face event for The Council of National Open Science Coordinators (CoNOSC) in June 2022 at the inspirational Delft University of Technology. National policymakers from over ten countries […]

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The Munin Conference on Scholarly Publishing

The Munin Conference is an annual conference on scholarly publishing and communication, primarily revolving around open access, open data and open science. The next conference (2022) will be the seventeenth Munin […]

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Learning to Make Collaborative Guides with Open Access

The students of the Open Knowledge course at Hochschule Hannover made a book The Open Science Guide of Guides with a series of rapid production ‘book dashes’. The project was a partnership with GenR and the Open Science Lab, TIB. Lessons were learned on all sides — the students had a non-stop tour of open science tools and services that you chain together to make a modern book…

Source

European Open Science Cloud: small projects, big plans and 1 billion EUR

by Claudia Sittner

Prof. Dr Klaus Tochtermann is Director of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, Member of the German Council for Scientific Information Infrastructures (RfII) and board member of the recently established European Open Science Cloud Association (EOSC Association). He was a member of the EOSC’s High Level Expert Group and the EOSC working group for sustainability for many years. He also founded, in 2012, the Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science, the international Open Science Conference and the associated Barcamp Open Science.

Recently, he was interviewed by host Dr Doreen Siegfried (ZBW) in the ZBW podcast “The Future is Open Science” on the future of the European Open Science Cloud and the complexity of the landscape for research data. This blog post is a shortened version of the podcast episode “European Open Science Cloud – Internet of FAIR Data and Services” with Klaus Tochtermann. You can listen to the entire episode (35 minutes) here (German).

Why the name European Open Science Cloud never fitted

Something that will surprise many people: “The terminology of the EOSC was never appropriate – even in 2015”, according to Tochtermann. Back then – as the initial ideas for the EOSC were being developed and small projects were commencing – it was neither European, nor Open, nor Science nor a Cloud:

“It isn’t European – because research doesn’t stop at the regional borders of Europe, but instead many research groups are internationally networked. It isn’t open – because even in science there is data that requires protection such as patient data. It isn’t science – because many scientific research projects also use data from economy. And it isn’t cloud – because the point is not to deposit all data centrally in a cloud solution”, explains Klaus Tochtermann. The term was specified by the European Commission at the time and is now established. Among experts, the term “Internet of FAIR Data and Services” (IFDS) is preferred, says Tochtermann.

Preparatory phase 2015 to 2020

The EOSC started in 2015 with the aim “to provide European researchers, innovators, companies and citizens with a federated and open multi-disciplinary environment where they can publish, find and re-use data, tools and services for research, innovation and educational purposes.” (European Commission).

Since then, 320 million EUR have been deployed to fund 50 projects relating to research data management. These have however only shed light on individual aspects of the EOSC. “In fact, we are still a long way from being able to offer EOSC operationally in the scientific system”, says Tochtermann.

The funds were integrated into a research framework programme that only financed smaller projects at a time – this is owing to the way the European Commission functions and how it funds research. That’s why there was never one big EOSC project, but many small individual projects. These examined issues such as: “What would a search engine for research data look like? How can identifiers for research data be managed?”, explains the ZBW director.

Large projects EOSC Secretariat and EOSC Future

Then the EOSC went into the next phase with two large projects: EOSC Secretariat and EOSC Future. Running time: 30 months. Budget: 41 million EUR. Both are intended to bring together all previous projects in the direction of EOSC, i.e. to enable convergence and actually draw up a “System EOSC”. All puzzle parts from earlier small projects are now being put together to form a large EOSC blueprint.

Founding of the EOSC Association

The EOSC Association was founded in 2020. It is a formal institution and a foundation under Belgian law. It is headquartered in Brussels and will consolidate all activities. A board of directors has been appointed to coordinate the activities, made up of the president Karl Luyben and a further eight members, including Klaus Tochtermann.

In February 2021, the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA, PDF) laid down what the EOSC Association should achieve over the next few years. From now on, all EOSC projects must be orientated on these SRIA guidelines.

Initial time plan for the European Open Science Cloud

The Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda anticipates various development stages with precisely defined timetables. Basis functionalities are classified as “EOSC Core”, a level that should be implemented by 2023. Here, elements such as search, storage/save or a log-in function will be realised. This will be followed by the launch of “EOSC Exchange”, which deals with more complex functionalities and services for special data analyses of research datasets.

Collaboration between the EOSC Association and the European Commission

On the question of how the European Open Science Cloud Association and the European Commission cooperate with each other, Tochtermann emphasises the good relationship to the Commission. The so called partnership model, which is new for everyone and first needs to be experienced, forms the framework for this. However, sometimes the time windows in which the Commission wants reactions from the EOSC Association are very narrow. “I’m glad we have a very strong president of the EOSC Association, who also has the backbone to ensure that we are not always confronted with such short time windows, where reactions are sometimes simply not possible because the subject matter is too complex. But overall it works well”, Tochtermann sums up.

Financing the EOSC Association: 1 billion EUR

For the next ten years, 1 billion EUR is being made available for the development of the EOSC – half from the European Commission and half by the 27 member states of the EU. This was negotiated between the European Commission and the EOSC Association from December 2020 to July 2021 and laid down in an agreement (PDF, the Memorandum of Understanding for the Co-progammed Euroepean Partnership on the European Open Science Cloud.

The EOSC Association also raises further funds through membership fees. According to Klaus Tochtermann: “Members are not individuals, but organisations such as the ZBW or the NFDI Association in Germany. (…) Members can choose between full membership, meaning they can take part in all votes and currently pay a contribution of 10,000 EUR per year. Or they can be an observer, where (…) they have a less active role and are not allowed to vote in the annual general meeting. As an observer, you pay 2,000 EUR.” The contributions of the 200 members currently generate a budget of around 1.5 million EUR for the EOSC Association. This is being utilised to build up staff in the office, among other things.

EOSC, NFDI and Gaia-X: a confusing mishmash?

As well as the EOSC, there are further projects in Germany and Europe aimed at implementing large research data infrastructures. The most well-known from a German perspective are the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) and Gaia-X. All three projects – EOSC, NFDI and Gaia-X are technically linked. They are all technical infrastructures. But how do they differ?

  • National Research Data Infrastructure

    As well as the European EOSC, there is the NFDI (German) in Germany, which was founded by the German Council for Scientific Information Infrastructures (RfII).

    The NFDI – similarly to the EOSC – deals with the technical infrastructure for research data, but is also concerned with the networking people, i.e. the scientific community, says Tochtermann. The NFDI thereby focusses on individual disciplines such as economics, social sciences, material sciences or chemistry.

    The NFDI directorate, a central coordinating body, brings the individual NFDI initiatives together, so that they interact. This takes places through working groups and applies above all to cross-discipline or discipline-independent topics. Klaus Tochtermann gives the following examples:

    • digital long-term archiving of research data,
    • allocation of unique identifiers for a data set,
    • single login or single sign-in for the research data infrastructure NFDI,
    • interoperability of systems,
    • uniform metadata standards and
    • uniform protocols.
  • Gaia-X

    On the other hand, there is Gaia-X: “Gaia-X is an initiative which aims to offer companies in Germany and Europe a European infrastructure for the management, i.e. storage of their data, for example, because many of them opt for services from America or China”, explains Tochtermann. As well as in its target group (including industry, companies), Gaia-X also differs from the EOSC and the NFDI in relation to the major role that the topic of data sovereignty plays in the project. Klaus Tochtermann summarises this as follows: “Data sovereignty means that when I generate data, I can follow who is using my data for what purposes at any time. And if I don’t want this, then I can also say, ’I don’t want my data to go there.’”

How can you learn more about the EOSC?

The EOSC Portal is an information platform that gives details about the services that will be playing a role at the EOSC at a later date. These include services such as European research data repositories. It’s a good place to start if you want to find out more about the EOSC.

Take part in the development of the EOSC

Anyone who wants to get involved in the EOSC can do so in the Advisory Groups. Six of these have been set up initially, to explore topics such as curricula in the field of research data, FAIR data and metadata standards. There was an open call to participate in these groups, for which around 500 applications were received. Most of them came from France (18 percent) and Germany (17 percent) which shows how much the EOSC has already caught on in both countries, says Tochtermann. A selection from these 500 applications will now be used to fill the six working groups.

On the website of the EOSC Association, you will also find regular “Calls and Grants”, which people can apply for, or job applications https://www.eosc.eu/careers. For up-to-date information, you can subscribe to the monthly newsletter https://www.eosc.eu/newsletter or follow the EOSC Association on Twitter @eoscassociation.

This blogpost is a translation from German.

Related Links

This might also interest you:

  • Episode 12 of the ZBW podcast „The Future is Open Science“ with Prof. Dr Klaus Tochtermann on the European Open Science Cloud (German)
  • The post European Open Science Cloud: small projects, big plans and 1 billion EUR first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

    Open Economics Guide: New Open Science Support for Economics Researchers

    by Birgit Fingerle and Guido Scherp

    Open Science represents the best practice for academic work and is a toolkit for “good scientific practice”. In addition to the general benefits of Open Science for the scholarly system and society, Open Science offers many individual benefits for researchers. Among them are a higher visibility of research work and a greater impact in research and society.

    Nevertheless, many researchers in economics and business studies see hurdles and are discouraged from practicing Open Science: A lack of time and of appropriate support are the main reasons for their hesitation. This was revealed by the 2019/2020 study “Die Bedeutung von Open Science in den Wirtschaftswissenschaften – Ergebnisbericht einer Online-Befragung unter Forschenden der Wirtschaftswissenschaften an deutschen Hochschulen 2019” (“The Importance of Open Science in Economics – Result Report of an Online Survey among Researchers in Economics at German Universities 2019”) conducted by the ZBW. See our blog post Open Economics: Study on Open Science Principles and Practice in Economics reporting the studies main findings. Furthermore, the survey on which the study was based expressed a strong desire for support in the form of online materials, especially with regard to Open Science platforms, tools and applications.

    With the new Open Economics Guide (German), the ZBW aims to address these wishes and to support economics and business studies researchers in implementing open practices.

    Support for open science practice

    The Open Economics Guide addresses the challenges and support needs identified in the study. It is based on the perspective and the needs of economics and business studies researchers. It takes into account, for example, that for them lack of time is the top obstacle to Open Science. This is why the texts of the Guide are concise and clear. Therefore, the Open Economics Guide starts with concrete benefits for researchers, for example by recommending first steps for getting started with Open Science easily and quickly to implement.

    Accordingly, where necessary, the content reflects the specifics of economics and business studies research. The Open Economics Guide is also based on systematically reviewed existing content, which it picks up or refers to and recommends where necessary. Since the range of information, tutorials and tools related to Open Science is constantly growing, the Open Economics Guide offers good orientation for researchers and takes up current developments.

    The ZBW has thus designed the Open Economics Guide as the central entry point specifically for Open Science in economics and business studies, initially for German-speaking countries. In the Open Economics Guide, economists can discover how openness enriches their research and how they can benefit from the advantages of open research.

    Quick start, tool overview and knowledge base

    The Open Economics Guide supports economics and business studies researchers with practical tips, methods and tools to practice Open Science independently and successfully and thus to promote their academic career. To this end, the Guide contains, among other things:

    • easy-to-understand quick-start guides to Open Science topics (currently Open Science, Open Access, Open Data and Open Tools),
    • a comprehensive overview of more than 70 tools (German), subdivided by the phases of the research workflow,
    • a growing knowledge database with currently about 100 entries (German) with extensive background information and practical tips on how to proceed,
    • a clear glossary (German), which answers comprehension questions about the most important terms related to open research at a glance.

    Content under open license and further expansion

    The content of the Open Economics Guide is offered under an open license as far as possible. Thus, it can be reused in other contexts according to the principles of Open Science, for example by other libraries for their researchers.

    The Open Economics Guide will be continuously expanded and extended. For instance, further focal points, such as Open Educational Resources and Open Research Software, will be added. All aspects of Open Science relevant to economics and business studies research will be covered. In doing so, a close communication as well as a close cooperation with researchers of economics and business studies will be strived for, in order to develop new contents also jointly. In addition, the guide will aim at an international target group in the future.

    Visit the Open Economics Guide now

    Featured Image: Mockup created by freepik – www.freepik.com

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