Focus on EOSC Practices in the Latest SND Network Meeting

Published: 2020-05-18


The SND digital network meeting on 18 May had the European research infrastructure EOSC (European Open Science Cloud) in focus. The meeting, under the heading “EOSC – what is it and how are they doing?”, offered information and discussions about the development of the infrastructure in Sweden as well as in Europe.

The EOSC research infrastructure is a complex and ambitious initiative proposed by the European Commission in 2016. The long-term objective of the project is to create a global platform which will make all types of research data accessible to researchers and other stakeholders on a global scale. The platform will also collect services and tools for data storage, training, management, and analysis. In order to realise these objectives, EOSC builds on existing and future infrastructures, which will be coordinated and consolidated within the EOSC framework.

—To a large degree, Sweden is already implementing EOSC. Everyone involved with open science and open data is working with EOSC, said Hanifeh Khayyeri from the Swedish Research Council during the network meeting.

Hanifeh Khayyeri is the Swedish delegate on the EOSC Governance Board. In her presentation, she explained the organisational setting of EOSC today and the plans for how to expand a future EOSC.

—The European Commission has proposed that EOSC shall become a partnership, a so-called “co-programmed partnership”. It is by far the fastest way to establish a collaboration and opens to a high degree of flexibility. It also means that there are low barriers to participating, which takes into consideration that stakeholders have reached different levels of progression. You can join EOSC when you feel ready to do so.

Some insight into the practical work in EOSC-Nordic

There are also some regional development projects under the EOSC umbrella. One such project is EOSC-Nordic, which aims to coordinate resources in the Nordic and Baltic countries in order to achieve greater harmonisation at service and policy provisioning. The EOSC Nordic project has 24 organisations from ten countries, under the leadership of NeIC. Swedish partners are SND, GGBC, SNIC, and SUNET.

Andreas Jaunsen from NeIC provided an example of the practical work in EOSC-Nordic. He is the leader of a work package group which will help repositories in the Nordic-Baltic region become compliant with the guidelines in the FAIR data principles. The work is structured in tasks, and to begin they have aimed to get an overview of how the region’s data repositories comply with FAIR, says Andreas Jaunsen.

—We have studied more than 100 digital repositories in the Nordic countries, covering all sorts of research areas. Then we have assessed how well they comply with the FAIR criteria. The intention is to present the repositories with the results, and then offer recommendations and support for the repositories which didn’t pass the tests. We will also be monitoring their development throughout the duration of the project, and hopefully help them to become more FAIR.

Another task on the work group involves incentives and obstacles to making data FAIR. Monica Lassi, IT Architect in LUNARC and SND Steering Committee delegate, works on these questions.

—We know that researchers are concerned that they will have to spend a lot of time on making their data FAIR. So we need to ask ourselves: What incentives do they have to do it anyway? Part of it is to look at the practices. How do the researchers go about it today? What works, what doesn’t work? And how do the practices tie in with policies and strategies, which may come from the universities and funders? But it’s also a matter of developing incentives so that we can help researchers in the direction that EOSC is intended to go, she says.

Latest news from SND and the network

The meeting concluded with a brief update on the latest developments in SND and the network. Max Petzold, SND Director, talked about for instance the reviews that are under way with the network members.

—An interesting observation is that research data policies are being developed in most of the HEIs and authorities in the SND network. This is a challenge to really seize this opportunity and use the possibility to support one another in the process. 

Other news were the plans in SND to start an IT forum for the network members, and the coming launch of the new documentation system DORIS.