• Director "Digital Excellence and Science Infrastructure"

    Thomas Skordas

EU ministers responsible for research and innovation met in Brussels on 29 May 2018 at the Competitiveness Council. They adopted conclusions on the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), an open and trusted environment for managing research data. It will be a facility at the service of European researchers that will allow them to make the most of open science.

Pictures of Kurt Vandenberghe, Director for Policy Development and Coordination (DG RTD), Jean-David Malo, Director for Open Innovation and Open Science (DG RTD) and Thomas SKORDAS, Director for Digital Excellence and Science Infrastructure (DG CONNECT)

Kurt Vandenberghe, Director for Policy Development and Coordination, Jean-David Malo, Director for Open Innovation and Open Science in the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD), and Thomas Skordas, Director for Digital Excellence and Science Infrastructure (DG CONNECT) share with you some important highlights of these conclusions.

What can be drawn from the Council conclusions?

These conclusions on the EOSC mark the end of an intense year of engagement with EU countries as well as a long history of investments by the EU and its Member States in research infrastructures, including e-Infrastructures, supporting science all over Europe. We welcome these conclusions as a clear step forward: the EOSC is a game changer for open science in Europe, as we need urgent and concrete actions to make Europe the true open science leader and the best place for innovation.They come as an answer to the roadmap for the implementation of EOSC published in March 2018 by the European Commission. These two documents pave the way for starting to implement the EOSC by the end of this year. We warmly welcome this clear political support from the EU Member States.

The roadmap sets out elements of the possible technical architecture, governance and financing mechanisms of EOSC and we are glad to see some crucial suggestions endorsed by the Council:

  • It is made very clear that the EOSC should be a pan-European federation of current and planned data infrastructures, respecting the governance and funding mechanisms of its individual components. We do not intend to build or impose a cloud that is “made in Brussels”.
  • Membership of this federation would be on a voluntary basis: the EOSC we want should be inclusive and open.  
  • This process of progressive federation needs careful organisation; its governance structure needs to be open, including funders, stakeholders and scientists alike.  To reach this goal, the Commission will consider the option of a three-tier governance structure including governmental policy-makers and key European stakeholder organisations, but also the wider stakeholder community.

Next steps

Much remains to be done to make the EOSC a reality by 2020! The next step will be to set up the EOSC's governance structure on 23 November 2018 in Vienna, under the Austrian presidency of the Council of the EU. On that day the first version of the EOSC portal will also be presented: it will act as the universal entry point to the full range of EOSC services for all users, regardless of their geographical location or academic affiliation.

On 23 November 2018, the European Commission will also present the operating principles of the initiative, which could later become the EOSC Rules of Participation, setting out the rights and obligations of participants in the EOSC (users, data/service providers and infrastructure operators). The Commission will also set out what remains to be done to ensure the interoperability and reusability of research data across borders and disciplines, what we call the FAIR (‘Findability’, ‘Accessibility’, ‘Interoperability’ and ‘Reusability') Data Action Plan.  

Finally, the European Commission is also fully committed to leading by example with its new Horizon Europe funding programme, which will succeed Horizon 2020. In particular, Horizon Europe will seek to align with open access best practices, and we will make sure that research data is managed in accordance with FAIR principles in all relevant projects, and also under the 'as open as possible and as closed as necessary' principle.

Background

The concept of EOSC originates in the 2016 Commission Communication “European Cloud Initiative - Building a competitive data and knowledge economy in Europe”.

The EOSC aims to federate existing and emerging data infrastructures and to provide European researchers with world-class data infrastructures and cloud-based services. The initiative will develop a universal access channel, the EOSC portal, through which all European scientists will be able to access, use and reuse research outputs and data across disciplines.

The portal will make use of and give access to a wide range of shared resources, including a catalogue of services, software, and data, built on the experience and technology of existing projects such as EUDAT, GEANT, European Grid Infrastructure, OpenAIRE and EOSCpilot.

More information

Published: 
30 May 2018
Last update: 
1 June 2018