The summit was an opportunity to take stock of what has been achieved so far, but also to define and clarify the future EOSC strategy to ensure its effective implementation. Significant progress has been made this year, with the objective of creating a fully functioning EOSC by 2020.
The event was organised by the European Commission together with the High Level Expert Group on the EOSC and the FAIR Data Expert Group, and reunited the signatories of the EOSC declaration of June 2017.
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 their impressions with us:
What remains to be done between now and 2020?
We are very proud to note that, as was shown at the Competitiveness Council in May 2018, the EOSC is fully supported by the EU's 28 Member States and key European research organisations. Nevertheless much more can be done, and now it seems crucial to go further and guarantee the structure's openness and inclusiveness. The EOSC should not only benefit Europe's scientific community but ultimately society as a whole. On 23 November 2018, a first version of the EOSC portal will be launched in Europe and made available to all European scientists. In the future the portal will act as a virtual environment for hosting and processing research data for all disciplines and across Europe.
Thomas Skordas highlights: "Once again, we welcome the strong commitment of all parties involved and especially of the EU research community, who are working hard to establish a new, open and pan-European federation of research data infrastructures. They are the driving force behind the successful implementation of this first phase!"
Widening the EOSC has the potential to open up opportunities and stimulate innovation. It will promote open science practices and open access to data and bring tremendous economic benefits. For instance, according to a study conducted on behalf of the European Data Portal, the EU direct market size of open data will reach 76 billion euros by 2020, leading to the creation of 25,000 jobs. Widening the EOSC could also ensure that the data from the Copernicus earth observation satellites could be opened up and made freely available, to public authorities, scientific and commercial users, and the general public. This could generate up to 30 billion euros and 50,000 new jobs by 2030. Another example is the Human Genome Project which made its data open access. This freely available data was used to make significant advances in many fields, from molecular medicine to the study of human evolution and even energy. To successfully widen the scope of the EOSC catalogue of services and its user base, however, a governance framework that functions effectively is a prerequisite.
Kurt Vandenberghe underlines: "This governance structure needs to be open and to include public funders, key European research infrastructures and stakeholders alike. At the European Commission, we will now work to ensure a good governance structure before the first governance bodies are officially launched on 23 November under the Austrian presidency of the Council of the EU."
And according to Jean-David Malo: "More is coming: the Work Programme 2018-20 of Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme, represents a total investment of EUR 30 Billion, 10% of which is devoting to Open Science! This includes the research infrastructures' Call INFRAEOSC that will support the implementation of the EOSC with an overall budget of EUR 272 million. "
The chosen projects under this INFRAEOSC call will further implement the EOSC plans, but also help identifying remaining issues and obstacles to be resolved by the EOSC's future governance framework.
Finally, additional efforts are needed to incentivize fruitful collaboration between the EOSC and other communities and data service providers to make the most of open science. All of them stand to gain from an innovative and open Europe! We really look forward to what we plan to achieve between now and the end of the year, as the EOSC stands about to become a vibrant reality.
The concept of the EOSC originates in the 2016 Communication “European Cloud Initiative - Building a competitive data and knowledge economy in Europe”.
This Communication was further developed into an implementation roadmap published in March 2018.This document served as a basis for inter-institutional discussions. The Council Conclusions on the roadmap were adopted in May 2018.
The Commission will continue to invest a great deal of effort and financial resources to trigger the EOSC implementation given the central role of Open Science in Horizon Europe, the next research and innovation programme for the 2021-2027 period. The principle of 'open science' will become the modus operandi of Horizon Europe, requiring open access to publications and data. This will assist market uptake and increase the innovation potential of results generated by EU funding.