European Open Science Cloud
11 October 2016 – first report from the High Level Expert Group
The Commission has published today the first report of the Commission High Level Expert Group on the European Open Science Cloud (HLEG EOSC).
The Report recommends to close discussions about the ‘perceived need’ of a science cloud and to take immediate action on the EOSC in close concert with Member States, building on existing capacity and expertise. They also recommend writing clear Rules of Engagement for access to the EOSC and for the provision of services based on research data (e.g. TDM, data analytics, etc.). But the implications of the report reach further in several aspects of Open Science policy more broadly. They recommend framing the EOSC as the EU contribution to a future, global Internet of FAIR Data and Services underpinned by open protocols. They recommend to set-up and fund a concerted effort to develop core data expertise in Europe. They estimate that half a million 'core data scientists' are needed to make the most of open research data in Europe. Finally, they recommend changing radically the funding model for research data, from traditional and rigid funding schemes of the past - e.g. small and unaccounted part of a time-limited and space-bound grants to an overall co-funded national / EC funding scheme. They estimate that on average about 5% of total research expenditure should be spent on properly managing and 'stewarding' data in an integrated fashion.
The Recommendations of the HLEG EOSC provide a solid starting point for further reflection and engagement of scientific user communities, research funders and Member States in the making of the initiative.
Enquiries can be made directly to members of the HLEG EOSC (see inside cover of the report), and/or to the Commission at RTD-EOSC@ec.europa.eu.
19 April 2016 – European Open Science Cloud
Giving a major boost to Open Science in Europe, the Commission today presented its blueprint for cloud-based services and world-class data infrastructure to ensure science, business and public services reap benefits of big data revolution.
By bolstering and interconnecting existing research infrastructure, the Commission plans to create a new European Open Science Cloud that will offer Europe's 1.7 million researchers and 70 million science and technology professionals a virtual environment to store, share and re-use their data across disciplines and borders. This will be underpinned by the European Data Infrastructure, deploying the high-bandwidth networks, large scale storage facilities and super-computer capacity necessary to effectively access and process large datasets stored in the cloud.
- Read the Press Release here
- Read the Communication: European Cloud Initiative - Building a competitive data and knowledge economy in Europe
With the adoption of the Digital Single Markets strategy on 6 May 2015, the Commission announced the launch of a cloud for research data – the ‘research open science cloud'. The 'European Open Science Cloud' aims to create a trusted environment for hosting and processing research data to support EU science in its global leading role.
Commissioner Moedas first flagged the initiative at the ERA of Innovation Conference, in June 2015. In a joint blog post, Commissioners Oettinger and Moedas further explained that the initiative 'will combine existing and future data infrastructures, offering secure and seamless access to European researchers for storing, managing and processing data from different sources'.
In his a speech at the Franco-German Conference on Digital (27 October 2015) President Juncker supported a 'nuage européen pour la recherche consacrée à la science ouverte … Notre ambition est de doter l'Europe de capacités techniques puissantes en termes d'infrastructures, de procès, d'analyse et de stockage des données. Seules les données qui seront traitées de façon performante et sûre créeront de la richesse pour notre société'.
The Commission appointed a High Level Expert Group on the European Open Science Cloud to advise on the scientific services to be provided on the cloud and on its governance structure.
The initiative reinforces Open Science, Open Innovation and Open to the world policies. It will foster best practices of global data findability and accessibility (FAIR data), help researchers get their data skills recognised and rewarded (careers, altmetrics); help address issues of access and copyright (IPR) and data subject privacy; allow easier replicability of results and limit data wastage e.g. of clinical trial data (research integrity); contribute to clarification of the funding model for data generation and preservation, reducing rent-seeking and priming the market for innovative research services e.g. advanced TDM (new business models).
>> Policy context of the EOSC
The European Council and Member States welcomed the initiative in the Conclusions on 'Open, data-intensive and networked research as a driver for faster and wider innovation', adopted at the Competitiveness Council of 28-29 May 2015. Among various conclusions supporting the building blocks of the EOSC, they contain clear indication of support:
6a. RECOGNISES the importance of long term sustainability of database infrastructure and availability of secure, reliable and high-quality cloud-based services, and UNDERLINES the importance of being able to store and process in Europe research data produced in the Member States; in this context WELCOMES the further development of a European Open Science Cloud that will enable sharing and re-use of research data across disciplines and borders, taking into account relevant legal, security and privacy aspects;
The European Parliament also called on the Commission to move ahead with the initiative. The Parliament adopted a REPORT on 'Towards a Digital Single Market Act', in the plenary vote of 19 January 2016. In point 124, the Committee deals directly and positively with the European Open Science Cloud:
Is concerned that cloud infrastructures for researchers and universities are fragmented; calls on the Commission, in cooperation with all relevant stakeholders, to set up an action plan to lead to the establishment of the European Open Science Cloud by the end of 2016, which should seamlessly integrate existing networks, data and high-performance computing systems and e-infrastructure services across scientific fields, within a framework of shared policies, standards and investments; believes that it should serve as a stimulus to the development of clouds beyond science, to better interconnected innovation centres, start-up ecosystems, and improved cooperation between universities and industry in commercialising technology, in compliance with relevant confidentiality rules, and to facilitating international coordination and cooperation in this field;
Indeed, the initiative is part of Europe’s ambition to support the transition to Open Science in the context of the Digital Single Market; it aims to meet an urgent and specific need of the scientific community to boost data access and re-use and to reduce the cost of data storage and high-performance analysis by pooling existing capacity and by aggregating demand (initially by researchers in the public sector).
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