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H2020

EUDAT2020 Report Summary

Project ID: 654065
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.4.1.3.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EUDAT2020 (EUDAT2020)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

EUDAT’s vision is to enable European researchers and practitioners from any research discipline to preserve, find, access, and process data in a trusted environment, as part of a Collaborative Data Infrastructure (CDI).

Although research communities from different disciplines have different ambitions and approaches – particularly with respect to data organization and content – they also share many basic service requirements. This commonality makes it possible for EUDAT to establish common data services, designed to support multiple research communities, as the foundation of the CDI as envisaged by the High Level Expert Group on Scientific Data in its 2010 report Riding the Wave.

EUDAT2020 brings together a unique consortium of e-infrastructure providers, research infrastructure operators, specialist application/solution providers and researchers from a wide range of scientific disciplines under several of the main ESFRI themes, working together to realise this CDI.

The increasing volume and complexity of data in many disciplines, as well as the drive to develop cross-disciplinary data services calls for greater collaboration between all stakeholders, as well as for a clarification of roles and responsibilities, in particular between research infrastructures and e-infrastructures. One of the main ambitions of EUDAT is to bridge the gap between research infrastructures and e-infrastructures through an active interaction and engagement strategy, and innovative partnerships. Progress is not only about developing technical solutions, but also about defining the right organisational and business model required to ensure a sustainable uptake. The model must necessarily take into account existing arrangements within national governments and pan-European research communities. This is a challenge that no-one has yet addressed at the pan-European scale; EUDAT2020 intends to do this.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In 2011, the Collaborative Data Infrastructure emerged as a new concept and was presented as “the vision for the future”. Five years later, it has become a concrete entity offering a range of solutions for sharing, preserving, accessing and performing computations with research data, through the EUDAT B2 suite of services. https://eudat.eu/services-support

EUDAT2020 partners with major research communities, coming from all fields of science, which have joined the consortium as a full partner or are associated through the 24 data pilots selected via the open call for collaboration launched in 2015. These research communities bring with them specific requirements and knowledge regarding the development of the CDI and its services, and a concrete wish to pilot and take up these services within their own research infrastructure.

Another important strand of activity in EUDAT2020 has focused on the operation of the collaborative data infrastructure, in particular the provision of secure, reliable (generic) services in a production environment, with interfaces for cross-site and cross-community operation. One of the major achievements during the first 18 months of the project has been the establishement of the Service Management Framework (SMF) which describes the FitSM Processes in terms of service management procedures, roles and tools within the EUDAT CDI. In order to foster interoperability between the CDI and other existing e-Infrastructures, EUDAT2020 has pursued a multi-fold strategy by establishing strong collaboration agreements with PRACE, EGI, OpenAIRE and GEANT separately, and by supporting cross-infrastructure collaborations involving several infrastructures. As for the persistency of the infrastructure and its services, a major achievement was realised with the establishment of the EUDAT Collaborative Data Infrastructure Agreement which was signed on 27th September 2016 by an first wave of 16 organisations for an initial period of 10 years. The EUDAT CDI Agreement formalises the roles and responsibilities of the parties constituting the CDI, and sets up a new, open governance framework and a Secretariat providing the administrative and financial functions to sustain the collaboration beyond the current project cycle.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

In terms of technical and research impact, EUDAT2020 has made progress beyond the state of the art in several areas, in particular with regards to federating data services (providing users with a homogeneous interface to heterogeneous resources, through the development of an HTTP API), data preservation (via the “Data Policy Manager” (DPM) allowing data managers to define, develop, and adjust new and existing policies in a parameterised way), and Authentication and authorization (with the B2access AAI service).

Through the 30+ use cases EUDAT2020 current under pilots (https://eudat.eu/use-cases), EUDAT2020 is offering a unique platform for research communities and disciplines from across the spectrum to share data and cross-fertilize ideas, thereby encouraging innovation and integration of new knowledge from and within research communities, as well as the vision of open and participatory data-intensive science. One of the prime motivations for the CDI is to create a single domain of registered, well-described, cross-disciplinary data, connecting collections and data centres across Europe and harmonizing access to them – harmonizing access not just in the technical sense but also in the policy sense. All nodes joining the CDI are strongly encouraged to adopt open access policies towards their collection. Ultimately, this will result in wider access to research data coming from a variety of sources. Wider availability of data is a prerequisite for better, faster research and innovation.

The benefits of the CDI collaborative framework also include the more efficient use of IT equipment and investment through the creation of a horizontal layer of generic services shared across research infrastructures, instead of having multiple solutions designed in silos. By providing generic services to existing scientific communities, the CDI enables these communities to focus a greater part of their IT effort and investment on services that are discipline-specific, while relying on a robust underlying generic infrastructure thus helping the community keep pace with the accelerated generation of data. Shared use of the CDI will also give smaller communities access to more sophisticated services that otherwise might be unaffordable. By providing access to sophisticated services for individual researchers, smaller communities, and projects lacking of tailored data management solutions, the CDI reduces the need for large-scale capital investment in infrastructure development.

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