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Revolutionising future research with the European Open Science Cloud

Research without borders: a recently unveiled virtual portal may help scientists to store, share and use data irrespective of scientific discipline or geographical location.

© alphaspirit, Shutterstock

Europe boasts 1.7 million researchers and 70 million science and technology professionals, and is one of the world’s largest producers of scientific data. However, until now, fragmented and inadequate infrastructure has prevented the wealth of knowledge available in Europe from being fully exploited. To address this shortcoming, the European Commission has promoted the creation of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). The idea of the EOSC took shape in 2015 as a way to develop science and innovation across Europe and beyond. EOSC-hub is one of the EU-funded projects working on ways to support and facilitate this process. The EOSC was recently unveiled at the University of Vienna. Through this virtual environment, data will be stored, shared and reused across borders by researchers of various disciplines. “Science should have no borders,” stated Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation in a news item posted on the ‘Phys.org’ website. By supporting and linking existing research infrastructure from different research communities and countries, the portal fosters the open production and dissemination of knowledge throughout Europe. It embodies the EU’s vision of transparent, data-driven science that has the potential to boost competitiveness and innovation in the EU. “The cloud represents open science at its best,” he said. About the EOSC portal The EOSC portal provides general information about the EOSC, funding opportunities and policy developments in open science and research. It also offers related news and reports on forthcoming and past events. A page titled ‘Use Cases’ provides examples of EOSC in practice that show how its services and resources can support researchers and innovators in their daily work. Information is also provided on the particular services and resources that have been divided into eight categories: sharing and discovery; processing and analysis; data management; compute; storage; networking; training and support; and security and operations. The EOSC services and resources can be accessed via the EOSC marketplace. A major advantage of the EOSC is speed. As a virtual one-stop shop, it can drastically reduce the time needed to access data and has the potential to revolutionise the way scientists conduct their research. Having taken two years to create, the portal now needs scientists to contribute to its further development. As reported in the same news item, EU Director-General for Research and Innovation Jean-Eric Paquet noted that the portal “is a work in progress, and so scientific communities need to help us get it right.” He added that they have “a very good framework, which is called a FAIR framework (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable), about what type of data we want in the cloud.” EOSC-hub (Integrating and managing services for the European Open Science Cloud) is focusing on the integration and management system of the EOSC. The system, referred to as the Hub, is the single contact point through which scientific discovery and collaborations are promoted. The EOSC will be fully launched in 2020. For more information, please see: EOSC-hub project website

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