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Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EOSC-Nordic (EOSC-Nordic)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2021-02-28

The EOSC-Nordic project aims to facilitate the coordination of EOSC relevant initiatives within the Nordic and Baltic countries and exploit synergies to achieve greater harmonisation at policy and service provisioning across these countries in compliance with EOSC agreed standards and practices. The project brings together a strong consortium of 24 complementary partners including e-Infrastructure providers, research performing organisations and expert networks, with national mandates and experience with regards to the provision of research data services and a unique capacity to realise the outcomes of the EOSC design as outlined by the EOSC Implementation Roadmap.

The project facilitates the coordination between the initiatives focusing on policies, service provisioning and research data in light of the anticipated future EOSC requirements.

The Nordic and Baltic countries are well suited for collaboration among each other due to social and cultural similarities, with a unique experience of organising efforts across borders and addressing issues which need to be addressed by EOSC such as governance, resource sharing, coordination and harmonisation of infrastructure policies, cross-border funding, etc.

The fundamental principles and values within EOSC-Nordic are a strong commitment to the common culture of data stewardship and FAIR principles. They also display a firm dedication to develop user driven data infrastructure commons, determined by emerging use cases and needs of the research communities, and providing access to a wide range of publicly funded services supplied at national, regional, and institutional levels.
The EOSC-Nordic publishes deliverables, scientific publications, and relevant outputs to ZENODO. All but administrative deliverables containing legal, financial, or ethical information are made available under the CC-BY 4.0 (Attribution 4.0 International) license. The resources are published under the disclaimer ‘Draft not yet approved by the European Commission’ at the time of formal submission.

The Knowledge Hub is a collection of all useful resources and information, incl. reusable material, overview of the Nordic available EOSC services, guide and support to the EOSC Portal, etc.

EOSC-Nordic has built a joint vision, and trust and reliability on each other as fellow colleagues across institutions and countries.

The project office (PO) focuses on the budget and continuously matching an adjusted balance according to performing and underperforming partners. The PO serves as secretariat for the Project Management Board, Executive Board, General Assembly and the International Advisory Committee, thus ensuring a good interlink between the respective consortium bodies, and to the other regional EOSC implementation projects. The Wiki, hosted by NeIC, is operated by the PO.

Highlights are two successful policy workshops gathering together approximately 200 participants (funders, policy makers and other stakeholders) to discuss open science policies, EOSC development and EOSC-Nordic's input to the related discussions. WP2 has also actively given input to open science and EOSC related discussions in the form of reports and other documents, and discussed the findings with stakeholders.

With a focus on the service providers, the present EOSC service compliance situations and the EOSC service on-boarding and integration process, a cornerstone so far is the following two results, and also the fundamentals for the next phase of a federated service interoperability set-up:
1. Design of a maturity model for assessing Research Infrastructure services for EOSC.
2. Creation of interoperability guidelines document for service providers.

The FAIR assessment of 98 data repositories in the Nordic and Baltic region has proved to be a unique undertaking. It shows that, although data repositories often claim to be FAIR, it turns out very few are. Using our assessment methodology for measuring FAIR uptake, we measure an average FAIR score to be 24%. The evolution of this FAIR uptake estimate is being tracked throughout the project. Additionally, the series of FAIRification events has turned out to be quite well attended, presenting concrete advice on how to address common issues in making data FAIR.

EOSC-Nordic demonstrates the present Nordic and EOSC compliant infrastructure solutions within different research communities across the Nordic region. Four highlights so far are:
1. Work on data management and job submission with Galaxy for climate has been noticed by EOSC-Life which are interested in the work and we have formed a ‘collaboration’ with them centered around the Galaxy portal.
2. Work on uploading metadata into B2Find, prompted a rethink of the process from B2Find developers and maintainers to make things easier to use.
3. Feedback from EOSC-Nordic, on the RDA machine-actionable DMP schema has been provided and successfully taken up.
4. The EOSC-Nordic cross-border work has provoked interest from the Noridc EuroHPC, alias Lumi consortium through the NeIC Puhuri project to understand how to facilitate cross-border computing through portals.

Raising awareness of EOSC-Nordic by creating the communication strategy, channels, and activities for different stakeholders has been a priority.
A beta version of the Knowledge Hub was established ahead of time to work on competence building and knowledge sharing among stakeholders and relevant professional environments.
The communication activities were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, particularly in terms of in-person events, which have been replaced by online events and webinars.
EOSC-Nordic contributes to important areas, mainly through the activities of its demonstrators by widening the user base of the thematic services operating in the areas of biodiversity, Human Language Technology, climate science and precision cardiology.

The work done with regards to sensitive data is particularly noteworthy as the proposed innovative solution addresses important issues with direct impact on the societies in the Nordic and possibly beyond. Globally, the leading cause of years of life lost is coronary artery disease (CAD) and about 750.000 patients in the Nordic countries are diagnosed with CAD. Research in the Nordic countries has contributed significantly to our comprehensive knowledge about the multitude of risk factors for development of CAD and for progression of existing CAD. The majority of these risk factors are “automatically” registered in various systems in Nordic health care systems. However, an advanced systems medicine and medical informatics platform is needed to integrate these data for “bed-side”, i.e. clinical use.

The EOSC-Nordic project contributes to a ‘Proof of Concept’ element feeding into the designing of a secure eHealth Cloud, i.e. an Analysis and Data Cloud Infrastructure. A secure eHealth Cloud, leveraging EOSC resources, will ensure that clinicians and researchers have easy and secure access to working with large amounts of health data seamlessly under uniform conditions across the countries. The platform will work as a framework for an adequate computational decision support system, based on machine learning techniques and other advanced data mining tools, to identify clinical, biological, epidemiological and genetic factors affecting the CAD manifestations and therefore improving and personalising the treatment.