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The European Open Science Cloud for Research Pilot Project.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EOSCpilot (The European Open Science Cloud for Research Pilot Project.)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2019-05-31

Over the last 5 years, many policy makers around the world have articulated a clear and consistent vision of global open science as a driver for accelerating innovation and enabling a new paradigm of data-driven science. In Europe, this vision is being realised through an ambitious programme of research and development under the heading of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). This programme will deliver an Open Data Science Environment that federates existing scientific data infrastructures to offer European science and technology researchers and practitioners seamless access to services for storage, management, analysis and re-use of research data that are today blocked by geographic borders and scientific disciplines. The EOSCpilot project was the first project in this programme. It explored some of the scientific, technical and cultural challenges that need to be addressed in the deployment of the EOSC.

The objectives of EOSCpilot were to:
• Establish the governance framework for the EOSC and contribute to the development of European open science policy and best practice;
• Develop a number of demonstrators functioning as high-profile pilots that integrate services and infrastructures to show interoperability and its benefits in a number of scientific domains; and
• Engage with a broad range of stakeholders, crossing borders and communities, to build the trust and skills required for adoption of an open approach to ‘scientific’ research – where the terms ‘science’ and ‘scientific’ are meant in the broadest sense and cover research in all areas, including the arts, humanities and social sciences.

EOSCpilot built on, and leveraged, existing resources and capabilities from research infrastructure and e-infrastructure organisations to maximise their use across the research community. The project focussed on two areas identified in the Communication on European Cloud Initiative as reasons why European research is not yet fully tapping into the potential of data:
• Reducing fragmentation between data infrastructures by working across scientific and economic domains, countries and governance models; and
• Improving interoperability between data infrastructures by demonstrating how data and resources can be shared even when they are large and complex and in varied formats.

In this way, the EOSCpilot project contributed to enabling researchers to reuse data resources, an important step towards building a dependable open-data research environment where data from publicly funded research is always open and there are clear incentives and rewards for the sharing of data and resources.
EOSCpilot is delivering these objectives by working in the following areas.

Science Demonstrators.
EOSCpilot investigated how the EOSC can help address scientific challenges through some pilot science demonstrators across a range of research domains. Each demonstrator considered some aspect of how EOSC services can enable greater data reuse and drive development of the EOSC. A total of 15 science demonstrators were undertaken, seeking solutions to any known “showstoppers” and investigating how any obstacles in data and infrastructure interoperability can be overcome.

Interoperability and Service Architectures.
The EOSC is seen as a distributed, decentralised System-of-Systems based on components independently provided and managed by different organizations. Some of the technical challenges inherent in establishing this vision were investigated in work on service architecture and interoperability. EOSCpilot developed an architectural framework for tools to work together with open interfaces between them to provide a comprehensive and evolving set of services. This architecture will support an open knowledge production lifecycle where the outputs of the research process can be created, deposited, analysed, published and preserved, and can be discovered, accessed and reused. This will enable the EOSC service portfolio to grow incrementally according to stakeholder defined principles and user needs.

Skills and Community.
EOSCpilot engaged with a broad range of stakeholders to build the consensus required to address some of the cultural challenges inherent in adoption of an open approach to scientific research. Developing the necessary skills and capabilities so that the scientific community can take the best advantage of the EOSC is key to the wider take-up of opportunities for researchers to adopt open science practices. Building upon existing work, EOSCpilot established a skills framework that will help infrastructures, institutions, and other stakeholders to find, access and benefit from relevant skills developments. This will further the development of data stewardship and other related roles required to sustain data science services, such as those exemplified by the Science Demonstrators.

Governance and Policy.
Another cultural challenge is the establishment of a governance mechanism for the EOSC. The oversight of the EOSC needs to be capable of supporting the definition, management and coordination of its many components without imposing a strict hierarchical model or supply chain. Working closely with key stakeholders, EOSCpilot proposed an organisational, operational and managerial framework for governance of the EOSC. Recognising that the System of Systems approach means that the EOSC will evolve and adapt over time, the framework is flexible so that it can align with many existing structures and services at disciplinary, national and international levels. EOSCpilot also contributed to the development of European open science policy and best practice in related areas.
EOSCpilot undertook work in some key areas that are critical to the development of the EOSC. It provided the initial steps towards delivering the EOSC vision of providing new ways to share knowledge to carry out research and to develop and implement public policies. However, EOSCpilot is just a beginning. Many more EOSC projects are following in the INFRAEOSC programme that will run through at least until to the end of the Horizon 2020 framework programme. Together these projects will deliver the EOSC as a rich ecosystem with many stakeholders providing and using a broad collection of services and technologies operating across a wide range of organisational, community and geographic boundaries. In this way the vision articulated in policy statements over the last 5 years will be operationalised over the next 5 years.
Page 1 of information flyeron the EPOS/VERCE science demonstrator.
Front cover of booklet describing the principal findings of the EOSCpilot project.
The FAIR4S Skills and Capability Framework.
Page 1 of information flyeron the Visual Media science demonstrator.
Key outputs of the EOSCpilot project.
Page 1 of information flyeron the Pan Cancer science demonstrator.
Front cover of booklet about the work of the EOSCpilot project, produced November 2017.