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The problem

New modes of scientific analysis and scholarly communication need a safe and user-friendly environment to analyse data and other research outputs such as scientific articles and monographs. For example, 'machine actionability' (the ability to find and read texts and data through the use of computers) is needed. Besides a physical infrastructure, data scientists and other experts are needed to further develop the use of this infrastructure and to enrich, analyse and handle the massive data inputs.

The solution

  • Align practices in Europe and beyond, and work towards a sustainable federated European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) that aims to accelerate and support the current transition to more effective open science and open innovation in a Digital Single Market. It should enable trusted access to services and systems and promote the reuse of shared data across disciplinary, social and geographical borders.
  • Encourage the development of e-infrastructures as a service, by making sure that the various ICT components are aligned and provide a joint service. This should be done by building on the success of existing systems, while reducing current fragmentation through the creation of an ecosystem of infrastructures. 
  • Put in place an open infrastructure supporting open access to publications based on work in progress to secure proper governance, technical interoperability, financial sustainability and exit strategies. 

Concrete actions

  • European Commission and national authorities: explain that a European Open Science cloud will be an infrastructure service for society as a whole, and set up effective and inclusive governance.
  • European Commission and national authorities: set up concerted funding initiatives to develop data expertise in Europe. Assess what is needed in the infrastructure landscape (hardware, computing, storage, software, services, governance, etc.).
  • National authorities, research funders, Research Performing Organisations and e-infra organisations: set up and manage local and national e-infrastructures and facilitate researchers in the selection and use of services. Explicitly address the issue of financial viability and user-friendliness of the services.
  • National authorities, research funders, Research Performing Organisations, e-infra organisations and publishers: support work in progress and further develop Principles for Open Scholarly Infrastructures to set up concerted mechanisms and fund initiatives to maintain a register of key open access services that address sustainability, governance, usage and interoperability. Publish the recommendations on funding and risks in a workshop in order to derive a generic approach for such services in general.
  • National authorities, research funders, Research Performing Organisations and e-infra organisations: set up rules of engagement for all contributors (users, e-infrastructure providers, funders etc.) in the European Open Science Cloud. For e-infrastructure service providers this includes certification schemes. 
  • European Commission: via the structure of the European Open Science Policy platform, set up a task force to agree on a business model, including a transition plan towards that model, for the European Open Science Cloud. Align with other existing working groups that are examining business models for cloud services. Set up pilots to test proposed models. 

Expected positive effects

  • Ability to make full use of data-driven research, including by computers;
  • An efficient infrastructure to capture the big data challenge;
  • A huge acceleration in the reuse of scientific data, with significant positive effects on science and the economy;
  • Academics and professionals can start to take Open Access infrastructures as a starting point and focus on increasing open access to publications.