Why Friday, the 23rd of November, is an important date for Open Science

What changes after the launch of the European Open Science Cloud and how this impacts our team

By Panagiotis Zervas, Head of Project Managment Agroknow Team

Why is this event so important?

On Friday the 23rd the first version of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) Portal will be demonstrated and its functionalities will be explained. Once up and running, the EOSC will offer Europe’s 1.7 million researchers and 70 million science and technology professionals a platform to store, share and reuse their data across disciplines and borders.

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

What changes after that?

After the event, and with the first version of the EOSC portal up and running, it is expected that the EOSC vision, as it has been set out by the European Commission, will take shape. The EOSC is envisioned by the European Commission as a supporting landscape to foster open science and open innovation: a network of organisations and infrastructures from various countries and communities that supports the open creation and dissemination of knowledge and scientific data.

The creation of EOSC is expected to remove tech, policy and human barriers, leading to knowledge creation and economic prosperity in Europe.

What will this event reveal & what major points should you look out for?

Several aspects will be revealed after the event and the launch of the EOSC Portal. More specifically, I think that a fruitful dialogue will start on how collaborative research is being conducted not only between researchers of the same domains but also between researchers from different domains (i.e. interdisciplinary research). This will eventually lead to discussions on how generic and horizontal services can be instantiated and used across communities and across domains towards supporting collaborative research.

How has Agroknow contributed to this?

7 years ago, when the FP7 agINFRA project started, it was hoped that agri-food communities would be introduced to the vision of open and participatory data-intensive science. More specifically, the FP7 agINFRA project designed and developed an e-infrastructure for sharing data among agricultural and food scientists. We could, therefore, claim that the FP7 agINFRA project contributed to a paradigm shift from isolated research to collaborative research, where research and experimentation are carried out and shared via common or connected repositories for publications and data.

How have things changed over time? What have we learned as a team?

We have learned that the invaluable paradigm shift to e-infrastructures will naturally serve as the base ground for the full transition to a shared and collaborative research space. However, there are several aspects that must be considered in order to provide solutions that magnify the benefits, which are the following:

- Resource optimization: the process of identifying and setting up a computational environment for a given task is not trivial and requires specific expertise, not readily available to all researchers and organizations.

- Semantic interoperability: A critical aspect of the evolution of e-infrastructures is the ensuring of interoperability between data collections and services. This requires — on the one hand — the use of consistent and standardized formats for describing data, assets and services and — on the other hand — the detailed mapping between descriptions, schemas and formalizations.

- Seamless service integration: The plethora of relevant services carrying out similar operations should be made opaquely available to the users of such e-infrastructures

- Rapid integration of future services: To ensure the long-term sustainability of an e-infrastructure, it is important to foresee the emergence of new services and workflows that should be incorporated into the ecosystem. It is therefore critical to automate the creation of interfacing mechanisms for service integration.

Lessons learnt over the past years are being considered within the H2020 AGINFRA+ project and we are very proud for the progress made so far. More specifically, the AGINFRA+ project focuses on the integration and harmonisation of multiple data assets (publications, datasets, models, etc.) under a standardised, semantically rich, framework that will allow the discovery and reuse of assets and results from researchers within a community, researchers of adjacent communities and, to an extent, citizen scientists. Towards this approach, AGINFRA+ evolves and enriches resources and services available as open-source software and/or results of previously successful EU-funded projects and initiatives. AGINFRA+ aims to become the ideal cloud-based environment for performing collaborative research for agri-food researchers.

What do we want now, after the EOSC portal launch event?

The EOSC Portal is jointly developed and maintained by the eInfraCentral, EOSC-hub, EOSCpilot, and OpenAIRE-Advance projects funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, with the contribution of the European Commission. In the EOSC Portal, AGINFRA+ services will be accessible, powered through the eInfraCentral Catalogue. This way our services will be available to a greater number of agri-food research communities.