The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) initiative is the tangible outcome of a number of key European and global policy milestones and position statements regarding Open Science. The EOSC is an integral part of, and supports, the European Commission’s strategy for realising the European Research Area (ERA), in particular the policy priorities of Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World and the goal of findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR) data.
The EOSC will essentially involve the federation of existing research data infrastructures and the realisation of a Web of FAIR Data and Related Services for Science, making research data interoperable and machine actionable following the FAIR guiding principles. This web of data will allow researchers to find, exploit and combine linked datasets, providing a basis for artificial intelligence (AI) tools, leading to new discoveries and research paradigms.
The EOSC will initially focus on traditional research data but will also include research publications and research code. The EOSC will encourage FAIR datasets to be made fully open, and will follow the principle of ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’.
The initial phase of the EOSC
In an initial phase of development from 2016 to 2020, the European Commission (EC) made a financial investment of approximately €350 million to begin building the foundations of the EOSC through project calls in Work Programmes in Horizon 2020. This investment was targeted to develop a new pan- European access mechanism to public e-infrastructures, to coordinate related national activities, to connect European research infrastructures (RIs) to the EOSC, to set up and begin the implementation of the FAIR guiding principles, and to start a FAIR-compliant certification scheme for research data infrastructures. These projects have involved the community of stakeholders of the EOSC and have been steadily developing the broader the EOSC ecosystem.
To direct the strategic implementation of the EOSC, the EC published an implementation roadmap in 2018 detailing six main action lines to realise an architecture, data, services, access and interfaces, rules and governance for the EOSC. This roadmap not only served the first implementation phase of the EOSC in 2018–2020 under Horizon 2020, but also prepared for the second implementation phase of the EOSC under the new funding programme of Horizon Europe for 2021–2027.
With the aim of bringing the community together and ensuring a smooth transition from the first to the second implementation phase of the EOSC, a three-tiered transition governance structure was established to run from 2019–2020. The transition governance bodies founded a new legal entity called the EOSC Association which has as members all relevant stakeholders in the EOSC ecosystem and will enter into a contractual agreement with the European Commission to direct the Partnership under Horizon Europe.
The EOSC Partnership
The EOSC Partnership brings together all relevant stakeholders to co-design and deploy a European Research Data Commons where data are findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR). An open and inclusive European Partnership will help ensure directionality (common vision and objectives) and additionality (complementary commitments and contributions at all levels). It will help provide a framework to reach consensus amongst those committed to achieving results.
The EOSC Partnership aims to expand on the planned Minimum Viable EOSC (MVE) to create a growing ecosystem, bringing together relevant European initiatives around the FAIR data economy, fostering collaboration among those initiatives towards the objective of open research, attracting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups to use and benefit from the federated services and data sources, and raising awareness in society about the benefits of FAIR-data-driven innovation. The Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) strategically defines the roadmap for implementing and further developing the EOSC with the wider stakeholder community.
The EOSC Partnership will develop and implement the EOSC through financial, in-kind and policy commitments from three tiers of stakeholders in the EOSC community:
- Tier 1 is the contribution from the European Commission;
- Tier 2 is the contribution from the Member States and national funders;
- Tier 3 is the contribution from research-performing organisations, service-providing organisations, funding organisations and other EOSC- relevant organisations through the membership in the Association.
The Finnish contribution
Finland has been closely involved in the various stages of EOSC development by contributing to:
- several EOSC-related projects (e.g. EOSC Pilot; EOSC-hub; EOSC Nordic; EOSCsecretariat.eu; EOSC-Life, etc.). The most notable actor in Finland has been CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd. but also many universities and researchers have actively participated;
- the EOSC interim governance 2018–2020:
- The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture & Academy of Finland were members of the EOSC Governing Board;
- Aalto University, CSC – IT Center for Science; the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies (TSV), Tampere University Library; University of Helsinki, University of Jyväskylä had representatives actively engaged in the EOSC Working Groups
the EOSC Association: In December 2020, CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd. joined the EOSC Association as a member.
- the EOSC establishment and coordination at national level: In January 2021, Finland's Ministry for Education and Culture (OKM), Academy of Finland (AKA), the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies (TSV) and CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd. launched the country's forum for the European Open Science Cloud: the EOSC Finnish Forum (the EOSC-FF).
Interested in being involved in the EOSC? Read more how to get involved in the EOSC.
- EOSC SRIA & other relevant documents
- EOSC Strategic Implementation Plan (06/2019)
- Implementation Roadmap for the European Open Science Cloud (03/2018)
- EOSC Declaration (06/2017)
- European Parliament resolution of 16 February 2017 on the European Cloud Initiative (02/2017)
- European Cloud Initiative -Building a competitive data and knowledge economy in Europe (04/2016)
- Council Conclusions on the Transition towards an Open Science System (05/2016)