European „Open Science Cloud“ and research infrastructures ESFRI – how do they „tango“?

EOSC is a giant effort to provide a huge service infrastructure combining distributed data repositories from all publicly funded research in Europe. The ambition is to link the electronic resources of research institutions and university libraries and make them accessible through a single portal. It certainly ranks as one of the most ambitious projects in European science policy today. ESFRI will play one of the major roles in this process.

EOSC future and related project has been introduced during the „ESFRI Workshop on RIs and EOSC, held in Royal Geographical Society in London on 30th of January 2019.

Over the time we have been supporting RIs in preparing data management plans in order to be able to provide researchers with best services.” said ESFRI chair Jan Hrusak in his opening speech“.

The final product could look something like the world’s largest online retailer Amazon“ says one of the conference speaker.  Customers can have a selection from many different suppliers and finally hardly notice who the suppliers are.

EOSC, announced in April 2016 is supposed to start in 2020. The rate of new scientific data being generated is exploding and no two research facilities have a common approach for managing this. The aim is that scientists will be a few clicks away from access to the vast stores of data from any lab or any scientific discipline in Europe – basically, scientist will have a vast collection of resources on tap. The European Commission is putting €600 million into the early stages of the multi-billion euro project which requires united coordinated effort on all levels and associated financing of EU member states.

Lots of public labs now run cloud services for researchers, either in house or through private sector cloud providers. EOSC should coordinate these data infrastructures and simplify the data management.

Project like EOSC is apparently a bigger challenge for Europe, with its vast, disparate and multilingual research efforts with data being stored in different formats, languages and on various technology levels. “It’s like on the dancefloor, where you have one professional dancer and one new dancer trying to perform together” says one the keynote speakers in the conference final summary.