New era of Czech science. The EOSC initiative is entering a hot phase in the Czech Republic

The international European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) initiative is expanding to the Czech Republic. It will connect existing scientific communities and create a system for storing and sharing data. Moreover, it will facilitate research data access for scientists and scientific organizations. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic (MEYS CR) has just approved funding for the “IPs EOSC-CZ” project in Czechia. It has officially launched its active phase on Monday, 4 September 2023.

Scientists and research organisations require easy and fast access to research data, and the EOSC initiative can help with that. It offers facilities for storing and sharing so-called FAIR research data – data that are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. The MEYS CR has just officially declared its support for this initiative on 4 September 2023. This legal act is an essential milestone for EOSC in the Czech Republic and moves it into the “hot phase” of implementation at the national level. The project EOSC-CZ is coordinated by Masaryk University through the Institute of Computer Science in cooperation with CESNET and VSB – Technical University Ostrava through the IT4Innovations National Supercomputing Centre.

The EOSC-CZ project is a strategic project of the Jan Amos Comenius Programme (P JAC), which is financially supported by the MEYS CR to progress the scientific environment in the Czech Republic. Together with the Czech National Technical Library of Technology’s “IPs CARDS” (Czech Academic and Research Discovery Services) project, which creates a unified environment for managing and searching information resources in the field of science and research, the EOSC-CZ project plays a crucial role in building the basis for better management, sharing, and searching scientific data. In the framework of these projects, specialists will prepare a national metadata directory that will allow scientists to easily find and use the scientific data already produced for their work. The EOSC-CZ project is a vital part of the implementation of EOSC in the Czech Republic and introduces other calls of the Open Science P JAC, where it will contribute, together with other planned projects, to the development of Open Science.

The MEYS CR has allocated a sum of 450 million CZK for the EOSC-CZ project for a six-year period. According to Václav Velčovský, DG for International Affairs, EU, and ESIF of the MEYS CR, the EOSC-CZ is an exceptional project. He says: “It is not only about the transformation of institutions and the purchase of “hardware”, but above all about the change of the whole system of scientific work, which will affect every scientist regardless of the field. The EOSC-CZ project will create a stable foundation for the new paradigm in the context of the Czech Republic, which will be built upon by further interventions.”

The preparation phase for this unique project began already in 2021. At the EOSC Roadshow 2022 in Prague, Brno, and Ostrava, representatives of the project introduced the project itself and the principles of FAIR data to the public in a series of workshops, presentations, and panel discussions. “The principles of open science are still used only sporadically across the Czech scientific communities. The EOSC-CZ project will build the basis for an environment where scientists will start to share and subsequently use their research data efficiently. Increasing the accessibility of scientific data and results represents a huge potential for moving research in the Czech Republic forward by leaps and bounds. For the success of a large-scale initiative like EOSC, it is essential not to underestimate this initial stage,” explains Matej Antol, Project Lead of the EOSC-CZ. The EOSC Roadshow 2022 was followed by the “EOSC-CZ Launch Event: Project Introduction” in April 2023, and in June 2023, the Czech and European scientific community met with representatives of the political scene at the premium “National EOSC Tripartite Event” in Prague.

Since the legal act has just been issued, nothing stands in the way of the EOSC-CZ project. This important legal transformation has opened new opportunities for the initiative, which can now fully develop its activities and provide services to the Czech scientific community.

Source: Press release EOSC-CZ