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Enabling interoperability across resources and services is essential for building a European Open Science Cloud that is federated and fit for purpose. In turn, interoperability guidelines are necessary to facilitate the cross-discipline collaboration of researchers, providers and research communities.

What is the Interoperability Framework?

The EOSC Future Project is working on the EOSC-IF to support interoperability of the various elements of EOSC. This interoperability and composability is twofold: internal to EOSC-Core in order to make it operational and to allow communication between components inside the Core, and external to the EOSC-Core to faciliate EOSC providers in: (i) onboarding resources in the EOSC-Exchange (EOSC resource catalogue) and (ii) integrating resources with the EOSC-Core added-value services (such as Order Management, Execution Framework, Monitoring, Accounting, Helpdesk). 

The EOSC IF recognises that research infrastructures have been working on interoperability within and across their infrastructures for many years. Interoperability guidelines are being created with the goal to help Resource Providers to integrate within research infrastructures and with the EOSC-Core (where the EOSC-Core components are also interoperable). The EOSC-IF builds upon this existing foundation, creating an overarching framework that encompasses EOSC-Core and the interfaces necessary to accommodate links to community interoperability frameworks. 

Interoperability for EOSC-Core and EOSC-Exchange

The EOSC-IF is designed to comprise Interoperability Guidelines that cater both for the EOSC-Core and the EOSC-Exchange. This would faciliate the process of allowing EOSC Exchange services to interoperate with the EOSC-Core, but also to capture guidelines and technical capabilities for interoperation amongst EOSC-Exchange services and resources. Communities will be entitled to publish information describing how they interoperate as a community, and how other communities can interoperate with them.

What is meant by interoperation?

This is a complex subject, where interoperability might mean "metadata" to one group of stakeholders, but might mean the "exposure of a particular format or API" to another group. Therefore, simply pointing out to standards or software used in the creation of services is not sufficient for a Provider to understand how to design a service to interoperate with others, or for a user to understand whether it can create a workflow or output using compatible components or data relating to multiple services or sources. Exposing information to Providers and users, will help them to understand more about necessary prerequisites or technical boundaries when utilising a service or resource in a wider context.

What can a user expect to see in the EOSC-IF?

The EOSC-IF will be built upon a wide range of components, such as standards, APIs, policy frameworks, etc, just to name a few, starting with human-readable interoperability guidelines, leading in future iterations to a more executable, machine-readable set of components that would help to support composable or executable workflows.

The EOSC-IF will initially comprise a method for Providers to flag compliance of a service or resource to a specified interoperability guideline, and the first iteration of the EOSC-IF will focus on EOSC-Core Interoperability Guidelines, that is, to provide human-readable technical information to Providers that would like to integrate their services and/or resources with (or be interoperable with) one or more EOSC-Core Services ( such as EOSC Federated AAI, Monitoring, Accounting, Helpdesk, Metrics, service and resource registries, Provider Portal, Marketplace, PIDS for services and the Knowledge Base registry).

How will the EOSC-IF be governed?

The first key step taken to realise the EOSC-IF was to implement a model for the EOSC Interoperability Framework governance, which is described in D3.2 and was the subject of public consultation in March 2022. The model is designed to oversee the process of proposing, accepting, publishing and promoting EOSC Interoperability Guidelines.

The feedback received from the consultation was published on the 08/11/2022 here.  

You can find out more about the chartered governance here.