Policy article (Policy and strategic alignment activities)


State of play: Policy and strategic alignment in EOSC Future

EOSC Future and open science

The EOSC Future project is developing an operational platform for the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) that will provide access to integrated research products, services, and infrastructures by consolidating and scaling up the existing EOSC Portal. In turn, EOSC will be a key enabler of open science, allowing researchers and research communities to openly and collaboratively share and exploit resources to conduct their research. Ultimately, the EOSC platform will support not only research within disciplines but also interdisciplinary research to address societal challenges such as COVID-19, climate change and biodiversity, and more.

The following article presents the policy and strategy approach for the project, along with the concrete steps being taken to advance policy priorities for open science. Please note that the deliverables linked to these concrete steps and project milestones will be publicly available in May 2022 on the project’s website.

Policy and strategy in EOSC Future

To begin, it is worth enumerating EOSC Future’s high-level objectives, which are codified in the project’s official technical roadmap.  EOSC Future’s overarching strategic vision focuses on 3 core tenets: (1) the realisation of EOSC-Core and EOSC-Exchange to create an EOSC platform with interoperable products and services; (2) the integration of products and services from already established scientific cluster communities into the EOSC platform; and (3) the direct involvement of users (researchers and service providers) in the co-design and implementation of the EOSC platform.

It is also important to note that project activities build on other previous EU initiatives linked to EOSC (such as EOSC-hub and EOSC Enhance), not to mention key outputs from the EOSC Executive Board and Working Groups.

Now that we have an idea of the strategic and policy vision, we can examine key project activities, how they will contribute to the realisation of EOSC and, more broadly, the open science policy landscape.

Realisation of a Minimal Viable EOSC

Four components, together, will provide the structural foundation for an operational Minimal Viable EOSC; that is, the core functions required to operate the platform and bring added value to researchers:

  • EOSC-Core: A set of internal services that allows EOSC to operate and includes a technical platform to facilitate EOSC operations and non-technical coordination services to support the platform.
  • EOSC-Exchange: A set of disciplinary and horizontal/cross-disciplinary services that make EOSC a rich environment where researchers can easily find and access resources to perform high-impact research.
  • EOSC Interoperability Framework: The overarching standards and guidelines connecting and supporting the interoperability and composability of available resources in the EOSC-Core and EOSC-Exchange.
  • EOSC Support Services: Human-centric activities (including monitoring, training, and engagement) which support the operation of the EOSC platform and make EOSC attractive and easy to use.

EOSC Future will onboard initial resources from the INFRAEOSC-04-2018 projects and INFRAEOSC-07-2020 projects. The procurement call for EOSC in Q3 of 2022 will further support the delivery of the EOSC platform.

Alignment with key stakeholders

EOSC Future is not only building on the outputs of past EOSC projects and initiatives but also aligning with the policies and strategies of key stakeholders in the EOSC ecosystem to deliver a co-designed EOSC platform:

  • EOSC Partnership: Organisation members of the EOSC Association, EU Member State and Associated Country representatives of the EOSC Steering Board, and the European Commission

EOSC Future will provide recommendations for the development of the work programmes for EOSC and the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA).

EOSC Future will sign agreements to define the collaboration with the INFRAEOSC-07-2020 projects (EU-funded projects set up to help realise EOSC).

EOSC Future will work closely with the Fenix Infrastructure and PRACE initiatives for EuroHPC.

This co-design approach also involves a focus on the users, themselves: consumers (e.g. researchers, research communities, citizen scientists, and companies); providers (e.g. e-infrastructures, research infrastructures, and the private sector); and facilitators (e.g. research funders, policy makers, and administrators). The EOSC Future User Group, which consists of over 300 stakeholder representatives, will promote the active participation and feedback of the broader EOSC community.

The EOSC Observatory

Lastly, EOSC Future is developing the EOSC Observatory, which will serve as a policy intelligence tool for the EOSC community to monitor the implementation and uptake of EOSC at national and organisational levels.

The observatory will collect and display data from key EOSC stakeholders via an interactive online dashboard. Featured data will cover:

  • EOSC readiness at country level: Data from Member States and Associated Countries in the EOSC Steering Board to monitor activities and contributions to implement EOSC at the national level
  • indicators for EOSC: Data from members of the EOSC Association to monitor the progress of the EOSC Association in implementing activities defined by the indicators for the EOSC Partnership
  • contributions to EOSC: Data from members of the EOSC Association to monitor the financial and in-kind contributi0ns of the EOSC Association in the implementation of the EOSC Partnership
  • policies relevant for EOSC: Relevant policies related to EOSC at national and organisational levels.

The EOSC Observatory will collect data via annual surveys which will, collectively, track the annual progress of the implementation EOSC across Europe.

Looking ahead

In light of the above, a sound policy and strategy foundation is a prerequisite to ensure that the EOSC environment is aligned and responsive to the needs of various research communities. Looking ahead, the project will publish a series of strategic documents, reinforced by the above-mentioned activities, which can attest to the project’s commitment to furthering open science in Europe and beyond.

03 March 2022