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European Open Science Cloud

The European Open Science Cloud is a dot on the horizon. | Ingrid Dillo

In this section you can read more about the background of the European Open Science Cloud. What exactly does Europe want to build?

Building the European Open Science Cloud 

In recent decades, Europe has invested heavily in setting up data infrastructures (RISCAPE. n.d.). The next phase in this development will be the challenge of connecting the 'data silos' that have resulted from this. And that is precisely the ambition of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC portal. n.d.). EOSC is not a new data infrastructure. There will not be hanging a new cloud over Europe. Rather, the EOSC is a blueprint that sketches a picture of a future in which the current data infrastructures and services talk to each other in a FAIR manner, in which it is easier to find research data, in which data are exchanged - across disciplinary boundaries - and in which European researchers and innovators find innovative solutions to societal challenges.

Many players are involved and needed to realise the ambitions of the EOSC. For example, a Social Sciences and Humanities Open Cloud will be created for the social sciences and humanities (SSHOC, n.d.) that will be part of the EOSC cloud cover. The intention is that interested parties will be able to benefit from linked datasets, tools and training via the SSHOC.

In the video below (Open Science MOOC Youtube Channel, 2019) - which is part of the Open Science MOOC (Tennant, 2019) - Jean-Claude Burgelman tells us about the backgrounds of the EOSC and he explains how the development of the EOSC contributes to the realisation of FAIR data.

The ambitions and current practice

There is a discussion on how far the ambitions of the EOSC should reach (de Knecht, 2018 (Dutch)). According to some, integrating all existing services and data is simply impossible and perhaps not even desirable. There is also still work to be done to engage the researchers themselves (Cardol, 2018 (Dutch)).     

On the one hand, the EOSC will be accessible via a central entry point where European researchers can go to share, discover, use and reuse research data, tools and services. The EOSC MarketPlace (n.d.), a kind of catalogue of connected data infrastructures and services, gives a taste of this. On the other hand, the EOSC will probably also be accessible from the already known data infrastructures. After all, when everything is linked together, the point of entry is no longer of importance. You can enter everywhere. 
In order to bring the EOSC to the attention of researchers, it is useful to follow their habits. And researchers don't start from scratch either. They are already in the process of archiving their data and are using the tools and Virtual Research Environments that currently work for them. By offering them access to a wider range of data at the interface of different scientific disciplines through their familiar entrance, the added value of the EOSC can also become visible to them.

The community use cases on the site of EOSC (EOSC Portal, 2022) clearly show that there are benefits to be reaped from linking up existing infrastructures and services. For example, a virtual laboratory called 'Alien and Invasive Species' was set up to investigate the emergence of puffer fish in the Mediterranean by connecting heterogeneous services from different European infrastructures. (SeaDataNet (n.d.), D4Science (n.d.), EGI (n.d.) and Copernicus (n.d.)). In the video below you can see how this was done and what conclusions the researchers drew.

Research data will not become nor stay FAIR by magic. We need skilled people, transparent processes, interoperable technologies and collaboration to build, operate and maintain research data infrastructures. | Kleemola, 2018

In the spotlight

On the way to the realisation of the EOSC, interventions are needed at various levels (European Commission, 2018).). Two examples are given below: 

GO FAIR connects FAIR technology, culture change and training

GO FAIR (n.d.a.) is a consortium that is committed to the coherent development of the so-called 'Internet of FAIR Data & Services'. (GO FAIR, n.d.b.) which also includes EOSC. The mantra of GO FAIR is: 

'Only require minimum protocols and standards and support a wide range of implementation possibilities for research data, tools and computing power'. 

The activities of the GO FAIR implementation networks are organised in three broad pillars;

    Focus on FAIR technology;
    Focus on priorities, policies and incentives for implementing FAIR;
    Focus on FAIR awareness and training for skills development.

Towards FAIR certification of data archives

FAIRsFAIR (n.d.a.) - Fostering Fair Data Practices in Europe - is a project that ran from 2019-2022 and aims to find practical solutions to implement the FAIR data principles throughout the life cycle of research data. The project is therefore in line with the recommendations of the report 'Turning FAIR into reality' (European Commission, 2018). 

The emphasis of FAIRsFAIR is on the promotion of a FAIR data culture and the use of good practices in the creation of FAIR research data. In addition, FAIRsFAIR plays a key role in the development of global standards for FAIR certification of data archives. Existing data archives are also given a helping hand in obtaining a CoreTrustSeal quality seal and in increasing the FAIRness of their repository (FAIRsFAIR, n.d.b.).   


Click to open/close

Cardol, T. (2018, September 24). European Open Science Cloud moet ook door wetenschappers worden gedragen. [ScienceGuide].

Copernicus (n.d.).

D4Science. (n.d.). 


EGI (n.d.).

European Commission (2018). Turning FAIR into reality.

EOSC portal (n.d.). About EOSC.

EOSC Portal (2018.). The pufferfish invasion in the Mediterranean Sea - demonstrator.

EOSC Marketplace (n.d.). 

FAIRsFAIR (n.d.a.).

FAIRsFAIR (n.d.b.). FAIRsFAIR Open Call for Data Repositories.

GOFAIR (n.d.a.).

GOFAIR (n.d.b.).  

Kleemola, M. (2018, November 29th). Being trustworthy and FAIR requires people, processes, technologies and collaboration

Knecht, S. de (2018, November 1). Is de European Open Science Cloud ‘too big to fail’ [ScienceGuide].

LIBER (2018, November 1). LIBER at The European Open Science Cloud: Austria takes initiative [blog].

Open Science MOOC YouTube Channel (2019, July 11) An introduction to the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), Jean-Claude Burgelman [Video].

RISCAPE (n.d.). We are mapping the research infrastructure landscape.

SeaDataNet (n.d.)

Tennant. J. et al. (2019) .Open Science MOOC. 

ZonMW (n.d.). Onderzoek voor en met volksgezondheid en zorg. Onderzoeksdatainfrastructuur.