Austrian EOSC Mandated Organisation officially founded
"This is another important step for Austria and shows how advanced we are in the discussion about Open Science", says Stefan Hanslik, BMBWF, one of the driving forces behind the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). Austria has been involved in the process since the beginning. The commitment to the principles of EOSC was laid down in Vienna, during the Austrian EU Presidency, in the "Vienna Declaration on the European Open Science Cloud". The Austrian EOSC Mandated Organisation, founded on 13th October 2021, is now the next milestone.
One of the great minds behind the EOSC, Jean-Claude Burgelman, also pointed out in his statement at the first General Assembly that although there is already a lot of paper, there is actually still a lot to be done operationally. And that more can be achieved together with partners, especially since the societal demands have greatly expanded since the first idea of making EU research data public, in order to create a “Schengen area for research data” in Europe.
In addition to the TU Wien, the pioneers in Austria were the University of Vienna, the Graz University of Technology, the Natural History Museum Vienna, the JKU Linz and the Climate Change Centre Austria, which are already members of the EOSC Association.
Each institution brings its specific infrastructures or skills. In addition to research, teaching and the associated infrastructures, universities will make an important contribution to the training of a new generation of scientists and technicians, data scientists, data curators or data stewards. “With their infrastructures and services, universities make an important contribution to the exchange with culture, the economy and society. EOSC offers a framework that can be shaped in a coherent, ambitious and prudent manner,” emphasises Ronald Maier, Vice Rector of the University of Vienna.
EOSC as “Web of FAIR Data and Services”
EOSC is conceived as a “Web of FAIR Data and Related Services for Science”. This is intended to highlight the interconnectedness of people, services and content. The term “Web of FAIR Data” is applied in its broadest sense, not just to data, but also to code, publications and other digital outputs. Services and stakeholders need to be identifiable and well-described, with open metadata and persistent identifiers (PIDs) to allow cross-linking.
The FAIR principles with their focus on machine-actionability have great relevance for the EOSC. While access to new data will play a role in the future, EOSC will in a first rollout stage be a federation of existing thematic data repositories and services, interfaced with existing data-sharing frameworks. To be adopted by the data providers and research communities, it should fit with their needs: resources should be able to interface with the EOSC with minimal effort, and the data and functionalities already available should remain.
The European Open Science Cloud was officially launched by the European Commission in Vienna in November 2018 under the Austrian EU Presidency. The Vienna Declaration on the European Open Science Cloud is one of the cornerstones of the joint Austrian EOSC Mandated Organisation/EOSC Support Office Austria initiative.
The participation of further Austrian institutions in the EOSC initiative is desired.
The EOSC Association is the legal entity established to govern the EOSC. It was formed on 29th July 2020 with four founding members and has since grown to over 200 Members and Observers. The third General Assembly of the EOSC Association takes place on 10th December 2021.