French National OpenAIRE Workshop: the new era of OpenAIRE

About: On Friday 2nd July 2021, the French NOAD organized a half-day event to present to the French scientific community the advancements of the OpenAIRE organization as well as inform about its core Open Science services. Invited speakers contributed with presentations and discussions with the audience. Moreover, the workshop highlighted how services are used in practice by other projects or initiatives who shared their experiences and ongoing work. The workshop, also, provided a clear view abo...

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Embedding Amnesia, OpenAIRE’s free and open-source software, in COVID-19 research workflows to enable secure processing and sharing of sensitive data

Background: Since the beginning of the pandemic, 'ΑΤΗΕΝΑ' Research Center has been active in communicating best practices and achievements from the national and European R&I ecosystems to the Greek academic and research communities. To maximize the impact of this effort for the benefit of researchers and health practitioners, the OpenAIRE Greek NOAD has been collaborating with national stakeholders and initiatives from different domains (e.g. SSH, Bioinformatics, Computer Science, Public Management) to both support diverse research endeavors and offer opportunities for discussion about strengths and weaknesses observed in the followed approaches.

Practical workshops: In continuation of the COVID-19 series, more practical workshops are foreseen to enhance community understanding of the use of available tools as well as to build capacity on specific aspects in the COVID-19 research data lifecycle.

The workshop that was held in June 2021 ran together with the OpenAIRE NOAD in Cyprus and concentrated on the processing of data that carry sensitive and personal information taking as a use case real data from medical records of a hospital in the United Kingdom. Moreover, OpenAIRE's anonymization tool "Amnesia" was demonstrated as a tool that can be embedded in COVID-19 research workflows to enable personal identifiers' removal with guarantees.

Presentation and demo: Guest speaker and trainer for the needs of the workshop was Manolis Terrovitis, who is the creator of the Amnesia tool. Manolis started with a presentation to set the basis of the legal framework pertaining to sensitive information (GDPR) and Open Access restrictions in Europe. The presentation went on to communicate data security and privacy methods, including encryption, and highlighted the two most commonly used anonymization techniques stating that they are usually misused by researchers:

  • Anonymization that transforms personal data into exploitable non-personal data so they can be re-used or exposed or given to third parties without limitations, e.g. GDPR. The anonymization process offers guaranties that original data cannot be retrieved,
  • Pseudo-anonymization that removes direct identifiers while retaining secondary information. The pseudo-anonymized data are partially protected, but they remain personal data and can lead to the recognition of a person when reverse engineering is applied.

In order to comply with Open Access principles, the preferred method is anonymization with guarantees, such as those characterizing k- and km- anonymity techniques.

Amnesia is a free and open-source software that can be downloaded and installed locally in all operating systems (Windows, Linux, etc). 

It is a unique tool for implementing anonymization to set-valued data. Despite its complexity and the different algorithms that it runs, its interface is simple and user-friendly.


The way Amnesia works is as follows:

  1. Researchers import their data in tabular formats (e.g. .csv, .xls)
  2. Researchers select from or create the generalization hierarchies, which are compiled following rules for generalizing values in a semi-automatic way. Hierarchies can be saved and re-used or they may also be imported from other sources.
  3. Researchers choose the most suitable method for their situation (e.g., k-anonymity or km-anonymity) and link the hierarchies with the respective attributes of the records.
  4. From the results of the data generalization, researchers can choose the solution(s) that fits their needs.
  5. The anonymized data can be saved locally or directly deposited to Zenodo!

Hands-on and discussion: During the workshop, Manolis answered all the questions posed by the participants and had one-on-one break out sessions with those who needed more assistance. The discussions mainly focused on understanding the proper use of Amnesia in the different contexts and domains represented by participants and how anonymization is integrated in third party systems. Clarifications and tips included specific steps of the anonymization process in Amnesia, like the rounding of continuous variables where Manolis suggested selecting the largest range in the data to achieve the major accuracy.

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Amnesia Seminar: anonymization of data with guarantees

 In June 30th, an Amnesia open to all seminar was organised, where participants could experience and learn how anonymization of data is performed with it. Organisers  'Athena' Research Center, as part of the activities of the OpenAIRE NOAD in Greece, supported and launched this informative and educational online seminar, in support of research activities relevant to the coronavirus disease. This seminar run in collaboration with the OpenAIRE NOAD in Cyprus.  Short description The ...

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Tools for legal issues in Research Data Management

Background: In the framework of the NI4OS-Europe project, ATHENA Research and Innovation Center (ATHENA) developed tools that respond to emerging Open and FAIR Research Data Management (RDM) demands of researchers and provide a first set of clarity for EOSC resource providers' compliance with the Rules of Participation (RoP). NI4OS-Europe is the European project that supports the development and inclusion of National Open Science Cloud Initiatives (NOSCIs) in 15 south-east european member states...

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Cypriot NI4OS-Europe event and OpenAIRE contribution

About: On April 23, 2021 the University of Cyprus Library organized an Open Science event to update on the latest developments of European Research and Innovation actions, mainly focusing around the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) developments. The event welcomed 65 participants spanning from academics, researchers to policy makers, funders, librarians and Open Science enthusiasts. Agenda: The Cypriot Open Science event was organized in the context of the National Initiatives for Open Science...

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European Commission introduces the Open Research Europe platform to the Greek and Cypriot scientific communities

Focus: In April, the Greek and Cypriot OpenAIRE NOADs, in collaboration also with the Scholarly Communication Unit of HEAL-Link, organized an event to inform their scientific communities and individual researchers about the newly launched European platform for open access publications, namely the Open Research Europe (ORE). The event welcomed Victoria Tsoukala, Policy Officer-Seconded National Expert- Open Access-Science Cloud - European Commission (EC), who presented key features of ORE as well...

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OpenAIRE and EOSC in national settings: the Greek and Cypriot paradigms

About: In the framework of established collaboration between OpenAIRE NOADs in Greece and Cyprus, and in support of the NI4OS-Europe project where they both contribute, a webinar was organized to update the Greek and Cypriot scientific community about news from the evolving European Research and Innovation (R&I) area. In brief: Data intensive scientific demands and emerging technologies that are progressively embedded in scientific practices, such as artificial intelligence, significantly af...

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Open Science course for CHIST-ERA researchers

Background: Towards the end of 2020, CHIST-ERA organized a set of training events for its researchers network in light of their newly adopted Open Science policy. The courses were prepared and run in partnership with OpenAIRE that has been advising CHIST-ERA on Open Access and Research Data Management (RDM) issues to develop and implement policies and services (CHIST-ERA Open Science Advisory Board). CHIST-ERA is a pan european consortium of national funders supporting research on Information an...

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How Greek academic libraries support scholarly communication

In focus: The Greek academic library community was recently enhanced with an Open Science service supported by HEAL-Link. The newly established "Scholarly Communication Unit" aims to provide librarians with information about Open Access (OA) and scholarly communication, such as best practices on research data, scholarly metrics and peer review. It is also assigned to represent the consortium in international partnerships and projects. The Scholarly Communication Unit operates in the University o...

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COVID-19: Greek collaborations on infrastructures and Galaxy installation for data analysis to detect mutations

The focus: Athena Research Center (ARC) continues the series of informative and educational workshops related to important practices, tools and contact points for COVID-19 research in Greece. In December, a joint workshop on Galaxy, the infrastructure for biological data analysis was organised with the Biomedical Sciences Research Center "Alexander Fleming" and the Institute of Applied Biosciences of the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas. The workshop informed about the Greek Node of the...

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COVID-19: Open Science and Innovation in the Greek research area

Driver: The need to collect all efforts and knowledge in managing the coronavirus crisis and widely promote it to the Greek academic and research community was identified at the very beginning of the pandemic, back in April. As a response, Athena Research & Innovation Center (Athena RC) initiated a series of informative and educational online workshops to support research performed around COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2. Furthermore, Athena RC developed a dedicated website that serves as an extensib...

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Kicking off the fourth series of OpenAIRE webinars in Greece during Open Access Week

Context: The National Open Access Desk in Greece participated in the activities of the Open Access Week 2020 by organising a webinar on research data management. The webinar was equally supported by the Library and Information Center (LIC) of the University of Patras. Presentations and discussions focused on the latest developments on research data services and tools in Greece. The webinar marked the beginning of the new series of informative and practical OpenAIRE webinars in Greece.

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DMPs for Research Communities: Argos for ARIADNEplus

Context: A collaboration between OpenAIRE and ARIADNEplus started in April. The occasion was mutual interest to explore each other's Data Management Planning (DMP) products capabilities and exchange know-how that would complement current work and accelerate new advancements.

The products: Products involved in that effort are Argos, OpenAIRE's machine-actionable data management planning tool, and ARIADNEplus DMP template for archaeological research.

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3rd webinar series in Greek: season finale with Intellectual Property Rights

The focus: Research has different interpretations by stakeholders. Most tend to focus mainly on the research output and neglect in-between processes leading to it. This webinar of the OpenAIRE National Open Access Desks in Greece and Cyprus perceived research as a process and analysed the implementation of intellectual property practices in all the steps of a research lifecycle. In his presentation, invited speaker Prodromos Tsiavos, legal adviser at Athena Research Center and an expert on Open ...

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Exploring new synergies for Digital Skills: Introducing OpenAIRE/EOSC to the Greek National Digital Skills & Jobs Coalition

Background: Digital and Open Science skills are key into EOSC's operations and future, and the upskilling of researchers and research support staff is therefore essential for its success. A culture change for sharing research outcomes, policy awareness, and compliance and knowledge of ICT is needed to empower individuals and institutions to develop and maintain EOSC competences science and capabilities. Why are synergies important: Digital skills are needed everywhere, not just in EOSC. In parti...

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OpenAIRE for repository managers: interoperability, metadata enrichment and usage statistics in Greece and Cyprus

The webinar: The National Open Access Desks in Greece and Cyprus, in collaboration with NI4OS-Europe project, organised a webinar entitled "Interoperability in EOSC: OpenAIRE Guidelines for repositories". NI4OS-Europe supports onboarding of national infrastructures and services of Southeast European countries, including the Balkans, to the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and uses OpenAIRE to assist repositories in complying with OpenAIRE Guidelines and to increase information exchange be...

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LIVE NOW: A joint proposal of Greek Research and Technology organizations for a National Strategy for Open Science

The biggest research and technology organizations in Greece collaborated to co-design a proposal for a National Open Science Plan. The proposed Plan forms a comprehensive set of goals, policies, commitments and actions for the adoption of Open Science in Greece and the inclusive national participation in the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). This joint proposal aspires to become a point of reference for the rapid adoption of the Open Science Task Force proposals a...

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An interactive webinar about the Open Research Gateway for ELIXIR-GR Infrastructure

Background: Following a successful cooperation between the OpenAIRE Greek NOAD and the ELIXIR-GR Node, a webinar was organised to present the ELIXIR-GR Open Research Gateway both to the ELIXIR-GR research community and to Health Science librarians. The Research Gateways are part of the OpenAIRE Connect service and serve as portals that collect and distribute in one single entry point all research artefacts produced by a given discipline/community, including various services and tools. Agend...

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COVID-19: Supporting research collaboration and data sharing in Greece

The occasion: In February 2020, the pandemic crisis of Coronavirus Disease 2019, COVID-19, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome virus 2, SARS-CoV-2, affected Greece. The Greek Government immediately responded to the public health emergency by taking strong measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country, such as an early lockdown, followed by intensive efforts to ease the new reality in everyday life of Greek citizens through the gradual transition to an e-society, marked by...

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Third series of OpenAIRE webinars in greek launched with a “train the trainer” webinar

The new series: The National Open Access Desks for Greece and Cyprus are back with yet another series of informative and training webinars in the greek language! In 2020, webinars focus on Open Science advocacy, use of Research Data Management (RDM) services, understanding GDPR from the perspective of researchers, writing Data Management Plans and identifying areas to collaborate with each other. Hence, target groups for the webinars are librarians, repository managers, researchers and european ...

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