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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In the crystal ball: report from the Swedish webinar on the future of Open Science in Europe

"It is great being able to participate without travelling, but it's tiresome to sit in a webinar meeting for half a day." Our participants were mostly happy with the program offered, but had some objections and some ideas for making it better next time. We had 171 registered participants, mostly from university libraries in Sweden, but also other research stakeholders both in Sweden and the Nordic countries. We had four presentations and a group discussion at the end. Liber's President, Jeannett...

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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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Research Data Management: OpenAIRE National Workshop in Poland (2nd part)

he second part of the OpenAIRE National Open Access Workshop took place in Poland on November 25, 2020. The aim of the event was to discuss themes around institutional support for research data management. After the welcoming words from Jakub Szprot who is responsible for managing the work of the Open Science Platform at Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling (ICM UW), Natalia Gruenpeter presented the activities of the OpenAIRE National Open Access Desk and Wojciec...

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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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Open Science Days in Serbia (III)

The third edition of the Open Science Days, a biannual event presenting new developments in all areas of Open Science (OS) in Serbia, was organized by the OpenAIRE NOAD in Serbia on 5–6 November 2020. The event was organized in a virtual environment (Zoom sessions and live streaming on YouTube). It focused on local developments and all presentations were in Serbian. Several colleagues from the region also attended. During the first day of the Open Science Days, the audience could hear about rece...

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Workshops on Research Data Management gained high interest among different stakeholders in Latvia

The International Open Access week workshop Taming the Research Data wisely: a short introduction of how-to-do" organized by the National Open Access Desk – Latvia, University of Latvia and Library of the University of Latvia, gained high interest among the scientific community members of Latvia. The workshops on Research Data Management (RDM) held on October 19th, 2020 in Riga (Latvia) proved the hot topic indeed is important yet not enough explained since the nuances are quite many. The event took place at the Research Centre of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Latvia and online with the informative support of the Latvian Council of Science, Latvian Academy of Sciences, and Association of Latvian Young Scientists.

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What the future holds for OpenAIRE? German National Workshop at Open Access Tage

Virtual environment, perfect organization: On September 15th, Germany, as an OpenAIRE partner, teamed up with the organizers of the Open Access Tage 2020 at Bielefeld University for the national workshop on OpenAIRE initiatives and the EOSC. Due to the pandemic, the Open Access Tage 2020 was transferred to the digital world under the perfect organization of the team from Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences and Bielefeld University Library. Speakers at the event were Ilaria Fava and Najko Ja...

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Institutional Open Access Policies: OpenAIRE National Workshop in Poland

Over 90 participants attended the OpenAIRE National Open Access Workshop that took place in Poland on June 8, 2020. The workshop was devoted to the implementation of open access policies and served as an initial point for further cooperation between open access representatives appointed in institutions that have adopted or are preparing to adopt such policies. The event was organized by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling (ICM UW) which runs the Open Science...

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Building bridges across Open Science in the UK: The RDA UK/OpenAIRE Advance Joint Workshop

Originally published on JISC Scholarly Communications. On the 6th of May, the Research Data Alliance (RDA) UK node and OpenAIRE Advance offered a joint workshop focusing on our efforts with open access/open science initiatives and the underlying importance of research data. This was the 3rd workshop that the RDA UK has offered and the final workshop for the UK's national open access desk, or NOAD, as part of the project, which concludes at the end of this year. Speakers included Christ...

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Open Science Workshop, Ljubljana, 23 January 2020

The workshop was organized by the Commission for Research and Development Work of the University of Ljubljana and the Slovenian OpenAIRE-Advance National Open Access Desk. The programme, presentations and videos are available at the Open Science Archived Events webpage. The workshop opened with an overview of open science and presentations of the latest activities on (super)computing in Slovenia. Then a representative of the FAIRsFAIR project presented FAIR assessment of research data, and a rep...

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Greek OpenAIRE NOADs contribution to the development of institutional Open Science policies in Greece

The tradition: The annual Panhellenic Conference of Academic Libraries is one of the most important events for the Greek Academic libraries. Librarians, members of the academic community and suppliers are given the opportunity to broaden their knowledge, to communicate with other colleagues, to syndicate and exchange views and experiences and to be informed about new developments and trends in the Academic Librariesʼ products and services. PALC 2019: The Library & Information Center of the U...

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On the way towards Open Science: first Israeli national workshop

On the 19th of November, 2019, the first Israeli OpenAIRE National Workshop –titled: On the Way Towards Open Science: "Set Science Free" took place in Bar Ilan university (BIU). The event was organized by the Iseraeli OpenAIRE NOAD Dr. Simcha Meir along with the libraries and information system department of BIU. With around 180 attendees, mainly librarians and researchers from all universities, and also a large number of colleges, representatives from various funding organizations: the Planning...

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Focus on Open Science - National workshop in Denmark

On a grey dull Thursday in November, the Danish NOADs in OpenAIRE put Open Science on the agenda. The Danish ministry of Higher Education and Science had kindly offered to house the event. Our aim was to have Research support staff, Researchers and Library staff meet and learn more about Open Science, its practical issues, advantages and challenges. More than 40 people had accepted the invitation. Denmark has an Open Access strategy, that aims for 100 % green Open Access to publications by 2025....

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Sustainable Open Science and Equity in Open Knowledge in Turkey: The 7th National Open Science Conference and OpenAIRE Advance Workshop

The 7th National Open Science Conference (AB2019) and OpenAIRE Advance Workshop which aims to raise awareness of open access, open science, open data, and OpenAIRE services; to support open science policy, strategy, legislation, infrastructure, and services in Turkey being compatible with European Union (EU); to share information about the activities carried out and planned by the Council of Higher Education (CoHE) and The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK); and to...

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OpenAIRE National Event in Estonia

The University of Tartu Library organized an annual OpenAIRE National Event in Tartu on the 6th of November. Focus of the seminar was on the future of Open Access. Various initiatives which contribute to the future of Open Access were included like Plan S, new Open Access publishing, Estonian route to Open Science policy and ORCID. Over 80 people attended the event.  Keynote speaker of the event was Jeroen Bosman who is a Research Librarian of the Utrecht University Library and Open Access ...

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