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Open Science in Europe

... as a means for improving the quality of research for transparency and reproducibility, and their use by the industry and society as a growth mechanism.

The European Research Area (ERA) is a unified research area open to the world, in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely. 

Through ERA, the Union and its Member States will strengthen their scientific and technological bases, their competitiveness and their capacity to collectively address grand challenges. 

The new ERA Policy Agenda: 20 ERA actions for 2022-2024

1. Enable Open Science, including through the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC)

2. Propose an EU copyright and data legislative framework for research

3. Reform  the Assessment System for research, researchers and institutions

4. Promote attractive research careers, talent circulation and mobility

5. Promote gender equality and foster inclusiveness

6. Protect academic freedom in Europe

7. Upgrade EU guidance for a better knowledge valorisation

8. Strengthen research infrastructures

9. Promote international cooperation

10. Make EU research and innovation missions and partnerships key contributors to the ERA

11. An ERA for green transformation

12. Accelerate the green/digital transition of Europe’s key industrial ecosystems

13. Empower Higher Education Institutions

14. Bring Science closer to citizens

15. Build-up research and innovation ecosystems to improve excellence and competitiveness

16. Improve EU-wide access to excellence

17. Enhance public research institutions’ strategic capacity

18. Support the development of EU countries’ national processes for the ERA implementation

19. Establish an ERA monitoring system

20. Support research and innovation investments and reforms

In addition to ERA there are two key European priorities where sharing data, publishing in the open and principles of open science play a role: Europe's digital and green transition manifested via two initiatives of Europe fit for the digital age and the European Green Deal.

In particular, the Europe fit for the digital age has already put in motion a set of actions on: the regulation of data governance to faciliate data sharing across Member States and sectors, the single market for data to define the rules of sharing related to access, reuse, privacy, protection, competition, the European data act to set up rules on who can use and access what data for which purposes across all economic sectors in the EU.
We have singled out the following initiatives which put the context around Open Science in Europe. Spedific policies and mandates aim to put these initiatives in practice.

European Open Science Cloud

The web of FAIR data and related services

The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) is grounded in the EC’s aim to promote the access and reuse of research data which comes out of publicly funded research. At present, there is fragmented access to research data, which exists, stored and is created in many different data centres, institutions and research centres across Europe. Open access to this data is not a given, and the content is not interoperable, restricting inter-disciplinary research. 

EOSC will solve this problem by providing easy access to this data, making publicly funded data open. It will provide one single point of free access, ensuring all databases are interoperable.  The push therefore for a recognition of the benefits of Open Science - policies and infrastructures - is key. 

How is EOSC Governed?
EOSC is one of the EU partnerships and is governed by 3 bodies (tripartite): the EOSC Association, the Member States & Associate Members Steering Board, the European Commission. These bodies are responsible for
  • shaping the strategy Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) through a broad stakeholder engagement
  • defining the general framework for future research, development and innovation activities trhough a Multi-Annual Roadmap (MAR)
  • implementing and aligning actions through Horizon Europe and MS/AC funding programmes
  • overviewing and monitoring the progress and adjusting to emerging needs
How is EOSC being implemented?

EOSC consists of two parts: the EOSC Core and the EOSC Exchange. The EOSC Core implements the underlying components to make the connections work (EOSC Interoperability Framework, AAI, Catalogue & Marketplace for common data and service provisioning, accounting and monitoring, PID system, helpdesk), while the EOSC Exchange is the place where  data and services are shared via established access protocols.

Resources for more information: EOSC Portal, EOSC Architecture

How is EOSC being funded?

EOSC is a co-programme partnership, and as such, the EC and MS/AC are jointly putting resources towards its implementation based on the SRIA and MAR. On the EC side this takes place through the Horizon Europe programme Research Infrastructures pillar and on the MS/AC side through national funding that mirrors EC's actions, with investments matching national priorities.

How is OpenAIRE involved: Read here.

Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment

Reshaping the research assessment in Europe
Recognising that Open and Digital Science require new ideas for assessment of research, researchers and research organisations that take into consideraton the diverse outputs, practices and activities that maximise the quality and impact of research, the European Commission has launched in January 2022 an initiative to engage stakeholders to explore ways on how Europe can transition towards more equitable and inclusive resarch assesement processes.
350+ organisations from 40+ countries have expressed interest in being involved in the process. A core group of 20 research organisations, representing the diversity of the research community across Europe, contributed to the drafting of a common vision expresed in  the Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment. EU Member States and Associated Countries have been consulted on the agreement in the framework of the ERA Forum and the European Research Area Committee (ERAC).
The Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment sets a shared direction for changes in assessment practices for research, researchers and research performing organisations, with the overarching goal to maximise the quality and impact of research. The Agreement includes the principles, commitments and timeframe for reforms and lays out the principles for a Coalition of organisations willing to work together in implementing the changes.
Open Science is expected to be one of the many criteria in the new assessement, to shift from Resarch Asssesment to Responsible Research Assessment, which will base assessment primarily on qualitative judgement, for which peer-review is central, but this should be supported by responsible use of quantitative indicators. 

How is OpenAIRE involved? OpenAIRE builds infrastructure for Open Scholarly Communication and Open Science and we care about indicators for openness.  OpenAIRE Graph and our efforts in building a Metrics Data Space that include Open Science in the upcoming Horizon Europe GraspOS project will contribute to the quantitiative indicators. 

A European Strategy for data

Creating a single market for data

The EU is creating a single market for data so that data can flow within the EU countries and across sectors. To make this happen the EC is putting in place a strategy and action to implement Data Spaces, which will essentially pool European data in key sectors, to make it interoperable and usable in a trusted way.

The data spaces will include:

  1. the deployment of data sharing tools and services for the pooling, processing and sharing of data by an open number of organisations, as well as the federation of energy-efficient and trustworthy cloud capacities and related services;
  2. data governance structures, compatible with relevant EU legislation, which determine, in a transparent and fair way, the rights of access to and processing of the data;
  3. improving the availability, quality and interoperability of data – both in domainspecific settings and across sectors.

The key principles to build these data spaces are: data control, governance, Respect of EU rules and values, Technical data infrastructure, Interconnection and interoperabilityOpenness.

The EC has in plans the creation of 9 data spaces, one of which is EOSC as the science, research and innovation data space:


How will they be funded?

Several EU horizontal programmes will support the development of common European data spaces through various funding actions, in particular with regard to building the necessary data infrastructure – notably, DIGITAL for digital deployment initiatives, the Horizon Europe programme for research and innovation and the Connecting Europe Facility for digital infrastructures. The recovery plans of several Member States also support actions on European data spaces.

How will they be governed?

It is too early to tell. The data spaces will be supported and coordinated by the Data Spaces Support Center, funded by the European Commission.

How is OpenAIRE involved? OpenAIRE is a key service provider in EOSC, which will share data and tooling with the emerging data spaces. As such, we follow the guidance on architecture, interoperabilty, legal and ethical topics on sharing and our role is to bring alignment.

Unesco Open Science

Making science more accessible, inclusive and equitable for the benefit of all

UNESCO has undertaken the role of fostering Open Science at a global scale. It currently faciliates the global alignment through the following activities:

  • The UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science,  the first international framework for open science policy and practice that aims to reduce the technological and knowledge divides between and within countries.
  • 5 Working Groups on Open Science Capacity Building, Open Science Policies and Policy Instruments, Open Science Funding and Incentives, Open Science Infrastructures, Open Science Monitoring Framework.
  • A Global Call for Best Practices in Open Science (consultation).
  • An excersise to map open and internationally relevant open science capacity building and training modules.