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OpenAIRE and 37 Partners Launch the Open Science Trails Project


Data Management Plans (DMPs) play a crucial role in research, outlining researchers' intentions and supporting them in following best practices while staying organised. The RDA DMP Common Standard is adopted by various platforms and Science Europe proposes Domain Data Protocols (DDPs) to address domain-specific practices. While DMPs prove valuable, assessing them at scale is challenging. The FAIRification of DMPs is seen as a solution, with efforts made to treat them as outputs and include them in Scholarly Knowledge Graphs (SKGs). As research assessment expands beyond publications, SKGs representing scholarly knowledge could offer rich data but encounter obstacles like interoperability, semantic and syntactical heterogeneity. At the same time, the globally endorsed FAIR Principles face challenges in implementation and interpretation, especially in extending to other digital artifacts. Achieving a standardised approach for interpreting FAIR principles remains a significant hurdle.

The EU-funded project Open Science Trails (OSTrails) kicked off its activities on the 5th and 6th of February 2024 in Athens. This 3-year project aims to set the necessary foundations to streamline FAIR assessment and machine actionability in the European Open Science Cloud by enhancing and connecting the Planning, Tracking, Assessing phases of research. 



The OSTrails consortium is coordinated by OpenAIRE and builds on the technical expertise, managed services and research communities of its 38 partners representing 22 Research Performing Organisations (RPOs) and the 5 Science Clusters. Recognising that there is no one-size-fits-all, at the cornerstone of OSTrails are 24 pilots that will co-create, implement, validate, and adopt results in diverse national and thematic ecosystems.

“Our project assembles a vibrant consortium uniting both thematic and national infrastructures in a resounding collaboration. Together, we share aspirations and work towards pragmatic solutions to shape the plan-track-assess pathways in EOSC following a commons approach” - Natalia Manola, OpenAIRE CEO

The project extends on three pillars:

  • PLAN: eliminating .pdfs and enhancing the effectiveness of Data Management Plans by transforming them into dynamic, interconnected "machine actionable" resources.
  • TRACK: enriching the quality and content of Scientific Knowledge Graphs to serve as evidence of FAIR implementations and research assessment.
  • ASSESS: moving the dial from FAIR assessment to FAIR assistance while providing modular and extensible FAIR tests, embedded into other RDM tools.

OpenAIRE participates in all pillars of the project with ARGOS for creating, managing and publishing machine actionable Data Management Plans (DMPs), the Graph for providing rich contextual information about research activities and scholarly communication, OpenOrgs for disambiguation of the Graph, and the Validator for assessing FAIRness of (meta)data and repositories. To co-design the plan-track-assess pathways and adopt them in local settings, OpenAIRE involves its members to realise national pilots in Austria, Croatia, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, and Spain.

The project kick off welcomed more than 65 in-person and 100 online participants unveiling the need for convergence on these topics. It was a two-day meeting that helped to facilitate a mutual understanding of the projects’ ambition, objectives and context, clarify the partners’ roles and responsibilities and establish a plan for the first 12 months as well as prepare the ground for early deliverables. 

OpenAIRE project, OStrails