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Science is a global endeavour: supra-regional initiatives such as the European Open Science Cloud coordinate with similar programs on a global scale to ensure that scientists can cooperate globally, within academia, and with industry. Thus, the perspective of researchers inside and outside of Europe is particularly relevant.

Interviews with Prominent Researchers 

To learn about expectations, needs, and visions on the future of research and international research collaborations, the EOSC Secretariat partner TU Wien launched an exploration series. Among the interviewees are members of the Marie Curie Alumni Association, ERC grant holders, and Nobel Laureates. In these conversations covering different disciplines, they indicate the needs of potential stakeholders, including, among them, the wishes and requirements of researchers and research institutions. The scope of this exploration series covers many different disciplines and countries at the global level. Although at the moment, only European, US-American, and Australian scientists participated, the series is going to be expanded and continued.

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What are their Needs?

OpenAIRE is committed to supporting the EOSC endeavour to provide the framework for researchers to perform cutting-edge research. On the one hand, the interviews present wishes and ideas of what EOSC would bring or could achieve. On the other hand, they highlight current difficulties in the research practice. But OpenAIRE as a partner to the EOSC sees more than challenges in the examples highlighted so far. They also point to opportunities for the tools and services that have been set up and implemented over 10-plus years.

What Requirements can OpenAIRE meet?

OpenAIRE’s infrastructure, in particular the Research Graph and the continuous activities for promoting international co-ordination, helps to increase the efficiency of open science efforts internationally to make Open Science sustainable in the long term. The interviews, though, still identify the gaps in terms of access to and speed of publishing research outputs. For example, as Marie Curie Fellow ‘Ottavio Quirico’ says in his interview:

“Open access to resources and availability of digital versions of books would be highly beneficial. It would also be helpful to speed up publication processes. Currently, publishing in peer-reviewed journals takes time. However, publishing via online platforms might preclude publication in peer-reviewed journals. It would be helpful to find a solution, because the world evolves rapidly.”

Saket Saurabh, an ERC grantee, adds to the touches upon the bigger context of a cultural shift in scientific practice by saying:

“So in my opinion, it would be great if datasets were freely accessible. […] Generally, they [ERC Advanced grantees] are people who are on top in their fields. If they share and open data, it is very natural for their working groups to do the same. Thus, a culture of data sharing and opening data is being adapted.”

Efficient Publication Workflows. Free access to Data. Fulfilling Mandates

OpenAIRE is happy to facilitate this cultural change in progress by providing a consolidated network of or recognized open science experts guiding researchers, project officers, research funders, and institutions with factsheets, webinars, policy guidance, and workshops. The goal is to inform and debate the transition to a transparent and open scientific framework.

This wealth of support material also provides a rich source to another challenge, or hope, to make EOSC a working reality: namely, that “all scientists should embrace FAIR”. Making data FAIR requires some know-how and support as well as the OpenAIRE guides and Argos, OpenAIRE’s machine-actionable DMP tool (data management plan) which are a helpful addition to the EOSC framework.

Another concern relates to the additional administrative burdens caused to European grantees by some open access mandates. To quote ERC Grantee Toma Susi:

“It would be valuable to have a way of fulfilling open data mandates in a user-easy and painless way for putting our data out there, with our papers and having it potentially be cited and re-used.”

Interoperable services such as the Research Graph that links publications and data to projects and communicates back these links to the funders or DMP tools such as Argos are representing the way forward to ease the burden.

In conclusion, EOSC holds for researchers the promise of a solution to their current needs as well as high expectations of what it could provide for the future of research. In these regards, it is an inspiration for OpenAIRE to perform better, to meet current needs as well as a confirmation that years of expertise-building and service-provision pay off.

Read the Interview Series here at the TU Wien Site