Thursday, November 12, 2015

The European Open Science Cloud for Research & agINFRA

Some of the major EU-funded initiatives/networks, and more specifically EUDAT, LIBER, OpenAIRE, EGI and GEANT agreed to join forces and work on a common vision for the European Open Science Cloud for Research which includes eight elements of success for a concrete contribution to the Digital Single Market:
  1. Open in design, participation and use
  2. Publicly funded & governed with the 'commons approach'
  3. Research-centric with an agile co-design with researchers and research communities
  4. Comprehensive in terms of universality and inclusiveness of all disciplines
  5. Diverse & distributed empowering network effects
  6. Interoperable with common standards for resources and services 
  7. Service-oriented as well as protocol-centric 
  8. Social connecting diverse communities
(for more info, you may refer to the Position Paper at Zenodo).

By joining forces, these networks will be able to identify and address existing overlapping in terms of infrastructure and services provided to the end users and meet the requirements of research communities in terms of infrastructure and tools - but they will need to understand the actual needs of each community that will be served (including our agri-food research one).

These news are extremely important for the research community in various disciplines, as biodiversity (see LifeWatch), agriculture and food security (see agINFRA), marine and aqua (see iMarine & BlueBridge), which have been funded through various calls and have allowed researchers to move on with their research.

agINFRA, an ex-FP7 project and currently a research data hub for the agrifood community, engages some of the biggest players in the agri-food research context - at a global level:
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN FAO)
  • CGIAR, with its fifteen (15) research centers all over the world
  • CABI (UK)
  • Wageningen UR
  • The Global Open Data for Agriculture & Nutrition (GODAN)
  • Open Agricultural Data Alliance (OADA)
  • The Agricultural Data Interoperability IG (IGAD) of the Research Data Alliance (RDA)
  • The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)
  • EMBRAPA (Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária)
  • ...and many more
Through these collaborations, agINFRA is working on the following:
  1. Enhancing discoverability of agri-food research by building a global atlas / index of agricultural research;
  2. Building a semantic layer that will allow the combination, enrichment and enhancement of heterogeneous information from multiple sources;
  3. Supporting research projects and organizations that (need to) publish their outcomes through a dedicated help desk service;
  4. Engaging a very active community that consists of all agri-food data managers as well as information and knowledge managers at a global level (FAO AIMS & IRDA GAD)
  5. Developing, deploying and testing data-rich and complex agri-food research applications and systems on various thematic areas, such as food safety, agricultural trials, forestry, viticulture research etc.

What do users of a hub like agINFRA need (among others)?
  • Well informed data & knowledge managers in their institutions (e.g. universities);
    • to guide them through the process of open access publishing in the appropriate repositories, data management and hosting services, use of domain-specific standards etc.
  • Online help desk to ask more complex questions:
    • Where should I deposit my open access publication?
    • How can I be compliant with the Horizon 2020 Open Access Policy?
    • Which are the licenses that apply to my research outcomes?
    • Where can I find data management services for storing, organizing and sharing my research data?
    • Where can I find data of interest to me as a researcher?
    • What are the funding opportunities in my domain? Where can I contact researchers working on the same research context as I do?
  • Simple cloud service: A Dropbox for researchers, to store, share and find online their research data.
Let's see if and how such requirements will be met by the Open Science Cloud in the near future; the envisaged services look really promising but they will need to be fine-tuned after consultations with the research communities. Tomorrow I will have the opportunity to present the agri-food use case (of agINFRA) during the Open Science Cloud workshop that takes place in the context of the EGI Community Forum 2015 in Bari, Italy :-)