Push to build political support and recruit volunteers for the project in a bid to ensure it meets diverse needs of research institutes across Europe
The European Commission wants scientists to formally register support for a massive effort to build the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), saying, “We urge you to send us your endorsement and commitments, showing your tangible support to our common effort to make the EOSC a reality.”
Research institutions are asked to provide an official letter, white paper, statement release or any other supporting document, to indicate backing for the project.
The Commission also published a list of 31 scientists and science lobbyists who have already endorsed the “science cloud declaration”. They include the heads of two of Europe’s biggest data generators, director general of CERN, Fabiola Gianotti and director general of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Iain Mattaj.
By backing the declaration, “stakeholders signal their intention to be involved in the making of the EOSC, for instance by taking specific action, by joining the governance board, by providing inputs via the annual stakeholder forum, or again by joining consortia to implement the EOSC via Horizon 2020,” the Commission says.
The Commission hopes drumming up support in advance will ease the path towards a final arrangement for the cloud that suits the needs of the many competing science power centres in Europe.
The vision behind the cloud is that with a few clicks researchers will get access to data from any laboratory or scientific discipline across Europe. The cloud project will install the essential plumbing for this to happen, by interconnecting data infrastructures run by commercial and publicly-funded providers, adding software, metadata, data registries and other tools needed to glue these existing services together.
The Commission’s digital and research directorates are incubating the project, which plans to be running by 2020.
As well as receiving endorsements, the Commission also wants research groups to commit to take on some specific tasks to aid the development of the cloud.
Some have made commitments already. For example, the League of European Research Universities, has offered to develop data stewardship training for staff and doctoral students, while the German Research Foundation said it will contribute and fund updating of Re3Data, an initiative to identify and list research data repositories.