The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) Executive Board (EB) met on 17 April 2019 in Brussels for its second formal meeting. The members of the Executive Board complete and in addition, there were representatives from DGCNCT and DGRTD present, as well as the EOSCSecretariat team.
At the meeting, it was agreed that EOSC is to transform the way Europe performs science in the digital age. EOSC cannot live in isolation. However, scientists across Europe are not at all waiting for EOSC. National governments around Europe are also carrying out their open science plans. What EOSC is to achieve is to bring the European dimension to the table of ongoing change. This means a federated approach, user/researcher focus and collegiality in a huge community of stakeholders. How fast can EOSC go to ensure it is not late, how slow does it need to be to be as inclusive as possible? How can EOSC ensure, that it builds structures, but not walls? The EOSC is an ambitious undertaking and it is good to remember the big questions, before getting emerged into a very dense agenda, filled with merely administrative items.
Having worked together for almost four months, the first agenda item was a discussion on how to improve the decision making processes in an environment of fast paced developments, while maintaining agility and flexibility. It was decided that strengthening the frequency and efficiency in internal communication is a key priority. The EOSCSecretariat was asked to play a key supporting role.
The next item on the agenda involved the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) which Sarah Jones and Jean-François Abramatic have put together. Jean-François Abramatic introduced the plan by describing how the architecture around scientists has changed from "Gutenberg-style" science to "Berners-Lee-style" science and is now about to change to "EOSC goes Berners-Lee-style" science. A result of this and the fact that scientists are not waiting to adapt themselves, is that EOSC must offer an added-value. EOSC must be federated, researcher/user focused and engaging stakeholders to become the first choice for scientists. What does that mean over the next two years? The SIP for the next two years describes the federated approach taken together with the priorities, which will also translate into the working groups which the EB will launch soon. The deadline is 3 May 2019 to finalise the SIP document which will need to be adopted by the Governance Board.
Next, there was a discussion about the five EB working group descriptions - sustainability; landscape; architecture; FAIR and RoP - and the mechanism to formalise the membership in these Working Groups. The EB will need to carefully balance the expectations of the GB with those of the community. Communication will be the key to success. Having approved the text of the Working Groups, the EB will make these available to the GB Chair and publish them on the EOSCsecretariat website. As for the formation process, the EB will be awaiting the nominations from the GB, will nominate additional candidates and will ensure that community participation is open and transparent by running an open call. Preparations for this open call are now the priority.
The EOSCsecretariat will tender for the undertaking of additional studies to be carried out in support of the Working Groups. The aim is to ensure that these studies are as aligned as possible with the Working Groups and will therefore only be fully launched when the Working Groups are up and running.
The next element on the agenda was driven by the EOSCsecretariat, which presented on the stakeholder engagement plan. The EB asked the team to ensure that the engagement plan is widened. It has to be understood that the EOSC Symposium, to be held in Budapest, 24 to 26 November 2019, is clearly seen as just one element of the stakeholder engagement. This needs to be a continuous activity addressing all stakeholders and initiatives. Ideally, all this should happen in close collaboration with all other projects, as there are many synergies to be explored and possible overlaps to be avoided.
The EB decided that a day event on EOSC should be organised alongside the upcoming RDA meeting in Helsinki in October 2019.
The last item briefly discussed was the upcoming EB and GB teambuilding event which is planned for early May in Munich. This will be essential for the future collaboration between these two bodies.
In the next meeting communication will be the first item on the agenda. Internally, as well as externally, more communication is needed.
Cathrin Stover, EOSC Executive Board Vice Chair