The European Open Science Cloud, which will support EU science in its global leading by creating a trusted environment for hosting and processing research data, is one important step closer to becoming a reality. Meeting in Brussels on 29 May, 2018, EU research ministers endorsed the roadmap for its creation. The Conclusions of the Competitiveness Council, proposed by the current Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, are the result of two years of intense negotiations.
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, stated: "The Cloud will be a game changer for science in Europe. These Conclusions show that we are delivering on our Open Science priority, bringing an idea to fruition in just two years. Such quick progress in such a short time would not be possible without the support of national governments, industry and the scientific community."
According to Commissioner Moedas, much remains to be done to make the EOSC a reality by 2020, but several important aspects stand out:
1. The Cloud should be a wide, pan-European federation of existing and emerging excellent infrastructures, which respects the governance and funding mechanisms of its components;
2. Membership in this federation would be voluntary; and
3. The governance structure would include member state ministries, stakeholders and scientists.
Commissioner Moedas called on ministers to redouble their commitment to the initiative and encourage key national scientific infrastructure to federate into the EOSC.
The Commission presented the roadmap for the EOSC in March. The next milestones for the initiative include the set-up of the governance structure and the launch of projects directly supporting its implementation under the INFRAEOSC Call of Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme.
On 23 November 2018, the incoming Austrian Presidency of the Council plans to gather research and innovation ministers to sign off the governance structure, which will steer and coordinate the work of several projects under Horizon 2020, and to launch the first version of the EOSC Portal.
In preparation for the event, key scientific and policy stakeholders of the EOSC will gather in Brussels on 11 June 2018 to discuss the possible rules of participation in the EOSC and the drafting of pan-European principles for FAIR data (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable). Preparatory work on both topics has been done by the High Level Expert Group on the EOSC and by the EOSCPilot project.
In another important step for Open Science, the Commission also published the final recommendations of the Open Science Policy Platform. Established in 2016, the platform comprises important stakeholders who advise the Commission on how to further develop and practically implement Open Science policy in order to improve radically the quality and impact of European science.