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Deliverable Cross-Border Collaboration Models – The Nordic Experience is published


The second report in a series of three studies on cross-border collaboration is out! The recent deliverable Cross-Border Collaboration ModelsThe Nordic Experience from work package Legal Issues, Policies, and Sustainability, investigates past and present Nordic and Baltic research and research infrastructure collaborations by exploring seven case studies. It draws up lessons for cross-border collaboration from the Nordic and Baltic experience and considers how those lessons apply to EOSC.

The report examines seven existing and past cross-border collaborations, focusing on four main drivers of collaboration: governance, resource sharing, coordination and policy harmonisation, and cross-border funding. The report draws keys lessons on cross-border collaboration for the emerging EOSC, based on analysis of seven cross-border collaboration cases — NORDUnet, European Spallation Source, EISCAT_3DD, Baltic Grid, NeIC, the Gardar HPC System, and the Nordic programme on health and welfare.

The report makes five key recommendations for improving cross-border research and research infrastructure collaboration in the context of EOSC. As the EOSC model is not yet fully established, these recommendations identify future work that should be undertaken so that EOSC can fully facilitate cross-border research collaborations.

The recommendations

Licensing and third-country collaboration need common rules, policies, and processes.

The first recommendation is to set up a task force to tackle the different aspects of licensing. Licensing should not be left for individual research groups to handle. Support and expertise should be provided. The whole process of sharing data should be easy to understand and straightforward for researchers. The goal should be that there are as few different licenses as possible, they are easy to use, and the contract conditions are well understood.

It is recommended that the task force, or a related task force, also address collaborations with third countries, particularly concerning GDPR and Dual-Use issues. Standard rules and clear instructions are needed here as well.

A common understanding of using and sharing health and sensitive data is needed.

The second recommendation concerns health data, which is highly valuable for research and innovation but often sensitive. Without a common understanding of the rules and regulations, stakeholders will be risk-averse and unlikely to share data.

Starting with regional collaboration, such as Nordic or Baltic ones, could be a way to find a broader understanding of common needs, facilitate cross-border use of health data, and find common ways and understanding of secure processes and policies.

Focus on sharing data and its challenges, not only providing services.

The third recommendation concerns the role of EOSC in facilitating research collaboration across borders; initiatives should acknowledge this and not concentrate on the needs of service providers. EOSC Rules of Participation states that EOSC services should be aligned with EOSC architecture and interoperability guidelines to establish cooperation and enrich the user experience. It is essential to address the challenges of sharing data across borders and facilitating services across borders. Resource sharing, cross-border services, and cross-border data sharing are linked to each other.

Establish EOSC compliance for all resources in the European Union at national and institutional levels. Resource compliance is more important than cross-border service delivery.

The fourth recommendation is linked to meeting data sharing objectives, research collaboration, and resource federation in EOSC, encompassing European Union, national, institutional, and commercial resources. We recommend that national and institutional resource providers think about EOSC in terms of EOSC compliance for infrastructures, not just becoming EOSC service providers. The EOSC interoperability framework aims to provide a trusted and sustainable framework for all stakeholders, including scientific communities and infrastructures. The primary goal should be that scientists using the infrastructures would be able to participate in EOSC-based collaborations. We recommend that EOSC facilitates this work by providing guidelines for access and usage.

Good governance is a key factor in enabling successful collaboration.

The fifth recommendation raises the issue of good governance. As noted in the EOSC interoperability framework, EOSC recognizes the need for a clearly defined governance structure to handle interoperability across organisations and disciplines. The recently formed EOSC Association is expected to operate as the legal entity responsible for governing and overseeing EOSC operations.

The establishment of the EOSC Association is a step in the right direction towards advancing sustainable open science practices. It will provide clear expectations and rules of engagement that are important in ensuring alignment between all the stakeholders.

Surprisingly, in the Nordic and Baltic region, despite the many years of collaboration in the region, the many successful collaborations, and the will to collaborate, local and national policies and differences remain a significant challenge, the writers conclude.

Read the deliverable on our Knowledge-Hub