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The first year in EOSC-Nordic

Cecilie Maagaard Winther

With the first year of EOSC-Nordic drawing rapidly to a close we look back on an eventful year.

The 31st of August marks the first full year of the EOSC-Nordic project that began on the 1st of September 2019.

Looking back it is impossible not to think of 2020 as the year of the global pandemic Covid-19, which has of course also affected the EOSC-Nordic project.

As participants in the project, we have not been able to meet up physically for most of the first year of the project. We have been missing out on greeting good friends and colleagues and have had very little direct interaction. While this has been regrettable and unfortunate, the EOSC-Nordic project is actually still on track, so explains Project Manager Lene Krøl Andersen.

“Because many project participants are so used to working together virtually we have not seen many delays. Furthermore, it has become even more apparent that we benefit from the regional similarities in the project. With similar work cultures and work ethics amongst the partners, the project has been able to hit the ground running,” she says.

Project highlights from year one

We asked Project Manager Lene Krøl Andersen about the first year of the three-year project and asked her to share some highlights. She points to the following:

  • Work package 2 has performed a survey that has provided a mapping of the policies on open science throughout each country in the project. This gives an indication of the region’s EOSC readiness.
  • Work package 3 has been able to make an extensive mapping of the services available on both national and institutional levels in the Nordic region, while also analysing what is needed to be EOSC compliant.
  • Work package 4 has researched how FAIR data sources actually are in the Nordics and developed the FAIR Maturity Model, which helps to estimate how FAIR data repositories are as well as providing guidelines for becoming more FAIR.
  • Work package 5 has defined all the use cases and already succeeded in harvesting data from a national platform to an EOSC-platform in the case of data from the Danish “Fund og Fortidsminder” database that has been made available through the B2FIND service.
  • Work package 6 quickly established a website and made sure the project got a great start with the first event held for all participants at the Kick-off meeting in Helsinki.

According to Lene Krøl Andersen one of the surprises of the first year has perhaps been, that although the assignment seems easy or straight forward, the solutions are much more complex.

“We must work across borders, across systems, across funding streams, research groups, and incentives, which is insanely time-consuming,” she says.

A more concrete project going forward

The first year of EOSC-Nordic has been used on preparing to be an operational part of the European Open Science Cloud. According to Lene Krøl Andersen it has required a lot of discussions, diplomacy and planning, and altogether more vague and political tasks than specific results.

“Now though, things are looking up, and the project is getting more tangible. There are concrete tools, specific guidelines for how to make repositories more FAIR and a more clear idea of which services are available amongst us,” she says.

The next two years Lene Krøl Andersen therefore especially looks forward to hearing about the real-life experiences with EOSC-Nordic.

“I look forward to hearing the honest opinion from people working with EOSC. How does it work in practice for the individual scientist?” she says.

In the next couple of months, multiple work packages also have exciting deliverables, for example will WP3 launch a service desk and WP6 will launch a beta version of the Knowledge Hub, all things to look forward to.

So, let’s raise our glass for the coming 1-year birthday of our project!