Authors: Maja Dolinar (Slovenian Social Science Data Archives (ADP)), Ana Inkret (Slovenian Social Science Data Archives (ADP))

On May 12, 2023 the RItrainPlus Community of Practice convened for a discussion surrounding the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) Portal and Marketplace. The central issue addressed during this meeting was the challenge of articulating the purpose, functionalities, and benefits of the EOSC to those unfamiliar with the platform.

The Challenge of EOSC Comprehension

The event started with an introduction by Milica Ševkušić from the EOSC Future project, OpenAire/EIFL, who introduced us to the EOSC Portal and its onboarding process. The main problem identified was explaining what the EOSC is. Many had never heard about this  virtual research environment, and even among those who had, there is usually a confusion about its purpose and functionalities. The EOSC is a complex and multifaceted system, making it challenging for newcomers to understand all its aspects.

However, the EOSC Portal, the central interface of EOSC, is being continually updated and integrated. It provides a significant amount of information for providers and users alike, and hosts metadata records of various resources, including publications, data, software, services, learning resources, and other research products.

Embracing the EOSC Marketplace

The EOSC Marketplace is a service within the portal where users can browse and access an extensive list of resources. Use cases were highlighted as particularly useful for understanding how others have utilised the services, as they often provide more clarity than the documentation itself.

Meeting attendees were also introduced to the onboarding process. Besides the visibility, the main benefit of onboarding services to EOSC is the ability to use one of the core services, alleviating the need for providers to develop these features themselves. This includes accounting for products and services, monitoring, helpdesk, and order management.

Spotlight on EOSC in Practice: ELIXIR

The discussion was enriched by the contribution of Jessica Lindvall, the deputy head of Node of Sweden and co-chair of the EOSC Task Force Upskilling Countries to Engage in EOSC. She is leading the Training Platform ExCo and shared insights into ELIXIR, a pan-European life science organisation.

Lindvall highlighted the monthly meetings of the EOSC group within ELIXIR and the organisation’s strategic vision for EOSC. The conversation then moved to the organisation’s resources and their use, including the Research Data Management (RDM) Kit, the WorkflowHub, and Elixir TeSS.

Insights from the Panel Discussion

The panel discussion, which included Sy Holsinger of OPERAS and Pedro Principe & Andre Vieira of OpenAIRE/UMinho, further illuminated the complexities of EOSC. They discussed the Knowledge Hub, a community resource for EOSC facets and Open Science practice, as well as the ongoing efforts to onboard training resources and the challenges therein.

During the discussion, panellists grappled with several important questions about the significance of onboarding resources to the EOSC Marketplace, the process’s ease or difficulty for federated RI, and the expertise required for the task. The consensus was that while the onboarding process can be time-consuming and complex, EOSC provides an avenue for increased visibility and connection.

The RItrainPlus Community of Practice meeting served as an invaluable platform for addressing the confusions and complexities surrounding the EOSC. The attendees’ shared experiences and insights brought into focus the importance of continuous learning, development, and collaboration in making the most of the EOSC platform.

With ongoing efforts to improve EOSC and its related processes, the future looks promising. The EOSC is not only a technological infrastructure but an evolving environment that fosters open science and collaboration. As these discussions and developments continue, the EOSC will become more accessible, comprehensible, and beneficial for all its users.

About RItrainPlus CoP

The RItrainPlus CoP provides a forum for discussion about relevant issues and opportunities for knowledge and best practices sharing through a peer learning approach that would support research infrastructures (RIs) and core facilities (CFs) in their specific managerial and operational challenges. The CoP offers new community meetings every two months, and by signing up, you will be able to access the meeting recordings and materials. This is a great opportunity to learn from experienced professionals and stay up-to-date with the latest best practices in the research infrastructure landscape. Sign up to the RITrainPlus CoP!

Unravelling the Complexities of EOSC: Insights from the RItrainPlus CoP meeting