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Launching RDA4EOSC: DRI is part of a new initiative from the Research Data Alliance supporting the European Open Science Cloud

In November 2020, the Research Data Alliance, the Digital Repository of Ireland and the Digital Curation Centre joined forces on a new project aiming to support the internationalisation and implementation of EOSC. This project is being funded through an open call by the EOSC Secretariat. 

The experts representing the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) are Timea Biro (Project Manager), with support from Dr. Natalie Harrower (Director). The DRI is the national trusted digital repository for Ireland's social and cultural data. The DRI is a national infrastructure as well as a community hub for policy, advocacy, training, and best practice in digital preservation, digital archiving, FAIR data management, and Open Science. The DRI leverages its substantial reach and influence across this wide range of stakeholders and actively engages in the development of policy and best practices. As such, it has been a significant contributor to the national and European policy on Open Science. The DRI is home to Ireland’s National Open Research Coordinator, who manages the National Open Research Forum (NORF), and the DRI staff serve/have served on the European Commission FAIR-data high level expert group, the European Open Science Cloud FAIR Working Group, the OECD Global Science Forum Expert Group on sustainable data repositories, and the ALLEA Open Science Taskforce. The DRI also leads activities and groups within Europe that complement and contribute to supporting EOSC goals, including the ALLEA e-humanities WG, DARIAH, Europeana, and a range of professional bodies on digital archiving and preservation of data 

The work will be organised around six pillars of activity. Specifically, the RDA will support a subset of scientific and research communities to prepare for engagement with EOSC, and will drive the identification of a set of technological and domain specific solutions to be tested in the EOSC environment while at the same type supporting the approval of a set of ICT technical specifications for application within the EOSC. Coupled with this, the RDA will provide support to the internationalisation and technical alignment of EOSC through dedicated activities at the RDA plenary meeting in April 2020, as well as providing support for European members of the RDA governance bodies to interact and engage with their international counterparts to ensure awareness and understanding of EOSC. 

Joining the RDA Foundation and the DRI on this project from the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) will be Ryan O’Connor (Research Data Specialist) and Alex Delipalta (Research Project Specialist). The DCC is an internationally recognised consortial centre of expertise in digital curation with a mission focus on building capability and skills for effective data reuse in research and other contexts. The DCC undertakes research and advocacy on open research and FAIR data and many of its staff have backgrounds in research and consultancy in these fields. The DCC has a solid understanding of the European RI and e-Infra landscape and has participated in a range of EC-funded relevant activities including EOSCPilot, FOSTER and FOSTER+, OpenAIRE2020 & OpenAIRE Advance, FAIRsFAIR, FAIR4Health, and RDA Europe 4.0. The DCC staff participate in several of the EOSC-5B Task Forces (Landscaping, National Policies and Governance, and Training and Skills), and have just concluded work for the EOSC Landscape WG on the mapping of EOSC-relevant national infrastructures and the current level of spending on research data infrastructures.

RDA has a grass-roots, inclusive approach covering all data lifecycle stages, engaging data producers, users and stewards, addressing data curation, exchange, processing, and storage. It has succeeded in creating the neutral social platform where international research data experts meet to exchange views and to agree on topics including social hurdles on data sharing, education and training challenges, data management plans and certification of data repositories, disciplinary and interdisciplinary interoperability, as well as technological aspects.

RDA is already contributing to the creation of the European Open Science cloud (EOSC), through the effort of its 100 Working and Interest groups and as outlined in the EOSC Work Plan (2019-2020), RDA will also be used as a key vehicle in implementing the EOSC and coordinating international activity. This new joint initiative is designed to do that and pave the way for future alignment and collaboration. 

The project will conclude in May 2021 with the production of a number of deliverables, including a report on awareness and readiness of domains and disciplines not currently engaged with EOSC, recommendations for engagement from 2021 onwards and a European RDA and/or EOSC governance support and impact report. 

This work is being led by Hilary Hanahoe (RDA Secretary General) with the support of  Bridget Walker (Office Manager), both from the RDA Foundation team. 

For further information on the RDA4EOSC activity, please contact Timea Biro at DRI, or Bridget Walker, RDA, bridget.walker@rda-foundation.org