The Value of the Research Data Alliance to the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC)

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12 January 2023 31944 reads

EOSC and RDA share a common vision: Researchers and innovators openly sharing data across technologies, disciplines, and countries to address the grand challenges of society.  

RDA welcomes the mission of EOSC and is happy to connect its activities to wider global Research Commons practices including standards and interoperability. Having been involved in EOSC-related projects for some years, RDA is happy to be an EOSC Association member furthering its mission and community practices.


What is the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC)? 

The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) is an environment for hosting and processing research data to support EU science. The ambition of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) is to provide European researchers, innovators, companies and citizens with a federated and open multi-disciplinary environment where they can publish, find and re-use data, tools and services for research, innovation and educational purposes. 

EOSC aims at creating a “Web of FAIR Data and services”, putting an emphasis on the enabling services, infrastructures and management principles that can sustainably support the social and technical bridges for data sharing that are at the centre of RDA’s mission. The EOSC focus is on aggregating services and resources and building mechanisms that allow the users and resource providers to operate in a trusted environment.  

EOSC is one of the strategic building blocks to deepen the European Research Area and increase its contributions on the global level as a Pan-European market for research, innovation and technology. 


Page contents: EOSC AssociationRDA and EOSC – the Open Science Communities

See also: RDA in EOSC projects: EOSC Future | RDA4EOSC | RDA Europe 4.0 (see also here)

EOSC Association 

EOSC activities are coordinated and governed by a legal entity, the EOSC Association. It was established on 29th July 2020 by the four founding members but has grown into an organisation with over 200 members and observers – including the RDA Association.   

The EOSC General Assembly is the highest authority of the organisation. It elects a Board of Directors and a President among its members to steer the execution of its mission. Day-to-day operations of the organisation are coordinated by the Secretary General, who is employed by the EOSC Association.  

The roadmaps for the implementation of the EOSC vision and mission are maintained in the EOSC Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA).  It consolidates the inputs from Association Members and EOSC Task Forces. It is intended to make the EOSC vision concrete and actionable for all individuals and organisations that are EOSC stakeholders.  

Relevant Policy Documents

European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Research Data Landscape : final report, Publications Office of the European Union, 2022,

The European Research Data Landscape study looks at researchers’ practices in producing, reusing and depositing data, and in making it FAIR, as well as examining the research data repository landscape.

RDA and EOSC – the Open Science Communities  

Open Science is a crucial component in advancing research and benefiting society. The sharing of Research Data is central to these aims. The RDA focuses on the social, technical, and cross-disciplinary links necessary to enabling such sharing on the global scale. There is a strong emphasis on the bottom-up approach to ensure that experiences and knowledge from any of the disciplinary or multi-disciplinary contexts are available across the community. The focus is often on logical, descriptive outputs that can be adopted in and adapted to multiple setting. As an example, the FAIR Data Maturity Model is a domain-agnostic model that has also been applied for example in assessing the FAIRness of research software. It facilitates socio-technical discussion and exchange by identifying best practices and standards for research data, tools and infrastructure.  

The European Open Science Cloud has its origins in the idea of a federated system that provides users with access to data and related resources from different physical sites and organisations. Providing seamless access to data in such a federated system requires integration of services, which – in turn – implies shared standards and operational policies. This federated infrastructure challenge requires attention to the dynamic behaviour of a trans-organisational service ecosystem and balancing the needs for a centralised, top-down governance framework (e.g. to ensure common “Rules of Participation” across all the organisations) and openness and ease of access to resources (e.g. by supporting easy “onboarding” or resources into the EOSC ecosystem). 

Both organisations are committed to furthering research innovation, efficiency and reproducibility. RDA provides a neutral, global forum for any organisation or individual to contribute to the shared body in a way that ensures the contributions are preserved as part of the shared FAIR culture and knowledge. It ideally complements EOSC’s focus on open governance of the dynamic, federated resource ecosystem with a more specific focus on Europe. 

The European Union has supported the integration of these two communities through several grants: 

  • EOSC Future, where RDA Association is responsible for targeted dissemination and coordinating the work of the RDA ambassadors and small-scale projects funded through the “cascading grant” mechanism. 

  • RDA Europe 4.0 (see also here), where financial and in-kind support was available to individuals and organisations, furthering the reach of RDA into specific European communities and regions.

  • RDA4EOSC, where the project was organised around five pillars of activity which supported a subset of scientific and research communities to prepare for engagement with EOSC. 

Through these activities, the links between the EOSC and RDA communities have been solidified, and the awareness of the complementary approaches and solutions has grown. Numerous events, publications and solutions have been developed, reinforcing the European contributions to the global research commons.