Introduction to open science: Networks & infrastructures

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VO Sharing is daring: Open Science approaches to Digital Humanities

Please read the lesson script below and complete the tasks.

Questions, remarks, issues? Participate in the Zoom meeting on Mon, 16.03.2020, 5 p.m. - 6 p.m.!

Mon, 16.03.2020, 16:45 - 18:15: Introduction to Open Science: Networks & infrastructures[Bearbeiten]

In this session, we would like to find out what a "research infrastructure" could be. In the field of digital humanities, we have two important research infrastructures that are funded by the European Union: the Digital Arts and Humanities Research Infrastructure DARIAH-EU and the Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure CLARIN-ERIC. But what exactly does the term "research infrastructure" (RI) mean?

Task 1[Bearbeiten]

Please visit the PARTHENOS training module "Introduction to Research Infrastructures" to learn more about this question. To successfully complete this session of the course, please read and watch all content in the section "What IS Infrastructure?". Of course, you are warmly invited to complete some of the subsequent sections of the "Introduction to Research Infrastructures" module as well.

Task 2[Bearbeiten]

To follow up on last week's topics, please also watch the video "What is metadata?" provided by the EDINA data centre of the university of Edinburgh.

Now that we have defined "research infrastructures" (RIs), we can differentiate between RIs and "networks". We do not want to go into a lexicographical-philosophical definition of all the meanings that this term could have, but focus on "networks" as a more informal version of a common understanding and regular exchange between researchers than a formalized (and funded!) "research infrastructure".

From a formal, legal point of view, CLARIN-ERIC and DARIAH-EU are - CLARIN even has this element in the name - ERICs (European Research Infrastructure Consortia). ERICs have a similar legal status as institutions, they are "juridical persons". That means that they are legally accountable for the things that they (and their employees) do, but it also means that they can carry out certain acts that only juridical persons can do, e.g. the signing of contracts. Most importantly, ERICs receive funding from the European Union and can thus hire personnel and maintain tools and services that cost money, e.g. server infrastructure, helpdesk staff, technical services, and much more.

In contrast to this, we will refer to "networks" as "informal infrastructures", i.e. infrastructures as defined by the PARTHENOS training module linked above, but without the juridical status of being an ERIC. One prime example of such a "network" - again carrying the "network" in the name - is the Open Science Network Austria OANA.

OANA is, by self-definition,

"a think tank on the topic of Open Science, with an open structure and no legal form." (OANA: Mission)

So the main difference between a "network" like OANA and an ERIC is that as a network "with no legal form", OANA is not able to sign contracts. Being a "think tank", OANA does not have any budget or personnel, but is purely a community of interest with the joint goal to further the cause of Open Science in Austria. Thus, those who participate in the network's activities do so because of personal or institutional motivation.

We now have a clearer picture of what RIs are and what networks are, but we have not yet established what they have to do with Open Science. After all, any content, tool, or service provided by an ERIC can just as well be closed and only available to members of the RI or even users who would be willing to pay. Meetings of networks such as OANA could, in theory, just as well happen behind closed doors and only reach out to selected invitees. However, RIs and Open Science support networks such as OANA have intrinsic motivation to open up and reach out to as broad a community as possible and have therefore embraced the concept of Open Science as their own. But why?

Task 3[Bearbeiten]

Watch this video of DARIAH-EU's Open Science Officer Erzsébet Tóth-Czifra to understand DARIAH-EU's relationship with and motivation for implementing Open Science approaches: Open Science in Europe: a DARIAH perspective --> slides
You can learn even more about DARIAH-EU's attitude towards Openness from the first post on the DARIAH Open blog: Welcome to DARIAH Open

Task 4[Bearbeiten]

Watch this video of a presentation by the FWF Austrian Science Fund's Open Science Manager Katharina Rieck (delivered by Martina Trognitz & Vanessa Hannesschläger) to understand the Austrian Open Science networks and landscape: Open Science in Austria --> slides

There are a number of other Open Science projects that constitute their own forms of "networks". These have a status that is somewhere in the middle between RIs (which have funding and are supposed to exist and be further developed indefinitely) and "networks" as defined above, as they also have funding, a formal structure, and a dedicated cause, but they also have an end date. The fact that a financed project receives funding for a certain period of time and then ends leads to questions about the sustainability of resources and tools developed within these projects. The PARTHENOS project is a good example here: This project has tried to solve this issue by integrating the resources that were developed in the course of its running time into the DARIAH-EU infrastructure, where these resources (such as the training module we completed earlier) can be hosted for a longer time.

Task 5[Bearbeiten]

Go to the website of a prominent project and find out how the project plans to make it outcomes sustainably available after the project ends. German speakers can investigate, non-German speakers can take a look at the FOSTER project which we already got to know last week.

The session on Open Science infrastructures and networks would not be complete without mentioning the largest effort that the European comission hase made yet to further the cause of Open Science: the European Open Science Cloud EOSC. The EOSC shall be(come) "a cloud for research data in Europe". The Commission's efforts to put such a cloud into practice are closely connected to the Commission's goal to implement FAIR data in the field of science and research, thus the reports "Prompting an EOSC in practice" and "Turning FAIR into reality" are in close relation to each other. However, these efforts by the Commission happen on a very high level that does not (directly) impact our day-to-day work as researchers or scientists. The EOSC's sub-projects, aim more concretely to support researchers in their specific domains and to create research data clouds on the basis of existing solutions such as the ERICs. Thus, the EOSC sub-project Social Sciences and Humanities Open Cloud SSHOC relies heavily on the work and resources available in existing infrastructures such as Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure CLARIN-ERIC and DARIAH-EU - and so we have gone full circle.

Task 6[Bearbeiten]

We have encountered a number of acronyms in this session which we will encounter time and again in the course of the semester. Please remember what the following shortcuts stand for:
  • ERIC: European Research Infrastructure Consortium
  • DARIAH-EU: Digital Arts and Humanities Research Infrastructure
  • CLARIN-ERIC: Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure
  • OANA: Open Science Network Austria (formerly Open Access Network Austria)
  • EOSC: European Open Science Cloud
  • SSHOC: Social Sciences and Humanities Open Cloud

Questions, remarks, issues? Participate in the Zoom meeting on Mon, 16.03.2020, 5 p.m. - 6 p.m.!

Further material[Bearbeiten]

At the ACDH ToolGallery 5.2, Open Science Training opportunities as well as the Austrian and European Open Science landscape were introduced. Additionally, various tools to put Open Science into practice were presented. The presentations were recorded. You already watched two of these videos in task 3 & 4, and you can find the additional presentations below: