Strategy on European data infrastructure is calling for broad-scale collaboration

European collaboration has long been carried out on building research infrastructures in fields such as high-performance computing, Grid networks, and data communication. The collaboration should now be extended to improve the efficiency of data infrastructure as well. Indeed, the management of databases and information is one of the most significant development targets at the moment.

Europe will need extensive collaboration in order to be able to meet the increasing challenges of managing scientific information (processed raw data, consisting of information, knowledge and know-how). ”One of the major questions puzzling researchers is how we can guarantee the preservation of data (raw data) for tens or hundreds of years ahead”, says Managing Director Kimmo Koski from CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd.  ”Repeatedly we face the fact that European collaboration is inadequate and it is usually based on projects scheduled to last for a couple of years. We lack permanent European structures that can guarantee the continuance of services.”

The Partnership for Advanced Data in Europe (PARADE) consortium has completed its strategy plan (white paper), in which it evaluates the challenges of data management and proposes solutions relating to its improvement. ”A number of strong European organizations have worked together to write a strategy plan on how to improve international collaboration", says Koski. ”There are several dozen research infrastructures implemented in Europe, not to mention the new projects waiting to be launched. They all share the same need for data storage and processing. If we do not succeed in building sufficient collaboration to bridge the different fields of science, several incompatible data management systems will be generated, and it will be difficult or impossible to integrate them later. This situation must be avoided to maintain the international competiveness of European research.”

The activities proposed in the strategy are based on the actual needs of users. ”One clear conclusion is that we are not dealing with merely scientific data storage but a complete service package to increase the accessibility and usability of the data. This means that we need to consider the data’s entire life cycle and potential for use, we must create and support solutions, standards, and practices that will allow a wide gamut of uses for it”, says CSC’s Pirjo-Leena Forsström, Director, Data Services for Science and Culture.

A number of user communities from different disciplines have been participating in the strategy work. Building the efficient data services has a key role in all sciences, including linguistics. “The CLARIN language resource and technology community clearly indicated the need for a trusted and highly available pan-European infrastructure for data services that would take care of the long term preservation and accessibility of research data and that allows all researchers to easily deposit their data. The new initiative fills exactly the gap we were envisaging. Therefore CLARIN will support it”, says Peter Wittenburg from Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.

The strategy for European Data Infrastructure targets to complement to the work that is carried out by several other initiatives. One of the most visible European collaborations is Alliance for Permanent Access (APA): “The white paper provides a good overview of the unmet needs and current situation in Europe. It will be a good starting point for designing concrete actions and joint activities”, says Wouter Spek, the executive director of the Alliance for Permanent Access.

More information:

Kimmo Koski, Managing Director, CSC, tel. +358 (0)9 457 2293, kimmo.koski (at) csc.fi

Pirjo-Leena Forsström, Director, Data Services for Science and Culture, CSC, tel. +358 (0)9 457 2273, pirjo-leena.forsstrom (at) csc.fi

Strategy for a European Data Infrastructure

 

Astro-WISE/EURO-VOAstronomical Wide-field Imaging System for Europe / The European Virtual
Observatory
BSCBarcelona Supercomputer Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputacion
CINECAConsorzio Interuniversitario
CLARINCommon Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure
CSCCSC – IT Center for Science Ltd.
DIFREData Initiative for Fusion Research in Europe
ELIXIREuropean Life Sciences infrastructure for Biological Information in Europe
EMBLEuropean Molecular Biology Laboratory
ENESEuropean Network for Earth System Modelling
EPCCEdinburgh Parallel Computing Centre
ETHZEidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich - Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS)
HIPUniversity of Helsinki
JÜLICHForschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
Lifewatche-Science and Technology Infrastructure for Biodiversity Research
NCFStichting Nationale Computer Faciliteiten
PDC, KTHParallell Dator Centrum, Den Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan
PSCNInstytut Chemii Bioorganicznej Pan W Poznaniu
RUGThe Donald Smits Centre of Information Technology of the University of Groningen/ TARGET
RZGRechenzentrum Garching of the Max Planck Society and the IPP
SARAStichting Academisch Rekencentrum Amsterdam
SNICSwedish National Infrastructure for Computing
STFCScience and Technology Facilities Council
UNINETTUNINETT Sigma AS