Ron Dekker writes about how good communication are crucial to the EOSC-hub strategy and the success of EOSC
Last Sunday was the last Formula 1 race in Abu Dhabi. After the race, there was a concert by Guns ‘n Roses. Their song ‘Civil War’ starts with ‘What we’ve got here is failure to communicate’. Communication is essential in Formula 1 – Max Verstappen screw up his qualifying because his message to have 5oC cooler tyres wasn’t picked up by his team. Miscommunication in a team that can replace tyres in 2.0 seconds.
I started the week in Dagstuhl – Germany, with a three-day workshop on Implementing FAIR. Research Infrastructures met with Computer Scientists. We had nice results, but we needed half of the time to align our languages and terminology. On Thursday, I had the CESSDA General Assembly in Lausanne – essentially a meeting of Service Providers and Policy Officers from Ministries and Research Councils. Discussion on ‘Impact’ revealed that both groups have quite different interpretations and expectations.
On Friday, there was the official start of the European Open Science Cloud in Vienna. Many wonderful examples – from politics, policy and different sciences. I am honoured to be on the EOSC Executive Board – with representatives from research infrastructures, funders, ICT, universities. I think one of our first tasks is to get aligned – on goals, governance, approach, starting up working groups, operations, etc. There is so much out there: existing research infrastructures, questions from researchers, excellent reports on Implementing EOSC, on FAIR and other topics, and expectations by different stakeholders. One of the exec board’s challenges is to get out the message on what EOSC is, and explain where we want to be and how we will operate.
Later that day, I chaired the first meeting of the Strategic Board of the EOSC-hub project. Five (out of six) research infrastructures kicked off with the EOSC-hub project management team. One of our main questions was about the positioning of the project within EOSC, followed by the relationship with the research and enhanced infrastructures. How can we team up?
We must not underestimate the role of communication, especially for complex projects – like EOSC. If we fail this from the start, we won’t succeed in realising this federated infrastructure that should benefit researchers in Europe and beyond. For me EOSC is about serving research, for example by providing trust into infrastructure systems; but it is also about developing viable and sustainable business models to connect existing and new infrastructures. EOSC is about connecting – infrastructures, disciplines, science with industry, etc. But we must go out and communicate the message.
Ron Dekker is director of CESSDA ERIC and Chair of the EOSC-hub Strategy Board.