EOSC as a ‘driver’ for the Open Science Movement

Cecilie Maagaard Winther

European Open Science Cloud and the EOSC Association will work as a driver for the open science effort in the Nordic and Baltic countries, expects the Nordic director in the EOSC Association.Wilhelm Widmark, Library Director, Stockholm University

According to the newly-elected EOSC Association Director, Library Director Wilhelm Widmark from Stockholm University, EOSC will help drive the open science movement forward. Both because it concretises the concept of open science but also because it highlights the ideas for the governments in Europe.

Wilhelm Widmark from Sweden has been chosen as one of eight Directors of the EOSC Association and he is the representative for the Nordic and Baltic countries.

“The Nordic and Baltic countries are doing open science in different ways, but the movement is going forward in all countries, hopefully EOSC can be more of a driver and accelerate the process,” says Wilhelm Widmark.

He sees EOSC as a good driver that elevates the discussion to a new level and propels the countries to be more concrete and to come together in the work with open science.

The Nordics as a good example

In general, the Nordic and Baltic countries are doing well in relation to open science, and according to Wilhelm Widmark we got a great head start with the work regarding Open Access and now FAIR data. But the Nordic and Baltic countries could still be better at collaborating on open science.

“The Nordic countries are used to working together, we have similar cultures and we are used to have a lot of cross-border interactions, so we can be a good example within the European context on how different countries can work together,” says Wilhelm Widmark.

Call for more universities to join

However, Wilhelm Widmark wants to encourage more people, universities, organisations and infrastructure providers to join the EOSC Association.

“It is important that our region get involved in the EOSC Association, there are not that many universities from the Nordic countries that have joined the association. I think it would be good if more universities joined and we had a common discussion within the Nordic countries about EOSC and how we can contribute to EOSC,” he says.

He finds it important, that we spread the word about EOSC in the Nordic countries.

“There is a lot of work to do. I don’t think many of the researchers in the Nordic countries know about EOSC, so we have to talk more about EOSC and how the researchers can contribute to EOSC, and what they can gain from EOSC,” says Wilhelm Widmark.

The EOSC-Nordic project can have a real impact here to advance the adoption of EOSC among the Nordic and Baltic researchers.

The Open Science movement

He sees the European Open Science Cloud as part of a movement, both bottom-up and top-down.

“The governments have goals for open science, and so does specially the European Commission, but most importantly I think it is a movement from the researchers that want to have more quality within research so they can do better research, that they can ultimately share and thereby help their communities,” he says.

He expects the EOSC Association to be a driver to come together within Europe to create a service for the researchers and to get more quality in research.

A lot of work ahead for the association

The EOSC Association first became a thing in December, and they have their work cut out for them.

“We are working to get everything in order. We are building the offices, we are setting up advisory groups, task forces and recruiting a Secretary General among other things,” says Wilhelm Widmark.

For the future he believes one of the tasks for the EOSC Association is to make sure the projects in horizon Europe get connected to the EOSC Association.

“I think it is really spread out with different project right now, we have to get everything together, it is evolving, but it will take some time,” he says.

Wilhelm Widmark additionally explains that one of the challenges of the open science movement overall in Europe is to build the infrastructure and the cross-border connections, which will cost both a lot of money and energy.

Read more about the EOSC Association in this article.