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Restrictive Policies a Barrier to Cross-Border Open Science – Open Science in the Nordics: Legal Insights published


The most recent deliverable from EOSC-Nordic Work Package on Legal Issues, Policies, and Sustainability is out! By engaging with four use cases developed in Work Package 5 of EOSC-Nordic, the deliverable provides insights into the legal and legislation related issues confronted by cross-border research.

The fundamental goal of EOSC is to support European research by promoting the sharing of research data sets, enabling data reuse and collaboration. For this to happen, legal frameworks and processes must be in place, in particular, when data sharing happens across borders. Deliverable 2.3: Open Science in the Nordics: Legal Insights is a case-based study of legal frameworks and their impact on cross-border research data collaboration. The study aims to inform policymakers about the sharing and safe processing of open and sensitive data across borders. The study will also support the evolution of EOSC Governance by supporting EOSC Implementation and complements the work of the FAIR Working Group in assessing the European legal framework for EOSC.

Based on data sharing in use cases PM Heart, NorMedPregCCC, NICEST 2, and DeepDive, there are three main takeaways from the study. When sharing data, compliance with the regulation on personal data protection, intellectual property rights, and licensing must be taken into account. This restricts the sharing of in particular sensitive data such as medical records. However, maybe surprisingly, the study finds that in many situations, in many cases, legislation is not a barrier to cross-border data sharing for research.

The study finds that organizations often have policies for data sharing more restrictive the required by legislation. Reasons for this include lack of perceived benefit of sharing, perceived risk of exposure, and lack of legal insight and expertise. As a result, researchers might not be encouraged to share data due to the lack of benefits or legal expertise. To avoid such barriers to cross-border data sharing related to legal process and policy, a clear legal framework for data sharing is required to promote pre-defined policies in data ownership and rights and create a culture of data sharing and encourage less protective polities of the data custodians. For this to happen, support is required for tackling legal issues and processes by both research institutions and individual researchers. Having such support in place may be essential to reach the goals of EOSC.

This deliverable is the first one of two EOSC-Nordic deliverables studying the legislative framework related to EOSC activities. The next deliverable will provide policy recommendations.

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