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OSTrails kick off meeting in Athens

29 February 2024

On 5-6 February 2024 in Athens, Greece, we embarked on our Open Science Trails journey. OSTrails is a 3-year Horizon Europe project, coordinated by OpenAIRE, that aims to set the necessary foundations to streamline FAIR assessment and machine actionability in the European Open Science Cloud by enhancing and connecting the Planning, Tracking, Assessing phases of research.

Data Management Plans (DMPs) play a crucial role in research, outlining researchers' intentions and supporting them in following best practices while staying organised. The RDA DMP Common Standard is adopted by various platforms and Science Europe proposes Domain Data Protocols (DDPs) to address domain-specific practices. While DMPs prove valuable, assessing them at scale is challenging. The FAIRification of DMPs is seen as a solution, with efforts made to treat them as outputs and include them in Scholarly Knowledge Graphs (SKGs). As research assessment expands beyond publications, SKGs representing scholarly knowledge could offer rich data but encounter obstacles like interoperability, semantic and syntactical heterogeneity. At the same time, the globally endorsed FAIR Principles face challenges in implementation and interpretation, especially in extending to other digital artifacts. Achieving a standardised approach for interpreting FAIR principles remains a significant hurdle.

In response to the landscape limitations, our project undertakes a “commons” approach to support the co-design and delivery of pragmatic solutions on the three pillars:

  • PLAN: to eliminate .pdfs and enhance the effectiveness of Data Management Plans by transforming them into dynamic, interconnected "machine actionable" resources.
  • TRACK: to enrich the quality and content of Scientific Knowledge Graphs to serve as evidence of FAIR implementations and research assessment.
  • ASSESS: to move the dial from FAIR assessment to FAIR assistance while providing modular and extensible FAIR tests, embedded into other RDM tools.

The consortium builds on the technical expertise, managed services and research communities of 38 partners representing 22 Research Performing Organisations (RPOs) and the 5 Science Clusters. Recognising that there is no one-size-fits-all, at the cornerstone of OSTrails are 24 pilots that will co-create, implement, validate, and adopt results in diverse national and thematic research ecosystems.

ostrails partners

The kick off meeting welcomed more than 65 in person and 100 online participants unveiling the collective interest and urge for convergence on these topics. The two-day event in Athens marked the official launch of OSTrails, and provided the opportunity for the whole consortium to get together and plan for the first year focusing on immediate deliverables. The first day was dedicated to a general introduction by the EC, EOSC-A and the coordinator and helped clarify administrative and financial logistics. It also delved into the presentations of technical work packages and supported planning of the technical priorities across the three pillars and their service implementers: Plan with DMP platforms, Track with Scientific Knowledge Graphs and Assess with FAIR assessment tools. The second day was devoted to the pilots to understand their intricacies and establish the methodology in thematic and national contexts. Similarly, the session on training and integrated competence center offered a draft plan and discussed approaches to implementing its activities with partners. Lastly, a dedicated session involving all technical partners supported first decisions and actions towards the Interoperability Reference Architecture and the Plan-Track-Assess Pathways deliverables.

Elli Papadopoulou