Open Science Commons

Open Science Commons – report from the Lisbon meeting

Open Science Commons – report from the Lisbon meeting

By Tiziana Ferrari, Technical Director of

The EGI Conference 2015 hosted the first full day workshop on the Open Science Commons. The main goal was to discuss the vision, how it can be improved, how it relates to existing initiatives and how the Open Science Commons can harmonize them to effectively tackle the challenges of Open Science in Europe.

As rapporteur I was pleased to see how the participants engaged in a vivid discussion demonstrating how the realization of the Open Science commons today is still an open objective requiring the participation of a vast community of stakeholders, which needs organization and coordination to produce tangible results.

During the workshop funding agencies, policy makers, and representatives of research infrastructures and national and international e-Infrastructures contributed to an active discussion of the Open Science Commons. The policy received unanimous support, which is very good to see. The participants however agreed that different existing European initiatives need to be harmonized and the  Open Science Commons need a clear ownership, governance and implementation plan.

We look forward to receiving your feedback to the summary of themes and recommendations below.

Themes and Recommendations

Speakers (in alphabetical order):
BB – Bruce Becker (National Coordinator at the South African National Grid, SAGrid)
BF – Brett Frischmann (Professor and Director of the Intellectual Property and Information Law, Cardozo Law School)
JC – José Cotta (Head of Unit for Digital Science, DG Connect, EC)
MC – Massimo Cocco (Coordinator of the European Plate Observation System)
SN – Sami Niinimaki (Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland)
SA – Sergio Andreozzi (Strategy & Policy Manager,
SB – Sergio Bertolucci (Director for Research and Computing, CERN)
SH – Sverker Holmgren (Chair, European e-Infrastructure Reflection Group, e-IRG)
WL – Weiner Lusoli (Policy Officer, DG Research and Innovation at the EC)

Open Science Commons (OSC)

The Open Science Commons received resounding support from the speakers and audience, as it is aligns well and expands ongoing policy activities, for example lead by the EC, e-IRG and ESFRI.
– The further development of the policy requires the full involvement of Member States (SH)
– The Commons defined as “resource management/governance institutions that enable sustainable shared use of certain resources within a community” can be beneficial in many sectors, but not necessarily in all, it is important to analyse in which cases the Commons need to be applied (BF)


The realize the openness of Science in the Commons, the governance needs to be inclusive: data providers, Research Infrastructures and e-Infrastructures as service providers, but also scientists and citizens, funding agencies and government, industry, education and professional trainers (SN, MC, BB).
– Open Science has not yet established a governance in Europe (JC, WL)
– Besides being inclusive, the governance of the OSC needs to reflect the federated nature of Europe and of the Commons. There is a need for “nested Commons”, various best practices of nested Commons exist, these need to be analysed to see how they can be applied to the European context of research, where the Commons are being developed in silos (BF, SA, SH).
– A common vocabulary and agreed definition of “Infrastructure” is necessary to distinguish between baseline general-purpose services and community-specific services that benefit from the infrastructure commons (BF, SH).
– The Commons need to be participatory, a bottom up approach is needed to allow communities to build Commons, in the context of a regulated system (BB, WL).
– A project to carry out a design study to define the best practices of nested Commons, to provide guidelines and principles would be beneficial (SH, SA, MC).

Ownership, Community building and Coordination

– The development of the OSC requires the establishment of an organization that is willing to take ownership of the policy, willing to coordinate it and lead community building activities, as engagement of the users is paramount (JC, SH, MC, SB).
– Ownership is important to coordinate the OSC implementation (SH, JC, WL).

Need for an OSC Implementation roadmap and communication strategy

– The OSC is very comprehensive and an implementation plan for the short term (2 years) is necessary, identifying priorities (MC), and leveraging the national roadmaps where available (SN).
– A phased approach is needed (BB).
– What is the maturity level in supporting the Commons and Open Science? this requires continuous assessment (SN)


– There is a general need for transnational access to infrastructures across Europe allowing for shared access of jointly provided services to increase utilization and efficiency, aggregate demand and create economies of scale (MC, SN, SA).
– There is a need for the definition/harmonization of access policies and cross-border coordinated capacity management.

Sustainability and Funding

It is important to establish the principles of sustainability for the long-term funding of the Commons. This is linked to the definition of the economic value of the Commons: closed community infrastructures vs the Commons (BF, SB, MC).
– The socio-economic impact of the OSC needs to be understood (MC, SN), procurement schemes for capacity management nationally and internationally need to be established (MC, SN, SB).
– The OSC business models need to be defined.
– National funding is important as stimulus (SN) and for capacity building (BB).
– Investments from private sector are necessary (BB).

Technical integration and standards

Not only a nested multi-level governance is needed for the realization of the OSC, but also technical interoperability based on standards adoption for integrated service provisioning (SA, SH)

Data commons

– Importance of sharing but with an eye on ethics and European data regulations
– data discoverability, accessibility, interoperability and reuse -> the OSC need to provide services in each of these areas
– Training and education are needed for the use of data for multi-disciplinary purposes, and the realization of the Knowledge Commons.


Currently policies are helping opening the results of the research process, need of policies for opening the entire life cycle of science (SA, SN).