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Creating a successful European Digital Single Market requires open science, open innovation, open scholarship and open infrastructures

Finnish MEP Henna Virkkunen and Scottish MEP Catherine Stihler co-hosted a meeting on Open innovation, open scholarship and open infrastructures – insights to the European Digital Single Market to understand from a group of European stakeholders how these three areas can and must be a strong component of a winning European Digital Single Market.

Three leading experts, John Wood – Association of Commonwealth Universities, Sandra Collins – National Library of Ireland and Kimmo Koski – Finnish IT Center for Science, call for a set of actions and interventions from the European Parliament, in order to support more jobs for Europe, improve democracy and citizen power and exploit innovation.

Additionally the Cabinet of Commissioner Günther Oettinger, represented at the meeting by Marlene Holzner, Communication Advisor, emphasized the urgency around the European Supercomputing capacity as a means for processing and exploiting the growing volumes of data, and the financial resources that are necessary to implement the HPC strategy, including paying for the infrastructure required.

Ms. Holzner also touched on the imminent European Open Science Cloud with legislative aspects that are very important to bear in mind, which tied well with repeated warnings from John Wood about being careful not regulate what is not yet understood: data regulation can cause serious barriers for innovation and job creation. Open science and open innovation IS and MUST remain a free and global market, and in terms of regulation, it is wiser to proceed in small steps.

MEP Henna Virkkunen, sensitive to the recurring theme of trust, reminded participants of the difficult balance between trust and regulation and how politicians fight a constant battle to find the correct balance so as not to overregulate and at the same time ensure a highly competitive European Union.

All three speakers underlined that the European Digital Single Market needs joint commitment, collaboration and concrete actions in order to reach the common vision of creating better access for consumers and business to online goods and services across Europe. Clearly, it requires new inventions and research to enable the successful creation of new innovations in Europe. Sustainable infrastructures are key to allow researchers, citizens and society to profit from the scientific data created all over Europe. As MEP Catherine Stihler mentioned, examples from e.g. Great Britain show, that modernizing copyright law to enable text and data mining for research, can be implemented without endangering the commercial rights of the data owners.

Now Europe has an opportunity to be the forerunner in creating this unique possibility for new inventions, jobs and prosperity. Concrete actions must be taken to make it happen. Policy and legislation play a key role in enabling the full use of skills and resources through digitalization and open data infrastructures. The rapid and dramatic changes happening in the way research is conducted require new ways of thinking and acting, and the Digital Single Market can be a game changer if we build it in a way that provides support, rather than regulation for open science, infrastructures and innovation. The key question is: will Europe get its share? Europe’s competitiveness is at stake, so now is the time to act.

The clear and decisive request to the European Parliament was to take the following measures:

1. Review and modernise copyright: Europe needs a copyright exception for text and data mining. Data protection and copyright should not create barriers to open science and research.

2. Support a code of conduct for ethical data practice that would build trust in data research.

3. Ensure that skills in data processing and data management are sufficiently supported in the DSM: Europe needs skills education on all levels, across all scientific fields. Teachers need to be educated as well.

4. Ensure sustainable funding: Making sure Horizon 2020 is successful and working, and creating new funding models for open science infrastructures (through e.g. structural funding) and venture funding to support business exploiting open science.

5. Support a code of conduct for e-Infrastructure service providers, aiming at creating trust between ICT and research in building user-driven, interoperable services that build upon existing e-Infrastructures, e.g. in the emerging European Open Science Cloud for Research.

6. Enable seamless access for researchers to research infrastructures.

7. Support promotion and adoption of common standards and protocols for all resources and digital services.

8. Acknowledge the importance of exploring the societal impact and implications of the Digital Single Market, in order to further exploit the potential of innovation, and to identify challenges and risks, and to find best ways to tackle them.

In her closing remarks, MEP Catherine Stihler underlined how copyright modernisation is an extremely sensitive and difficult issue which really requires a strong drive from the parliament side. She asked all stakeholders to help by sensitising their local MEPs and raise their awareness on how important this is for the success of the European Digital Single Market.

The complete statements can be viewed at:

Further information:

Trust-IT Services Ltd., Director, Hilary Hanahoe, h.hanahoe@trust-itservices.com

CSC-IT Center for Science Ltd., Senior Specialist, Irina Kupiainen, irina.kupiainen@csc.fi

This event is facilitated by Research Data Alliance Europe (RDA Europe), the European plug in to the global Research Data Alliance (RDA).  Launched in March 2013, RDA is an international organisation built on the volunteer and self-formed collaboration between data practitioners with a vision of openly sharing data across technologies, disciplines, and countries to address the grand challenges of society. Scientists, researchers and innovators join forces with technical experts in focused Working Groups and exploratory Interest Groups to build the social and technical bridges to enable open sharing of data on a global level. RDA has a broad, committed membership of individuals – now more than almost 3,300 from 104 countries. Membership is free and open to all on www.rd-alliance.org. The Research Data Alliance is supported by The Australian Commonwealth Government through the Australian National Data Service, the European Commission’s 7th Framework and Horizon 2020 Programmes through the different RDA Europe project phases and The National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health & Sloan Foundation, USA.


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