The major global scientific and human challenges of the 21st century (including COVID-19 and future pandemics, anthropogenic climate change, sustainable development, and disaster risk reduction) can only be addressed through cross-domain research that seeks to understand complex systems through machine-assisted analysis at scale. The digital revolution can accelerate such research by means of the Open Science paradigm comprising the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) Principles, rigorous scientific transparency, and intelligent openness. A number of governments and research funders have adopted policies promoting or requiring Open Science and the FAIR Principles and UNESCO is preparing a Recommendation on Open Science.
Several open science infrastructure initiatives are underway or emerging: these include, but are not limited to, the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), the China Science and Technology Cloud (CSTCloud), the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC), the Malaysian Open Science Platform, the African Open Science Platform, the planned broadening of LA Referencia in Latin America, as well as Canada’s NDRIO, and Germany’s NFDI, and at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Going by slightly different names, these initiatives share common features which include: achieving scientific benefits and economies of scale through shared e-Infrastructure; facilitating the adoption of Open Science practices and the implementation of the FAIR Principles; and enhancing existing domain infrastructures, while facilitating cross-domain research to address pressing societal and planetary issues.
With the aim of encouraging cooperation, and ultimately alignment and interoperability, among these and similar endeavours, the Global Open Science Cloud (GOSC) initiative will go forward as an integral part of the ISC CODATA Decadal Program ‘Making Data Work for Cross Domain Grand Challenges’. The vision for a global coordinating activity emerged from a number of discussions, including those at the 2019 CODATA Conference. A CODATA GOSC Steering Group was established to help develop the foundations for the initiative and to ensure that it is fully international. Further information on the objectives, origins and linkages of the initiative is provided at the CODATA website: Invitation to Collaborate on the Global Open Science Cloud Initiative.
The mission of GOSC will be to help connect various institutional, national, and regional initiatives, laying the foundations for cross-continental, federated, Open Science and FAIR infrastructure, and virtual research environments. GOSC will pursue its mission through thematic Working Groups addressing a number of challenges shared by Open Science Clouds (including governance and sustainability, policy and legal issues, technical alignment, and data interoperability). GOSC will also develop Case Studies of domain and cross-domain research supported by different Open Science infrastructures.
As a first step, the GOSC initiative will hold a meeting at 10:00-12:00 UTC on 28 June 2021, to introduce the initiative and to initiate the Working Groups and Case Studies. All partners and stakeholders from the GOSC community, including but not limited to leaders and contributors to Open Science infrastructure initiatives, policy makers, domain scientists, data experts, and other users are welcome to join the event in June and the GOSC initiative!