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eInfraCentral Newsletter - Issue three

eInfraCentral takes one of the leading roles in the European Open Science Cloud

eInfraCentral is one of the key elements of the future European Open Science Cloud, the European Open Science Cloud, alongside projects EOSC-hub and OpenAIRE-Advance. The work done by the eInfraCentral team since January 2017 in building the service catalogue and portal for European e-services and e-infrastructures to support researchers is recognised in the Implementation Roadmap for the European Open Science Cloud. The Commission Communication was published on 14th March 2018, and the key initiatives are already working on possible ways to collaborate. They will present their progress on EOSC services, architecture, access, rules and data at the 2nd EOSC Summit on 11th June 2018 in Brussels.

eInfraCentral’s role and the benefits of its work are being recognised at national level too. In developing their own catalogue of services, the Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education is considering using the Service Description Template developed by eInfraCentral. The 2020 ICT Strategy, approved in 2017, captures the Portuguese government's vision for the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in public administration (PA) over the next four years. The action plan which follows from the Ministry’s strategy establishes the publication of catalogues of services, including pricing and service levels for different government areas. The Ministry’s sectoral plan contains the measure "To make available a catalogue of services with online requisition capacity", which establishes, as a first phase, a catalogue aimed exclusively at government services in the science sector. 

Discover the beta version of the eInfraCentral Portal

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eInfraCentral is expanding its service catalogue: Register your e-services!

In line with our mission to bring e-infrastructure users and service providers closer together in the EOSC framework, the eInfraCentral project has defined and developed a service catalogue for European e-infrastructures and e-services. During 2017 we worked towards a common, more user-centric service definition and service provisioning framework. In November 2017, the team launched the beta version of the eInfraCentral Portal that features services from major European e-infrastructures EGI, EUDAT, GÉANT, OpenAIRE, and PRACE.

We are now actively working to extend the Portal to services offered by other providers. From February 2018, the team has been in contact with over 30 EU-funded projects to introduce eInfraCentral’s mission and vision and to explain how the eInfraCentral Portal can bring benefits to e-service providers and the wider researcher community. We encourage all providers of e-services (whether operating at European or national levels) to become part of the eInfraCentral community and benefit from access to an extended user base. 

If you would like to find out more about the process, please contact us at contact@eInfraCentral.eu. 

The webinars cover the following topics:

  • Topic 1: A standard Service Description Template to allow for structured service descriptions by e-Infrastructures and service presentation templates for listings, portals, registries, etc. 
  • Topic 2: A harmonised and aggregated service catalogue already populated with more than 70 services, plus recommendations for effective service descriptions and representations.
  • Topic 3: The beta version of the eInfraCentral Portal and the varied functionality already in place to support service providers and users.
  • Topic 4: The registration process of an e-infrastructure service provider on the Portal and the registration of services.
  • Topic 5: The methods under development for harvesting service descriptions and the interoperability interfaces (APIs) for the automatic provisioning and synchronisation.

The eInfraCentral team will assist service providers in achieving high maturity in their Service Descriptions. They will also provide e-Infrastructures with an assessment report and a label that service providers may use in their project reviews and communications towards their stakeholders.

Become a part of this growing community at the heart of EOSC! 

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“eInfraCentral will play a foundational role,” says Michelle Williams, Service Product Manager, GÉANT

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What is GÉANT’s role in eInfraCentral? 
As one of the partners in the eInfraCentral project, GÉANT and its partners are working with eInfraCentral to ensure that information and access to e-infrastructure services across Europe is as open as possible and that users are able to make effective, informed choices. 

How do you see future provision of e-services and the role of eInfraCentral here?
As the breadth and depth of e-infrastructures expands then eInfraCentral will play a foundational role in enabling the discovery and exploration of these services and enhancing easy access, to the greater benefit of European Research and Education.

What is the role of GÉANT in the European e-infrastructures arena?
GÉANT and its members empower the world’s researchers, educators and students. By providing the highest performance networks and access to state-of-the-art cloud and AAI services, we connect and support research communities, foster innovation and enable knowledge-sharing so that all of society can benefit from open research and inclusive education.

GÉANT ensures equal network access for all scientists across Europe to the research infrastructures and the e-infrastructure resources available to them. GÉANT is fundamental to European e-infrastructures, delivering the pan-European GÉANT network for scientific excellence, research, education and innovation. Through its connectivity, collaboration and identity services, GÉANT, together with its NREN partners, provides users with highly reliable, unconstrained access to communication, computing, analysis, storage, applications and other resources, whenever and wherever needed.

Learn more

 

“The eInfraCentral’s Service Description Template meets the needs of the demanding context and market,” 
says Donatella Castelli, Senior Researcher at CNR-ISTI and coordinator of BlueBRIDGE

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What is the role of eInfraCentral in BlueBRIDGE?
The BlueBRIDGE project (Building research environments fostering Innovation, Decision making, Governance and Education for Blue Growth) is a Horizon 2020 funded project delivering tailored data management services to different communities and stakeholders. It builds on existing data and computing infrastructures in order to inject new capacity and offer innovative solutions for increasing the scientific understanding of the marine environment, its living resources, and its economy with the aim of providing a better ground for informed advice to competent authorities and involved stakeholders. BlueBRIDGE has recently released its catalogue describing resources ranging from datasets to services and virtual research environments (VREs). The catalogue has emerged as a key service for BlueBRIDGE a necessary means to promote the uptake and sustainability of its outcomes. For service resources, this catalogue uses the eInfraCentral Service Description Template.

Why did you choose to use the eInfraCentral Service Description Template for building your catalogue?
A large part of the potential market of the BlueBRIDGE services is composed of operational organisations and SMEs. They pay a lot of attention to the quality of the services and to the conditions of usage. The eInfraCentral Service Description format is largely suitable for meeting the needs of this demanding context and market. Among the many benefits, the choice to go with the eInfraCentral template also facilitates the publishing of BlueBRIDGE services in the eInfraCentral catalogue and portal, which is of great importance for reaching additional market sectors. The BlueBRIDGE catalogue also displays its service descriptions in alignment with standards protocols, making them suitable for catalogue content alignment that eInfraCentral plans to support in the near future, such as harvesting service descriptions from existing infrastructure catalogues. 

What are the main outcomes of your project and what’s next?
The BlueBRIDGE as a project ended in February 2018. Its outcomes include 66 VREs and a variety of services that can be exploited also by third-party users in a controlled way. Both the VREs and services have been developed to respond to the demand of a variety of stakeholders including researchers, scientists serving public authorities, SMEs, educators and students and, to some extent, also citizens. The next update of the eInfraCentral Portal will include the services resulting from the BlueBRIDGE activity, giving further visibility to them. Of course, the services will be described according to the guidelines and template created by eInfraCentral.
 

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The eInfraCentral API is now available – Test it and give us your feedback!

The first version of the Application Programming Interface (API v1.0) specification of the eInfraCentral Portal is already available at beta.einfracentral.eu/developers. The community is cordially invited to test the APIs and provide feedback.

The e-infrastructure community recognises that a common approach to describing and exchanging service-related information is the way forward to increase accessibility, discoverability, interoperability, aggregation, monitoring and comparability of services. 

The eInfraCentral API is an interoperability interface for the automatic provision and synchronisation of information about a service from service providers to the eInfraCentral Portal, implemented as a collection of REST methods. The API also supports the provision of catalogue information to third-party systems in order to enable the development of added-value services on top of this catalogue. 

Service providers can use the API to populate the eInfraCentral Portal with service-related information, whereas catalogue consumers can retrieve service-related and other information collected on the eInfraCentral Portal and integrate it into their applications.
 

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Test the API and send us your thoughts!

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Did you know?

*     The Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education is considering using the Service Description Template developed by eInfraCentral for the development of their catalogue of services.
*     A survey among e-infrastructure service providers in 2017 showed that as many as 75% of them face challenges in increasing the visibility of their services.
*     59% of researchers said that they have faced difficulties trying to find the right digital service to support their research work.
*     You can already search, browse, view and compare e-services on the beta version of the eInfraCentral Portal – no registration needed!

 

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Discover the new @eInfraCentral video

“Europe’s research community needs its own information exchange. The new eInfraCentral Portal meets this need by defining a common catalogue for their services.” Jelena Angelis, Project Manager of eInfraCentral

Watch the project video! https://youtu.be/9I8CTTI0RJc!

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eInfraCentral at key events in Europe


EUDAT Conference – Putting the EOSC vision into practice

22-25 January 2018
Porto, Portugal

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The eInfraCentral project took part in the EUDAT conference on 22-25 January in Porto, Portugal. eInfraCentral was one of the few projects that were selected to set up a demo stand, where conference guests had a chance to explore the beta version of the eInfraCentral Portal in the coffee and lunch breaks. To add to the visual message, the eInfraCentral poster was on display throughout the duration of the conference, and was presented at the ‘one-minute madness session’ on the first day. 


Kick Off of the OpenAIRE-Advance H2020 project

17-19 January 2018
Athens, Greece

At the OpenAIRE-Advance Kick Off meeting, eInfraCentral organised a one-hour focus group meeting to demonstrate, and gather feedback on, the eInfraCentral Portal. George Papastefanatos and Vivi Katifori from the eInfraCentral team explained the different features of the Portal to the participants, who in return provided some useful feedback regarding its usability and offered functionality. Potential users of the Portal were very positive about its design and recognised how eInfraCentral can meet their information needs as researchers looking for e-services.


RDA’s 11th Plenary Meeting

21-23 March 2018
Berlin, Germany

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While RDA, is focused on improving the sharing of research data across borders, there was strong interest shown in the European Open Science Cloud at RDA’s 11th Plenary Meeting in Berlin, 21-23 March. During the "birds of a feather” session "EOSC-related European Projects getting Global: Engaging with the RDA” OpenAIRE’s Paolo Manghi flagged the coordinating role eInfraCentral is playing in creating an “aggregating catalogue" for EOSC services and other, more specialised, service catalogues; and EUDAT’s Rob Baxter highlighted the rising importance of data services. Services which can respond to complex queries, which can provide data in standardised formats with well-defined metadata and licence information, and which can be hooked together into complex workflows across national and international infrastructures are exactly the type of research tool that RDA aims to realise — and exactly the sorts of service to be found in a rich service catalogue like eInfraCentral. 

EOSC-hub Week

16-20 April 2018
Malaga, Spain

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As one of the core initiatives behind making the European Open Science Cloud a reality, eInfraCentral took part in the public days of the EOSC-hub Week held on 16-20 April 2018 in Malaga, Spain. EInfraCentral’s Project Coordinator, Alasdair Reid from EFIS Centre, gave a presentation on shaping the upcoming EOSC Portal, and the part that eInfraCentral, OpenAIRE-Advance and EOSC-hub are expected to play in it. In addition, the presentation covered the EOSC policy context, core elements and personas of the EOSC Portal, and next steps planned for 2018. You can view and download the slides here.

 

e-IRG workshop

14-15 May 2018
Sofia, Bulgaria 


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Nearly 100 participants attended the e-IRG workshop on 14-15 May in Sofia, Bulgaria. The workshop had three main topics: challenges resulting from big data for HPC; progress in EOSC development; and the use of European Structural Investment Funds for e-Infrastructures in the Southeast European and Mediterranean region. The first phase of the EOSC Implementation Roadmap includes six action lines and eInfraCentral plays an important role in contributing to this implementation. All presentations are available online: http://e-irg.eu/workshop-2018-05-programme

PRACEdays18 at the European HPC Summit Week

29-31 May 2018
Ljubljana, Slovenia

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PRACEdays18, part of the European HPC Summit Week, was hosted by PRACE’s Slovenian Member ULFME – University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. The conference brought together experts from academia and industry who presented their advancements in HPC-supported science and engineering. EInfraCentral was also present at the event with a banner, flyers, and a poster.

 

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Come and meet the eInfraCentral team – Save the date!

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The eInfraCentral team will be organising, co-locating at or participating in a number of events during the summer and autumn of 2018. Come and meet us to find out more, and contribute to the development of the service catalogue and the eInfraCentral Portal.


June 2018

*     2nd EOSC Summit 2018: from vision to implementation, 11 June, Brussels (Belgium)
EInfraCentral was invited to attend and present at the 2nd EOSC Summit. The participants (incl. eInfraCentral) will share information on relevant activities and commitments and to reflect on the steps ahead to ensure an effective implementation of the EOSC.


*     TNC18 – Intelligent networks, cool edges?, 10-14 June, Trondheim (Norway)
On 11th June the eInfraCentral team will be giving a lightning talk at TNC18. It will provide a snapshot of the challenges that European researchers and e-infrastructure providers face, and outline the solutions offered by eInfraCentral. The session will be held from 14.00 to 15.30.
 
September 2018

*     ICRI 2018 – 4th International Conference on Research Infrastructures. 12-14 September, Vienna (Austria)
The conference focuses on international cooperation for research infrastructures and provides a forum for strategic discussion around the theme. Participation by invitation only.

October 2018

*     DI4R – Digital Infrastructures for Research 2018, 9-11 October, Lisbon (Portugal)
This year’s theme at DI4R is ‘Challenges for Research Communities Around Open Science’. The call for abstracts is now open, deadline for submissions is 29 June.

*     EaPEC 2018 – 3rd Eastern Partnership E-infrastructures Conference, 17-18 October, Chisinau (Moldova)
EaPEC 2018 will focus on e-infrastructures for open science in Europe and aims to serve as a platform for collaboration on policy and research, strengthening community building efforts between the Eastern Partnership region and EU member states.

*     IEEE eScience 2018, 29 October – 1 November, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
IEEE eScience 2018 brings together leading international researchers and offers a platform for digital technologies to advance research - from the humanities to the physical sciences.

November 2018

*     EOSC event under the Austrian Presidency, 23 November, Vienna (Austria)

 

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