Boosting EOSC readiness: Creating a scalable model for capacity building in RDM

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A team from the University of Belgrade (seen in the photo below) carried out the the Co-creation activity titled “Boosting EOSC readiness: Creating scalable model for capacity building in RDM” from 1 July 2020 to 1 March 2021, with their final event held on 9 March 2021. The project resulted in a web portal in Serbian language with guidelines and training materials, a Serbian Research Data Repository (SERDAR) based on the Dataverse open-source software, recommendations for the application of Argos for creation of a machine-actionable Data Management Plan (maDMP) and its translation into Serbian language, as well as recommendations for updates of open science policies with articles related to research data.

Whenever possible, co-creation results were shared publicly together with training materials, surveys performed, presentations, and video recordings from relevant meetings with stakeholders and with the community. All activities were carried out by researchers, librarians, and IT specialists. The synergistic action proved advantageous in defining a research data management ecosystem at the University of Belgrade.

University of Belgrade Team

Objectives & Challenges

The main challenge addressed by this co-creation activity is a pronounced gap in the implementation of EOSC practices between EU and non-EU Western Balkan Countries (WBC).

Progress has been made. National open science and research data policies have been defined and EOSC goals have been set for non-EU WBC. But there are many reasons for the gap: missing infrastructure and policies, and lack of skills and expertise.

The project aimed at closing this infrastructural gap by creating an ecosystem for local capacity building in Research Data Management (RDM) that is replicable, scalable, and openly available for adoption by relevant stakeholders in non-EU WBC.

Main Findings

A team of researchers, librarians, and IT specialists from the University of Belgrade produced a replicable infrastructural model that incorporated a research data repository, a web portal in the Serbian language, and localisation of selected software for the creation of maDMP. The project concluded with a final one-day online event where the project team presented results and discussed further actions with attendees from the region.

Main findings can be summarized into following three items:

  1. Partnership among librarians, researchers, and IT professionals may be essential for adopting EOSC principles. 
  2. Continuous consultation with the community and stakeholders both in person and through questionnaires is crucial in designing and developing infrastructure.
  3. The delay in the uptake of EOSC's goals and practices can be partly considered an opportunity by incorporating existing and relevant EU experiences.

Main Recommendations

For the successful creation of a scalable model for capacity building for non-EU WB countries and institutions which contributes to EOSC awareness and readiness, the following items should be designed and/or addressed:

  • A web portal with guidelines, recommendations, and training materials in the local language that conforms to the needs of local communities.
  • 2) A localised data repository based on open source technologies, with the capacity for future integration with other software tools (for publishing, for creation of maDMPs, etc.)
  • 3) A localised open source software application for creating maDMPs, that could be further utilised by national funding bodies, institutions, and researchers.

In order to enable straightforward replicability and scalability of the proposed solution, the designed model should be presented with a detailed description of all issues, sustainable solutions, and opportunities. The team from University of Belgrade believes that the proposed model could be directly applicable in all Slavic-speaking WB countries.