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Enabling Open Science in Europe with data, software and the compute continuum

Tiziana Ferrari
Updated 26/10/2022

How are the EGI Foundation and the federation participants supporting Open Science today? What does Open Science mean in practice in scientific computing? These are some reflections emerging from the participation of the EGI director, Tiziana Ferrari, in the EOSC Tripartite Open Science Day which took place in Ljubjana on October 11, 2022.

The following text is based on the content originally posted on LinkedIn. In support of Open Science, Tiziana Ferrari also gave the keynote speech “Fostering open research infrastructure: Best practices and opportunities” during the first international conference "Open Science and Innovation in Ukraine".

First of all, the implementation of the vision of large-scale distributed computing in science has been possible in the last 15 years primarily thanks to the opening of national and institutional digital computing facilities. Open distributed computing infrastructures around the globe allowed international scientific collaborations were possible thanks to the pooling of national and institutional facilities. And ever since, expanding international hyperscale federated infrastructure has become a reference tool in science, where data could be shared, processed and analyzed at the needed scale. Open computing infrastructures made data sharing across national and organizational borders possible, improving the accuracy and reproducibility of scientific discoveries. However, the impact of open infrastructures is not limited to excellence in science. At times of crisis, open computing infrastructures can help tackle societal challenges at a planetary scale. During the COVID-19 pandemic, e-Infrastructures such as EGI and Open Science Grid increased their joint efforts to support the WeNMR community and increased the computing time available for molecular docking simulations, with the ambitious goal of accelerating the discovery of new treatments for extreme COVID-19 cases. The ultimate goal of this effort has been to gain time against the pandemic and save human lives. Since then, the community of biologists using simulation tools from WeNMR has been steadily growing and reaching the incredible result of more than 32000 registered users. The lesson learnt is that open infrastructures, when operating as a system of collaborating initiatives and when enriched by data and data analytics tools, can significantly accelerate time to discoveries. Open infrastructures can also be a means to support scientific communities in times of war. With the Ukrainian Grid Initiative, EGI is in conversation on how part of the computing and storage facilities federated in EGI can be opened to Ukrainian scientific collaborations, who no longer have a local infrastructure supporting them. Science has no borders. With open science, we can tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow.