New 6M€ European grant awarded to ExPaNDS to drive open access data

A new 6M€ grant is being launched for the Photon and Neutron Data Services (ExPaNDS) to come together and work under the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). This ambitious project will create enormous opportunities for scientific communities, and through their findings for humankind worldwide. It aims to publish and map the data behind the thousands of successful published scientific papers generated by Europe’s Photon and Neutron Research Infrastructures (PaN RIs) – which every year create petabytes of data – and make it available to all.

ExPaNDS partners meet at the grant kick-off meeting in September 2019

Professor Volker Gülzow IT Director at DESY explains:

There is a wealth of data behind all the scientific papers that are published each year. However, it is increasingly difficult to get access to all this valuable information. We propose to make this data accessible through the European Open Science Cloud so that it’s potential benefits can be fully explored and exploited by scientists and the public alike. In this age of data driven science this is an important step to accelerating new advances in science from European photon and neutron research infrastructure.

The project brings together a network of ten national PaN RIs from across Europe as well as EGI, a federated e-Infrastructure set up to provide advanced computing services for research. It will deliver added value data science services through the EOSC framework. The EOSC currently provides a range of services that fits the ever-increasing need of scientific experiments held at various PaN RI’s across Europe. These needs are driven by modern detector technology that is delivering very high data rates for individual experiments.

Prof Helmut Dosch, Chair of the League of European Accelerator-based Photon Sources (LEAPS) and Director of the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron in Hamburg adds:

According to data from League of European Accelerator-based Photon Sources (LEAPS), these user communities now have over 23,400 unique articles published in peer-reviewed journals, and more than 24,000 direct users, and with the addition of the Neutron community these numbers increase further. Users expect high quality data analysis services from our respective Research Institutes (RI), and want services to be standardised, interoperable and integrated as time on instruments is often granted to users at different RIs. This new collaboration supported by the European Commission forms a strategic positioning to help LEAPS move towards greater unification of our facilities to the benefit of the scientific community

The primary goal of ExPaNDS – the harmonisation of metadata, interoperability of services and standardization – has become of the utmost importance. This not only simplifies and improves the user experience, but also opens up access to new groups of academic and industrial users, with little or no previous experience in these fields. A distributed, but federated, cloud-based environment would also allow for harmonised access, and more importantly, easy data sharing. ExPaNDS members will collaboratively strive to realise the EU’ s Fifth Freedom: to create free movement of knowledge, equipping members to better engage with new initiatives.

Professor Helmut Schober Chair of the League of European Neutron Sources (LENS) concludes:

Photon and neutron facilities have a long-standing history of collaboration on creating advances in human knowledge by exploiting always more complex data sets using increasingly sophisticated analysis tools.
I am pleased to see that the commission recognizes the importance of this work by funding ExPaNDS, which will further enhance this strategic partnership.


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