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Project plans to tackle data deluge

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The EUDAT project is targeting a pan-European solution to the challenge of data proliferaion in Europe's scientific and research communities. Aiming to contribute to the production of a Collaborative Data Infrastructure driven by researchers' needs, the project is coordinated by CSC - IT Center for Science, Finland, and co-funded by the European Commission's Framework Programme 7.

EUDAT aims to provide Europe's scientific and research communities with a sustainable pan-European infrastructure for improved access to scientific data. Burgeoning volumes of valuable and complex data – newly available from powerful new scientific instruments, simulations and digitisation of library resources – represents a fantastic opportunity for science, but has created new challenges related to data management, access and preservation. EUDAT aims to address these challenges and exploit the opportunities using its vision of a Collaborative Data Infrastructure.

The EUDAT consortium comprises 25 European partners, including data centres, technology providers, research communities and funding agencies from 13 countries, who will work together to deliver a Collaborative Data Infrastructure that can sustainably meet future researchers' needs.

'EUDAT will fill an important gap in the current European e-Infrastructure landscape,' said Dr Kimmo Koski, CSC managing director and EUDAT project coordinator. 'We aim to develop a generic infrastructure for scientific data management that can used by a diversity of research communities and existing infrastructures.

'This can only be achieved through a systematic and focused approach covering the entire life cycle of data objects, and by encouraging collaboration between the various stakeholders and in particular between the communities involved in designing specific services and the data centres willing to provide generic solutions,' said Dr Koski. 'Our ultimate aim is to develop a high-quality, cost-efficient and sustainable pan-European data ecosystem, driven by European research needs and user communities.'

The EUDAT partners include key representatives from research communities in linguistics (CLARIN), earth sciences (EPOS), climate sciences (ENES), environmental sciences (LIFEWATCH), and biological and medical sciences (VPH), all of which have been allocated project resources to help specify their requirements and co-design related services. Other communities have joined EUDAT as associate members, representing 15 research disciplines across all major fields of science.

EUDAT scientific coordinator Peter Wittenburg, from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics at Nijmegen, the Netherlands, said EUDAT will open considerable new opportunities for research communities. 'Beyond offering common services such as data hosting and preservation, EUDAT is paving the way towards integrated and interoperable access to data and, in doing so, will facilitate new science and allow efficient knowledge creation,' said Wittenburg. 'It is this double opportunity that makes the EUDAT initiative so interesting for research communities and infrastructures.'

Wittenburg stressed, however, that the challenges of integration, interoperability, data life cycle management and trust building would involve a continuous and global discussion process. 'EUDAT is calling for the contributions of all stakeholders interested in adapting their solutions or contributing to the design of the CDI. The EUDAT user forums and the Data Access and Interoperability Task Force (DAITF) already provide some opportunities to join in the discussion.'