Recommendations for a financially sustainable post-2027 EOSC

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This report presents the findings and recommendations of the Financial Sustainability Task Force for the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) post-2027. Its conclusions reflect the discussions among the Task Force’s heterogenous membership and expertise, covering relevant knowledge of EOSC-related national and European policies, international infrastructure landscape and data management as well as legal aspects and business processes.


Final Report presents the main findings of the Financial Sustainability TF. It scopes EOSC in a financial sustainability context, outlines 8 key principles for sustainably funding EOSC, provides rough cost estimates for EOSC’s components, stipulates financial sustainability requirements on EOSC’s future legal entity and highlights important further issues of relevance for financial sustainability. It concludes with recommendations for future work.

Main highlights

The Task Force presents very broad estimates for the likely costs of EOSC. The main observation which should be drawn is that the costs of the operation, maintenance and development of the EOSC EU Node and the expansion of the EOSC Federation are modest in relation to the estimated cost of FAIRification, which is an order of magnitude more expensive and will be primarily incurred at national and institutional level. However, in order to achieve increased secondary use of research data, this data and its federation are the most important and most valuable assets for EOSC.

The Task Force highlights other issues of relevance to financial sustainability, including:

  • the choice of cost-recovery mechanisms for the EOSC Exchange, the vast majority of whose contents (services) is assumed to be financed using national or institutional funds
  • assessment of the potential role of commercial services in the EOSC Exchange
  • the importance of stakeholder involvement and representation, in particular that of the research community, in EOSC governance, and of dialogue between key stakeholders
  • the challenges relating to procurement and VAT, in the context of the EOSC Exchange
  • the need to recognise non-technical EOSC costs, such as communications, training, research support, governance-related activities (e.g. RoP and access policy enforcement and evolution, service selection, quality assurance, regulatory compliance), and EOSC performance and usage monitoring
  • the need for access policies for EOSC resources to consider inclusivity of MS/AC and the global context in which RIs operate.

Requirements relating to financial sustainability which should be satisfied by the legal entity chosen for EOSC in future are also identified. These include the need for long-term sustainability; presence of MS/AC as stakeholders making a long-term financial commitment; participation by different legal forms of research entities such as ERICs and European Intergovernmental Research Organisations; stakeholder influence over the EOSC work programme; and the potential for participation of private companies as users of EOSC.

Key recommendations

This TF has developed 8 key principles about the financial sustainability of EOSC:

  1. Joint funding by the EC and Member States/Associated Countries of the collective EOSC components is essential to ensure national engagement and strategic relevance
  2. Long-term, stable political and financial commitment from the EC and Member States/Associated Countries is essential
  3. EOSC is part of the rich ecosystem of RIs created by investment by MS/AC, and EC, and should build on, complement and enhance, but not duplicate, it
  4. The EOSC Exchange needs to provide straightforward access to the European research community’s services and platforms for data utilisation and analytics, to support realisation of full potential of research data
  5. Federating data and services through EOSC involve additional costs for providers, which should be paid for primarily by Member States/Associated Countries
  6. Coordination of EOSC strategy and funding between Member States and with EC is required and should be assured as part of the EOSC governance
  7. The sustainability of research services must be addressed for efficient use of investment
  8. Inclusiveness: Whatever legal and governance model is adopted, division of costs within its funding model should not act as a barrier for countries to participate.

The report presents 15 recommendations on strategies for the cost of federating data through EOSC; models to achieve inclusiveness of EOSC funding model(s); assessment of the cost of operating the EOSC EU node post-2027; analysis of financial sustainability implications of EOSC as a federation of nodes; and activities to ensure a well-functioning EOSC Exchange.

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