NI4OS-Europe & LA Referencia – The start of a cross-regional collaboration

In support of the Internationalization of EOSC, an online meeting between the two regional projects of NI4OS-Europe for SouthEast Europe and LA Referencia (Federated Network of Institutional Repositories of Scientific Publications) for Latin America, was held on Friday 4/06/2021. This was the first meeting aiming at understanding each other’s core activities and networks as well as exchanging ideas and exploiting areas for future collaborations.

NI4OS-Europe was represented by Athena RC, namely Eleni Toli, Electra Sifakaki, Kalliopi Kanavou and Elli Papadopoulou.

The meeting started with Eleni briefly explaining the scope and objectives of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), highlighting the role of National Open Science Cloud Initiatives (NOSCIs) in the EOSC Governance, also making the link with OpenAIRE where LA Referencia is a member. More specifically, Eleni pointed out NI4OS-Europe contribution to harmonizing Open Science practices, among other things, through training and the onboarding of data services and repositories to EOSC. 

Bianca Amaro, President of LΑ Referencia, and Lautaro Matas, Executive and Technical Secretary, informed about the mission of their network covering eleven (11) countries in Latin America, the cooperations with other networks, such as in Spain and Africa, and OpenAIRE relations. They also noted the differences in their scope with respect to NI4OS-Europe, primarily on Open Science policy support.

The meeting highlighted the common lines and provided the space to express interest and ideas for a closer collaboration between NI4OS-Europe and LA Referencia. As a result of the discussions, it is identified that both projects provide support to a controlled number of  countries, fifteen (15) for NI4OS and eleven (11) for LA Referencia, acknowledging  heterogeneous challenges on Open Science policies, FAIR maturity and regulatory status at the national level. In addition, both promote open infrastructures and ensure national repositories’ access and interoperability by being compatible and interconnected with the OpenAIRE infrastructure. Among the differences identified, what stands out is that LA Referencia supports policies only on the level of implementation as well as it has no central funding mechanism, so the main source of funding for network activities comes from the member countries.

Overall, the meeting ended with the two projects enthusiastically exploring venues where they could collectively organize sessions to address those commonalities and issues to similar audiences whose work could be beneficial either technically or strategically, going even beyond SE Europe and Latin America regions.