Let’s move toward better science

Isaac Newton once said “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants” (cit. I. Newton).

He could have never reached his personal achievements without the knowledge and discoveries from centuries before him, like Copernicus or Kepler or Galilei.

Sharing data in science is essential in order to move forward. Academia is one of the places where all the sharing begins. Throughout teaching and especially publications, scientific discoveries are not only given to everyone to read, interpret and exploit, but also the systems guarantees, more or less, the accuracy of the shared information. [1]

We are the generation who utilize internet, which has become in short time essential for studying, understanding and brainstorming. Internet makes sharing of science possible and accessible to everyone who is interested and is looking for it. Apart from big scientific journals which publish article after article on a daily basis, let us think about all the tutorials and YouTube videos that are able to explain important scientific concepts to children and everyone without a scientific background. We used them ourselves, when we were in school, preparing exams.

Internet also allows us to follow important and interesting lectures from anywhere in the world, we can listen to the speeches of the Nobel Prize winners, which are not only inspirational but also very educational.

The issue of sharing data is felt in the scientific community. For instance, University of Rome “La Sapienza” in 2012 [2] published on Plos One an article stating that “the achievement of a robust, effective and responsible form of data sharing is currently regarded as a priority for biological and bio-medical research” (cit. [2]), but they also point out that 21.9% of data was found to have been withheld in the human genetic variation field only.

Many groups around the world produce big data – like sequencing data – each year (up to 90% has been generated in the last two years [3]). The analysis of such big data – we are talking about terabytes of information to be decrypted (as already described in the previous blog ‘Dat(a)s The Spirit! Managing data for Melanoma research?’) – requires many experts to be analyzed and understood. Therefore, collaborations are formed, which enable people of different fields, with different specializations, to obtain results faster and of higher quality. These achievements are not only useful to us researches, but also to the general public. The European Community is highly committed to make scientific discoveries more and more reachable and understandable to the general public, as stated by EU commissioner Carlos Moedas from the EU department of Research and Innovation: “Scientific data paid for by taxpayers for the benefit of society should be fully accessible today to all European scientists and beyond” [3]

This is why the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) was conceived, which is a “cloud-based service and world-class data infrastructure to ensure science, business and public services reap benefits of big data revolution” (cit. [4]), which will be for everyone to use. EOSC has the aim of interconnecting researchers from all round the world (1.7 million people, 70 million professionals of technology and science) with the aim of sharing and using data across disciplines, and to cut the costs of high performance analysis and high-capacity storage for many. [4]

EOSC is aimed to open the access to scientific information from Horizon 2020, which finances, among many others, all of us MELGEN PhD students and our research [3].

In the recently-ended-2016 the EOSC was carefully conceived; a clear roadmap of the vision for the EOSC was set together with commitments for the Commission to make it a reality by 2020. [3] This year it is expected that all data generated from Horizon 2020 will be stored in the EOSC, so that it can be available to everyone in the scientific community. 2018 will be the year of research in the Quantum Computing, which uses a processor based on the nature of Quantum Mechanics itself, able to solve incredibly complex and massive algorithms in no time. Development of these super computers will hopefully lead to the construction of a European infrastructure for high-performance calculations and storage of all data and the completion of the vision that everyone has for the EOSC.


Written by: Renata Varaljai (ESR15) and Sonia Leonardelli (ESR14)





[2]Nicola Milia, Alessandra Congiu , Paolo Anagnostou , Francesco Montinaro, Marco Capocasa, Emanuele Sanna, Giovanni Destro Bisol, “Mine, Yours, Ours? Sharing Data on Human Genetic Variation”, Plos One, June 2012.