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ARCHIVER D2.1- State of the Art, Community Requirements and OMC Results

Fernandes, João; Jones, Bob; Devouassoux, Marion; Buyse, Dominique; Van Calenberg, Ruben; Motsenitalis, Vaggelis; Urban, Jakub

Many research projects are currently struggling to preserve their data and associated products (metadata, software, documentation, etc.), as the current archiving and preservation capabilities are inadequate in terms of scale and fall below expectations for a number of communities, while data stewardship costs are frequently underestimated during the planning phase.

The goal of ARCHIVER is to fulfil these data management promises in a multi-disciplinary environment, allowing each research group to retain stewardship of their data whilst leveraging best practices, standards and economies of scale.

The ARCHIVER consortium started by performing an analysis to identify the current gaps in preservation services offered in the public sector, taking lessons learned from past initiatives and consolidating future opportunities for the ARCHIVER resulting services.
A key finding during the state of the art analysis is that ARCHIVER will benefit from the know-how the research community accumulated through the development of models for successful curation and preservation of data and associated assets, such as documentation and software, across all stages of the curation cycle. ARCHIVER will put these models into practice for multiple scientific disciplines in order to simplify data management, making costs more predictable and helping to reduce fragmentation in data stewardship practices across scientific domains.

An additional result of the analysis is the fact that the current context of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) provides an unprecedented opportunity to make the resulting services available to an estimated 1.7 million researchers in Europe. Services to make data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR), to store it and ensure long-term preservation will form the core of the EOSC. ARCHIVER will thus contribute with a set of aligned services for scientific data management, following best practices with clear criteria defined for the selection of high quality trustworthy repositories, serving FAIR data to scientists and consequently increasing data reuse fostering the development of science.

In order to stimulate an open dialogue that broaches the views of the market about the intended R&D scope, ARCHIVER organised an Open Market Consultation (OMC) with a series of activities for both demand and supply sides. The dialogue within the community, end-users and 

potential tenderers of the project took place between April and June 2019 as announced in a Prior Information Notice1 published in the Official Journal of the European Union. These activities pursued a three-fold objective:

  • Inform the research community, supply-side and the demand-side of the project and the upcoming call for tender

  • Assess the requirements for digital preservation and archiving services of the research community at large and specifically in the context of the EOSC

  • Improve the mutual understanding of the R&D challenges across procurer organisations, future early adopters organisations and industry in order to verify the innovation potential and feasibility of the project.

The OMC process brought together over 35 companies, the majority of which are Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), as well as many public organisations in need of innovative data archiving and preservation services. Feedback from the participating supply-side companies in the OMC events has been collected, and the dialogue progressively focussed on the Buyers Group deployments scenarios requirements for the resulting ARCHIVER services.

The OMC activities resulted in the following outputs:

  • Assessment of the current needs from the research community for archiving and preservation services at large and in the context of the EOSC

  • Prioritization of the main ARCHIVER challenges

  • Estimation of value, risk and effort of the R&D to be performed in ARCHIVER

  • Gathering of a number of lessons learned for future PCP projects

More broadly, ARCHIVER analysed the current state-of-the-art in order to establish a technological baseline state of play, assessing the current solutions available in the market with an analysis of the progress from the current state-of-the-art and advancement to be demonstrated by the ARCHIVER R&D activities.

These findings are reflected in the PCP Contract Notice, specifically in the selection and award criteria of the functional specifications, in order to ensure that the selected bids are capable of meeting ARCHIVER’s R&D challenge.

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