20 April 2020

ESCAPE has defined the initial set of 24 software packages and services that will be made available on the ESCAPE Open-source Scientific Software and Service Repository (OSSR). The ESCAPE OSSR is a sustainable open-access repository to share scientific software and digital libraries for data analysis, including related user-support documentation, test data-sets, tutorials and training material. It will be dynamically enhanced and maintained by ESCAPE ESFRI projects and included in the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) catalogue of services.

                                              

Open Software plays an ever-increasing role in the field of Science and the progress of European Open Science. The demand for open solutions, developed in accordance with open science principles continues to grow as researchers appreciate the benefits of collaboration in software development for application to a wide range of different disciplines.

At present, no single repository exists for the closely-related scientific field of astrophysics, astroparticle physics and particle physics. ESCAPE OSSR will generate this repository, providing high-quality, well documented, and easy-to-use software solutions in a harmonised way using a well-defined interface.

A Catalogue of Software Services for Open Science Data-Analysis

ESCAPE OSSR will expose software tools from all the ESFRIs and Research Infrastructures involved in ESCAPE, which will also be implemented into the EOSC catalogue of services, while ensuring compatibility with FAIR principles. ESCAPE OSSR will be an open environment to guarantee cross-fertilisation and to develop community-specific data services that are easily accessible.

A first collection of 24 software and services – generated in the first year of the ESCAPE work and to be extended during the project – has been identified. It links not only the ESFRIs to the EOSC environment, but also to the scientific community behind them. The initial list of software and services that will feed into the ESCAPE OSSR has shared purposes and communalities between them, as illustrated in the image below.

Figure 1 The ESFRIs and the commonalities of their first set of services available on ESCAPE OSSR.
General science tools → General purpose science

                                         

After performing a careful analysis of each service, they will be integrated into the ESCAPE OSSR. Several software and services from the list are already fully developed and will be selected to serve as example use-cases. They will be used to uncover the possible limitations and unexpected requirements for the repository demonstrator conceptual design, especially the machine actability of the repository onboarding and usage. This demonstrator is envisioned in its final form for summer 2020.

The future of ESCAPE OSSR development

With the first round of services selected to be included in ESCAPE OSSR, it is time to prepare the ground for their integration to the platform. An integration template is being developed (expected in Summer 2020) for the adaptation/expansion of the software interfaces and their implementation to the ESCAPE OSSR integration system. With this template, the services will be harmoniously integrated not only in the ESCAPE OSSR but also in the EOSC catalogue of services.

This integration will be tested by providing tutorials of use cases for the software or services. The service integration to the OSSR depends on the technical requirements of the individual software, which is expected to be finalised by end of the ESCAPE project.  With the template defined and first services implemented into ESCAPE OSSR, more and more services will be added, improving and finally putting the ESCAPE OSSR online by mid-2022.

Sharing existing solutions and fostering joint development

In addition, the software and services listed in the ASTERICS/OBELICS repository will be included and thus sustained in OSSR.  ASTERICS is an earlier, EU-funded cluster project from which ESCAPE actively profits by using the project’s results for the development of its fundamental infrastructure, data management and scientific software solutions as well as policies for interoperability.  The inclusion of other software collections in OSSR is actively sought.

Furthermore, to foster the re-use and cross-fertilization of developments between the ESFRIs, common software and service approaches will be clustered, namely common libraries for data formats, data access and exploitation, a simulation tool stack, and the combination/consolidation of data processing and analysis tools.  The main data sets of the ESFRI facilities can be categorised as signal-based (EGO-Virgo, JIVE, SKA), event based (CTA, FAIR, HL-LHC, KM3NeT), and image-based (ELT, EST). The commonalities, already shown in the initial list in Figure 1, between the three categories as well as cross-boundary approaches will be further exploited.

A FAIR Software Catalogue Openly Available to All

The ESCAPE OSSR will be set up so that everyone in the scientific community will be able to use the software and services. Beyond the main aim of re-use, spreading existing solutions will foster the creation of new solutions in the astro-particle-physics community and adjacent scientific fields.

Know more about ESCAPE OSSR

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