16 February 2020

The movement to make data accessible according to the FAIR principles in the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) puts high demands on the organisation, documentation and integration of scientific data from the participating institutions and research infrastructures. Currently, there is no single repository available for the closely related scientific field of astrophysics, astroparticle physics and particle physics, which is fostering the full potential of science discoveries in this sector.
Regarding ESCAPE, the centralization of relevant information, systematic structuring and provision of software, services, and data access from various computing environments through the ESCAPE Open-source Scientific Software and Service Repository (ESCAPE OSSR) is therefore a necessity for enabling open science under the FAIR principles. However, the software catalogue is not simply a tool to document the status quo. Most of all, it will foster new developments through cross-fertilization of initiatives from the various research fields and enable common developments, creating a benefit for the whole science community.

Building an open data access repository towards open science

The Open Science Software and Service Repository (OSSR) is the core platform to enable open science. In this repository, software and services from the participating institutions are collected and shared, and a platform is offered for new cross-institutional software developments.

In order to meet the challenges in creating beneficial cooperation in such a diverse scientific field, the OSSR working group is targeting the tasks at hand in specialized focus groups.

Focus Group Software Collection: The starting point for the integration of already existing or envisioned software packages is a collection of services of those software solutions offered by the contributing institutions for open-data access. This task is handled through a questionnaire covering the most relevant features of the products like operating platforms, computing requirements, modes of access and documentation.

Focus Group Implementation: Focused on how to actually implement the OSSR it is based on the overview made by the first focus group. By building on existing platform solutions and integrating the latest and well-developed approaches to community software development and scientific data sharing, this focus group builds on the use of GitLab software. Here, not only providing and development of software, but also software delivery using containerization and tools for software documentation are aimed to meet the requirements of the OSSR. In addition to that, data repository solutions like Zenodo are investigated for systematization and provenance. Currently, the first projects are already making their way into the OSSR test implementation.

Focus Group Distributed Computing: Ultimately, the software and service repository will also host or link the products of other ESCAPE efforts like the science analysis platform or software for data management and sharing used for the data lake and cloud services. Integration of solutions for distributed computing like the DIRAC interware is therefore addressed in this focus group.

Focus Group Corsika: Stepping beyond the integration of existing solutions into OSSR, the focus group on common developments starts to build a network between scientists of related fields. Using the shared interest between the gamma ray and high-energy neutrino communities in detailed simulation of cosmic air showers, developers from both the Cherenkov Telescope Array and KM3NeT cooperate to put the CORSIKA air shower simulation to a common use and contribute to the enhancement of the simulation for their relevant field of physics.

Focus Group Innovations: Focused on innovative workflows, it aims to establish a network between scientists using e.g. deep-learning and advanced data-analysis techniques in order to capture the impetus produced by the simultaneous introduction of innovative data analysis methods in different fields of physics. While the OSSR will here also serve as a platform for sharing of technology and approaches, this group most of all aims to establish a vibrant community which will not only use the OSSR, but also foster the spirit of open science in pioneering technical solutions for a wider community benefit.

Creating new solutions to address scientific problems

All in all, the OSSR working group fosters the creation of new solutions in the fields of astrophysics, particle physics and adjacent scientific fields by establishing the platform to share high quality, well documented and easy-to-use software solutions in a harmonised way.

Visit ESCAPE OSSR webpage to know more about the service