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2021 SEE User Forum – How NRENs can help users achieve digital excellence

The 2021 South East Europe User Forum, the online event jointly coordinated by GÉANT, NI4OS-Europe and EOSC Future, closed its virtual doors on the 4th of November. In the course of two days over 270 participants joined the forum from all corners of the SEE region.

Day 1 – 3rd November

The event kicked off with a warm welcome by the forum’s chair Anastas Mishev, Professor of Computer Science at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje: “End-users are the most important element of the Open Science ecosystem. This event is for you, the users, we would really like to hear from you and hope you will use this platform to have your say”.

Marina De Giorgi, Partner Relations Officer from GÉANT added: “GEANT and NRENs enable digital excellence in the R&E community.  NRENs meet users’ demands to leverage economies of scale, bring down network costs nationally, and connect with the wider R&E community across the world to share expertise and best practices. So knock on the NRENs’ doors and claim your rights to excel!”.

Zoe Cournia from the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens gave the keynote presentation ‘The added value of EOSC for research’, highlighting her perspective from the user’s point of view as a researcher, an entrepreneur and innovator, but also as a contributor to EOSC’s thematic services and dissemination. Zoe commented: “In order to enable the wider adoption of Open Science practices we need a change of mentality among researchers, we need to reassure researchers that sharing data sets will not jeopardise or compromise their research efforts, but on the contrary it will boost their visibility, discoverability and networking/collaboration opportunities. We need to provide correct metadata, interoperable data and workflows, which can be achieved through EOSC training. If we harness the power of existing data the acceleration of open innovation for the benefit of the community will be tremendous!”

The event programme also featured talks on NI4OS-Europe onboarding activities presenting the regional services for the EOSC community, on the importance of repositories in building a transparent and sustainable research ecosystem in a case study of the University of Debrecen, and on the REVIGO use case, an open science cloud service for the reduction and visualisation of gene ontology. Both Q&A sessions were enlightening and informative.

2021 SEE User Forum - Participants
Participants at the 2021 SEE User Forum

Day 2 – 4th November

Anastas Mishev opened day 2: “All parties involved in the organisation of this forum share the same goal, the same vision: to make Open Science the right way to do science.” The keynote by Marina Adomeit from the Swedish NREN SUNET addressed the importance of federated identities in the R&E world.  Enabling users to access a variety of digital services using federated identities reduces the need for multiple passwords, it improves user experience – usually regarded as a measure of success – as well as security and privacy.

Other talks on the day featured use cases on the importance of Authentication and Authorisation Infrastructure (AAI) for the Open Science service offerings, on a specific implementation of AAI services at CARnet, the Croatian NREN, on an open map application and on Remote Sensing Scene Classification System (RSSC).

One of the day’s highlights was the presentation by Mehmet Mirat Satoglu, Director of TUBITAK ULAKBIM, the Turkish NREN, on the successful development of the open access library infrastructure across Turkey, unanimously recognised as a remarkable model for the SEE region.  Mehmet Satoglu closed his talk: “The research environment and the NREN domain are changing fast, identity federations and Open Science are changing the way we work. Sharing and learning are vital, we are in the middle of a fundamental transition, let’s start collaborating!”

Anastas Mishev closed the 2021 SEE  User Forum: “We hope that you gained new insights into Open Science and  the supporting infrastructures and services. Reach out to your NRENs and explore all the possibilities offered by Open Science. Let’s hope to meet all in real life at the next event for the SEE region hosted by one of our NRENs”.

Presentations
All presentations are downloadable from the forum’s website:
https://see-userforum2021.geant.org/

Recordings
Recordings for both days are available at the following links:
Day1 – https://youtu.be/46TMLtlZ1yA
Day2 – https://youtu.be/NHoYySHgH1M

Feedback
To help us improve and shape this event going forward we are asking all participants to fill out our feedback survey.
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2021SEEUserForum