eInfraCentral wishes everyone a wonderful New Year! Wishing you a year full of connections, new ideas and their successful implementation!

The last six months of the project were spent on further developing a common Service Catalogue, preparing a prototype of the eInfraCentral portal, setting up a liaison and collaboration strategy, and showcasing the project during numerous events and meetings.

Working together with five flagship European e-infrastructures, the project team prepared and submitted to the European Commission a deliverable (D3.1 Service Catalogue Requirements) which presents an aligned and harmonised framework towards a common service catalogue scheme for e-Infrastructures in Europe. The deliverable builds upon actual services currently provided by the eInfraCentral’s e-Infrastructure partners as well as taking into account examples of global marketplaces and their respective services. The key goal for such a framework is to reach a high degree of homogeneity that can be practically applied across all e-Infrastructures. In this respect, the deliverable assesses the most widely accepted IT service management standards and derives the optimal set of descriptors.

eInfraCentral Portal – Your Gateway for European e-Infrastructures

In parallel, another deliverable – D4.1 Portal’s Functional and Architectural Specifications – was prepared and submitted. This included an overview of the data model designed for representing the main entities managed within the platform, namely: the architectural design of the platform, structured in four different logical layers (such as the repository, business, user interface and interoperability layers); the components of each layer with details on their functionality, data exchange and dependencies as well as the technology used for their implementation; the functional specifications that will guide the development of the platform and their mapping to user requirements; the user interface mock-ups which will be used for the development of the front-end of the platform and the different users of the platform and the offered functionalities.

The beta version of the Portal was officially launched on 30 November at the DI4R conference in Brussels and is available at http://beta.einfracentral.eu. The portal accommodates a rich data model for the service description and provides access to an initial catalogue of services collected by the five major e-Infrastructures in Europe EGI, GÉANT, OPENAIRE, PRACE and EUDAT.

All are invited to browse the Portal and leave their feedback! The current version of the eInfraCentral portal offers functionality for service registration, service classification and catalogue browsing, service exploration through keyword search and faceted filtering and service comparison. It allows users to view details on the characteristics of each service and rate, compare and personalise their experience. Stay tuned for the next platform updates!

Portal Architecture

The overall architecture of the eInfraCentral Platform is shown in the following Figure. It comprises of four main layers:

  • the Repository Layer, responsible for all underlying content management of the platform
  • the Business Layer that implements and offers the core functionality of the platform
  • the User Interface (UI) Layer offers the front-end to the platform users
  • the Interoperability Layer enables the exchange of information between the platform and external systems, such as the service providers’ interfaces, or 3rd party systems that consume information regarding the platform’s service catalogue.

Learning from and engaging with the eInfrastructure community

A close collaboration and coordination with different stakeholders on the European e-infrastructure arena outside the project Consortium was important. These included the existing policy and strategy groups like e-IRG and ESFRI, other EOSC projects funded by the European Commission, individual e-infrastructures and VREs, and representatives from eInfraCentral comparator initiatives in Europe and internationally. The ways of engagement in such activities are described in the eInfraCentral liaison and collaboration strategy (deliverable D2.1.). eInfraCentral maintains regular communication with the identified stakeholders, participates in selected events organised by these stakeholders and engages in inter-project working groups that address the project goals. Some of such events are presented in this Newsletter.

Productive discussions with members of the Advisory Board

The first meeting of the eInfraCentral Advisory Board was held on 29 November 2017 in Brussels. The Board includes five leading experts whose main role is to provide insight and challenge conventional thinking on crucial aspects of the project. Together they bring e-infrastructure expertise, research as well as policymaking experience to eInfraCentral.

The Advisory Board members met with the project team and provided their feedback and experience on the service catalogue, the functioning of the beta portal and possible exploitation paths. They will continue providing guidance throughout the core activities of the project and will meet again in the second half of 2018.

High-level global eInfrastructure experts provide reflections to the eInfraCentral

eInfraCentral places significant priority on an approach that ensures synergies with other global eInfrastructure stakeholders. This should help its optimise the functionality and maximise the future usage by the community. Seeking and securing the participation, feedback and consensus of eInfrastructure stakeholders with international experience and of global caliber, a Global Initiatives Working Group was set up consisting of five champions in the field of eInfrastructures.

The first assembly meeting of the Global Initiatives Working Group took place on 29 November 2017 in Brussels before the Digital Infrastructures for Research Conference (DI4R 2017). The central objective was for the experts to provide guidance and reflections to the eInfraCentral team. The experts engaged in a fruitful exchange of ideas and know-how on the subject of “eInfrastructure Service Catalogues” alignment, providing constructive observations and recommendations in terms of interoperability, adoption, functionality and other ways of expression with the aim to achieve a global alignment of service catalogues for eInfrastructures.

eInfraCentral’s presence at key events in Europe

e-IRG Workshop, 3-4 October 2017, Tallinn, Estonia

The eInfraCentral project team took part in a workshop organised by the e-Infrastructure Reflection Group (e-IRG) from 3 to 4 October in Tallinn, Estonia. The primary objective of the meeting was to contribute towards the main directions taken in the development of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). Beside topics such as governance, funding, services and data-related aspects, special attention was given to national perspectives in the EOSC development. The eInfraCentral team (Jorge Sanchez from JNP and George Papastefanatos from the University of Athens) presented the Service Catalogue and the eInfra Portal in a session titled EOSC Services for users, and gathered feedback from workshop participants.

The Eastern Partnership E-infrastructures Conference (EaPEC) 2017, Minsk, Belarus

Annabel Grant from GÉANT (a partner in the eInfraCentral project) presented eInfraCentral to an audience of students, researchers, research and education networkers and policy makers from the Eastern Partnership region and beyond. The Eastern Partnership E-infrastructures Conference, EaPEC 2017, was organised by the Eastern Partnership Connect (EaPConnect) project and hosted in Minsk by the Belarusian research and education networking organisation UIIP-BASNET. In a session on e-infrastructures for Open Science, Annabel gave an overview of how eInfraCentral fits into the wider push towards a European Open Science Cloud, and outlined the project and its goal to create a joined-up e-infrastructures service catalogue as a step towards a ‘market place’ of services to benefit users across Europe.

The eInfraCentral team engages with EOSCpilot, Brussels, Belgium

The EOSCpilot project convened the first EOSC Stakeholder Forum on 28-29 November 2017 in Brussels, Belgium. The main goal of EOSCpilot is to draw up a set of recommendations for the future architecture of the European Open Science Cloud. Dr Jorge-A. Sanchez-P. from the eInfraCentral team was invited to the panel for the session "Principles of Engagement in the EOSC”.

The purpose of the panel discussion was to contribute to the ongoing task in EOSCpilot to investigate and analyse the organisational Principles of Engagement for scientific users and service providers in the EOSC. The challenge is that there are legal, financial, ethical and other organisations aspects that could hinder both the provision and usage of services in the EOSC. The EOSCpilot aims to set Principles which are small and generic enough to allow for participation form all players. In light of this topic, Jorge Sanchez presented the eInfraCentral approach to the common catalogue of services and shared with the audience the lessons learned in overcoming this challenge. The interactions with the audience during this session highlighted the necessity to think how to bring together in a seamless manner the new initiatives such as eInfraCentral catalogue of services and service catalogues, registries and software applications already developed for the needs of various research communities.

An official launch of the eInfraCentral portal at DI4R, Brussels, Belgium

The Digital Infrastructures for Research 2017 (DI4R) conference took place from 30 November to 1 December in Brussels. More than 400 participants joined this conference organised by Europe's leading e-infrastructures – EGI, EUDAT, GÉANT, OpenAIRE, PRACE and RDA Europe. Under the theme “Connecting the building blocks for Open Science”, the conference showcased the policies, processes, best practices, data and services that are the building blocks of the European Open Science Cloud and European Data Infrastructure.

The eInfraCentral’s interactive session on the first day of the conference officially launched a beta version of the eInfraCentral Portal. Enrique Gomez from the DG Connect (Unit C1 – e–Infrastructures & Science Cloud) at the European Commission outlined a rationale behind the eInfraCentral (European e-Infrastructure Services Gateway) project. Dr Jelena Angelis from EFIS presented a mission of eInfraCentral and its key activities. Dr Jorge-A. Sanchez-P. from JNP took the audience through the work behind creating a service catalogue in order to address such challenges as a diverse vocabulary about Service Management (SM) in the community; different standards and frameworks for SM; different levels of adoptions of SM practices among the Service Providers (SPs); different processes to manage service portfolios employed at different locations; not the same maturity in description of service offerings, listings or catalogues by SPs; numerous ways of representing services to the users on the web; and no adopted APIs for exchanging service-related information among SPs. Dr George Papastefanatos from the University of Athens showed the functionalities of the beta version of the eInfraCentral gateway and the three (out of five) e-Infra partners in the eInfraCentral project (EUDAT, EGI, OpenAIRE, GÉANT and PRACE) shared their views on the benefits the eInfraCentral project and the portal brings to the community.

All attendees of this interactive sessions were encouraged to test the current version of the portal and leave their feedback.

Save the date – 2018

The eInfraCentral team will hold or attend a number of events in 2018. Come and meet us to find out more and contribute to the development of the service catalogue and the European e-Infrastructure Service Gateway portal.




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Created By
Gaelle de Meeus

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