Greece - Open science country note

Open science and the national context

During the last ten years, open science initiatives in Greece have been funded mainly through structural funds and have been part of the country’s strategy for Digital Convergence, the funding deriving from that particular EU Operational Programme. Major actors in these initiatives are the National Documentation Centre (EKT), the Greek institution for the aggregation, documentation, preservation, dissemination and reuse of scientific, technological and cultural e-content; the Hellenic Academic Libraries Link (HEAL-Link), the Greek Research and Technology Network (GRNET); and the Greek Universities Network (GUNET). Each of these institutions plays a different role in supporting open science policies.

Some of the most important initiatives for advancing open science and open data are supported by EKT, which runs the central website for open access in Greece (www.openaccess.gr). EKT also operates open access repositories (e.g. the National Ph.D. Theses Archive); the federated harvester for high-quality research and culture repositories in the country (www.openarchives.gr); an open access e-publishing infrastructure for the Greek research and academic community and publishers (www.epublishing.ekt.gr); the Greek Reference Index for the Social Sciences and the Humanities; and repository software, as a service for research and cultural institutions in the country (www.epset.gr). In addition, EKT’s databases enable information access to Greek researchers’ and enterprises’ R&D performance (projects, publications, etc.), helping to unify the Greek research system.

The Hellenic Academic Libraries Link provides openly accessible textbooks for higher education institutions (HEIs) (www.kallipos.gr). The same organisation also co-ordinates development of institutional repositories for the HEIs, only some of which thus far possess repositories. GRNET provides virtualised computing resources (Okeanos IaaS Cloud, www.grnet.gr/en/node/399), as well as the Diavlos services for live streaming of lectures and events in major cultural and academic institutions (www.grnet.gr/en/node/405). An important initiative for an open source learning management system, is being developed by GUNET (http://eclass.gunet.gr/).

At the same time, significant progress is being made in the digitisation and release of cultural data, the main registry of which will be available through EKT to include millions of data points, while government and other public data can be accessed from the central government’s open data portal and used freely (www.data.gov.gr/).

The new Operational Programme for Research and Innovation contains key elements of the Greek Innovation Strategy, including open science measures. The Greek Innovation Agenda has also been sent for public consultation, as a preliminary to drafting the new research and innovation law.

Open science research and innovation actors

1)   Research councils and funding agencies

a.       General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT): research policy and competitive research funding, base funding for the public research organisations of the country (www.gsrt.gr).

b.      National Council for Research and Technology: consultative body on research policy under the GSRT

(www.gsrt.gr/central.aspx?sId=106I465I1173I323I438173).

c.       General Secretariat for Telecoms and Post, Special Division for the Management of the Operational Programme Digital Convergence: (www.digitalplan.gov.gr/portal/resource/section/Eidikh-Yphresia-Diaheiris...).

2)   Ministries for higher education and research

a.       Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs: base funding and policy for HEIs (www.minedu.gov.gr/).

3)   Higher education institutions

a.       Some HEIs maintain open access repositories (www.openarchives.gr/archives/index/archivetype_id:3).

4)   Public research organisations and other government labs

a.       Twelve public organisations that produce research. Only the National Hellenic Research Foundation, part of which is EKT, possesses a repository.

b.      EKT is thus far the main promoter of open access in the country, and has developed the main e-infrastructures for open science (http://web.ekt.gr/en for resources, as the main webpage is under construction).

          c. GRNET: The Greek Research and Technology Network, providing high-speed Internet to universities and research centres.

Open science and business sector actors
  1.     The General Secretariat for Research and technology – funds programmes for public-private partnerships (PPPs) in research and innovation.
  2.   The General Secretariat for Industry – funds PPP programmes.
  3.       The National Documentation Centre – focuses on bridging research and research outputs and the business sector, with a view to enhancing the innovation potential of the country. Co-ordinator of the Enterprise Europe Network-Hellas Consortium (www.enterprisehellas.gr/).
  4.     Universities and research centres (such as National Technical University of Athens) – are exploring ways to provide open scientific data to business actors that may be able to utilise them,  for both non-profit or commercial purposes.
  5.     Startups and other companies that develop innovative products utilising open government, research and other data in the fields of mobile applications, culture and e-payments.
  6.    Organisations (for-profit or non-profit) that are fostering open science initiatives – as events, competitions, or as ways to explore new business initiatives. This category includes multinationals such as Google & Microsoft, non-profits such as Ashoka Greece, and independent event organisers.
  7.  Foundations (Lambrakis Foundation, Eugenides Foundation) that have participated in projects related to open scientific resources.
  8. The Greek Free Open Source Software Society (EELLAK)which represents 29 of the largest research and academic institutions on issues of open technologies – supports open data initiatives at all levels including open science, and links the business community with various open data initiatives at the governmental and research levels.
Policy design - Open data

Current policy initiatives in Greece regarding open data focus mostly on open government data, a topic relating both to national obligations for the transposition of EU law and to Greek commitments in the framework of the Open Government Partnership. There are also references to open access policies and obligations in the draft research and innovation law that will have to be discussed by the Parliament.

Specifically, there is a draft law regarding public sector information (PSI) reuse that seeks to amend Law 3448/2006 on PSI to comply with the 2013 PSI Directive. According to the law in place, no act other than the issuing of the data by a public sector body is required for it to be freely reusable. The proposed law introduces the open-by-default and active transparency rules in order to increase public data production. According to it therefore, all data published by any public sector bodies are by definition open without requiring an application to be made by the citizen. It is expected that the outcome of this law will be the massive and unobstructed release of public sector information and data for use by citizens. Currently there are efforts to incentivise the open source community to develop tools that will enable easy access to and reuse of public data. One such tool is Diavgeia, an online system where all public sector bodies are obliged to deposit decisions and expenditures so they are accessible to all (https://diavgeia.gov.gr/).

The main government body handling initiatives regarding government data is the Ministry for Administrative Reforms and Electronic Government (www.ydmed.gov.gr/). The open data activities of the Greek Government are described in detail in its Open Government Partnership (OGP) commitments, which include policy, legislative and administrative measures. The OGP action plan refers to research and open science data in its latest draft, aiming at a horizontal co-ordination among the various open data activities across governmental sectors and ministries: www.opengovpartnership.org/country/greece.

Policy design - Open/increasing access to scientific publications

Currently, there is draft legislation in the areas of research and technology that contains an article focusing on open access to all publicly funded research. It mandates open access to publicly funded research publications through repositories – thus requiring a green open access policy – and commits to developing the infrastructure necessary to implement the requirements. The budget for the implementation of this particular article has not yet been made public.

In terms of policy initiatives, there is an ongoing effort by EKT as a national scientific infrastructure to create model and applied open access policies, by bringing together policy makers among Research Performing Organisations (RPOs) and funders to facilitate policy development at a national and organisational level. Thus, RPOs and funders are encouraged to develop their own policies that are aligned with the European Commission 2012 Recommendation and Horizon, 2020 rules.

The aim is to help these institutions form co-ordinated policies in a consensus and assist with policy development and implementation. Efforts are addressed to mid- and high-level policy makers, and will advocate a co-ordinated green open access policy (libre) for funders and RPOs. This support builds on prior EU and national work. There will also be assistance in the formation of the required infrastructure, if necessary.

Skills for open science and open data

The main initiative has to do with training in the use of open access infrastructures. The training is linked to the implementation and rollout of the National Information System for Research and Technology (EPSET) and SaaS projects (Software as a Service, for digital repositories and digital libraries supporting the release of public open data) that are realised by the National Documentation Center (EKT). The Centre facilitates open science and open data through its services and activities (including training), mainly in repositories and with open access publications; it also organises related international workshops and conferences. EKT also procures the engagement of the stakeholder communities – mainly research centres, scholarly societies and memory institutions. 

Open science and international co-operation

As mentioned above, open science policies in Greece are at a rather nascent stage at the moment.  International co-operation mainly takes the form of participation in a number of EC-funded projects aimed at policy development and support, as well as e-infrastructure development and implementation projects. Such projects are (a) for Policy, Regulation and Support: the Mediterranean Open Access Network (MedOANet), Open Access Policy Alignment Strategies for European Union Research (PASTEUR4OA), the European Thematic Network on Legal Aspects of Public Sector Information (LAPSI); and (b) for e-infrastructures development: e-Infrastructure Reflection Group (eIRG); representation at the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH), CLARIN (Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure), Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe (OpenAIRE), European Data Infrastructure (EUDAT), and the Multilingual Europe Technology Alliance (META-SHARE). It is important to note that Greece has been the actual co-ordinator of the MedOANet, PASTEUR4OA and OpenAIRE projects.

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