EPOS is a long-term plan for the integration of existing national and trans-national research infrastructures for solid Earth science in Europe.
By improving and facilitating the access, use, and re-use of multidisciplinary solid Earth science data, data products, services as well as physical access to facilities, EPOS is developing a federated and sustainable research platform to provide coordinated access to harmonized and quality-controlled data from diverse Earth science disciplines, together with tools for their use in analysis and modeling. EPOS fosters worldwide interoperability in Earth sciences and provides services to a broad community of users.
In order to face such ambitious challenges, a complex functional architecture has been implemented to enable users to discover and select the data, download or visualize them, and perform processing over distributed resources in Europe. Particular attention is taken into metadata handling and intelligent management of distributed resources.
EPOS Functional Architecture
National Research Infrastructures
The National Research Infrastructures (NRIs) represent the underpinning EPOS data providers that will guarantee access to quality-checked data and products. The EPOS architecture ensures that new RIs as they become operational can be integrated in future. The existing solid Earth science NRIs which support the EPOS integration plan are listed in the RIDE database. RIs contributing to EPOS will continue to be owned and managed at a national level. These have a significant economic value both in terms of construction and yearly operational costs, which are typically covered by national investments that must continue during EPOS implementation, construction and operation.
EPOS Delivery Framework
The EPOS Delivery Framework, established during the Implementation Phase (2014-2019), comprises the legal, financial and operational components that support EPOS architecture. During the current Pilot Operational Phase, the implementation of the EPOS Delivery Framework is one of the goals shared by the EPOS communities and EPOS ERIC.
The TCS-ICS federated system is the skeleton of the EPOS Delivery Framework and represents the solution for integrating distributed infrastructures via shared standards for data and metadata. This federated system will allow researchers unprecedented opportunities to use and analyze multidisciplinary solid Earth science data, detect new signals in complex datasets and lay the ground for widespread application of advanced data analysis methods in the Earth sciences.
Enabling data and service provision is essential to the construction of a long-term sustainable EPOS Delivery Framework.
Thematic Core Services
The Thematic Core Services (TCS) are the community-specific integration (e.g., seismology, volcanology, geodesy, experimental laboratories, etc). They represent transnational governance frameworks where data and services are provided to answer scientific questions and where each community discusses their specific implementation, best practices and sustainability strategies as well as legal and ethical issues. The TCS was designed taking into account the requirements of the different EPOS communities. The fact that ten TCS contributed to EPOS demonstrates the multidisciplinary breadth of the integration plan and the potential impact of the community building aspect of EPOS. TCS will be interoperable with ICS thanks to appropriate ICT solutions (the compatibility layer).
EPOS ERIC is the European Consortium that coordinates the EPOS Research Infrastructure and its Delivery Framework. The ERIC legal framework aims to operate EPOS and provide an effective governance plan to the TCS and the ICS.
Integrated Core Services
The Integrated Core Services (ICS) represent the novel e-infrastructure that will allow access to multidisciplinary data, products (including synthetic data from simulations, processing and visualization tools), and services to different stakeholders, including but not limited to the scientific community (i.e., users). The key element of the ICS in EPOS will be a central hub (ICS-C) where users can discover and access data and data products available in the TCS and NRIs as well as access a set of service for integrating and analysing multidisciplinary data. The technical interface between TCS and ICS is the compatibility layer, which guarantees communication and interoperability. The ICS-C single-sited (replicated for resilience) e-infrastructure will include the EPOS portal and its key functions: the Application Programming Interface (API), the metadata catalogue, the system manager and the services that will allow the data discovery, the interactions with users as well as the access, download and integration of data. The ICS-C will also provide access to distributed resources which form the distributed ICS (ICS-d) and include access to supercomputing facilities as well as to visualization, processing and modelling tools that need not be centralised. ICS-d may be (a) additional computing/storage/detector array facilities outside the scope of EPOS; (b) nodes providing general software services used across all TCS such as input/validation, data management, analytics, simulation, mining, visualisation; (c) replicates/mirrors of ICS-C in distributed locations for resilience and performance.
Data Policy and Access Rules
Keeping in mind that DATA are more useful if they can be accessed, aggregated and re-used, EPOS aims to provide interdisciplinary services to researchers interested in geoscience, including access to data, metadata, data products, software, IT tools, and also to computational resources for visualization and processing as well as to research facilities (e.g. laboratories, volcano observatories).
EPOS provides fully open and easy access to homogeneous high-quality DATA and services from many solid Earth science disciplines such as seismology, volcanology, geodesy, and geology. This is considered essential to enable research and innovation to flourish and to allow Europe’s ability to enhance its economic performance and improve its capacity to compete through knowledge.
In order for services and DATA to flow “seamlessly”, EPOS must delicately balance the needs of Suppliers of data and services, whether they are researchers, national institutes or other bodies or infrastructures, against the requirements of Users. EPOS implements an efficient DATA management plan for the needs of the Users and, at the same time, ensures that the Supplier’s interests are protected (e.g. throughout appropriate acknowledgment or citation).
To ensure that EPOS supports such a seamless flow of data and services, a legal policy framework has been put in place in order that the global research community appreciates and understands the rules and policies surrounding data and services access, use, and dissemination. In its policy, EPOS adopts the following key principles:
- to disseminate data and knowledge through Open Access;
- to provide a multidisciplinary data management plan to foster a community building for solid Earth Sciences through shared access policies and rules;
- to make DATA and facilities available in a timely manner, without undue delay and preferably free of charge taking into due account the need to differentiate between access to DATA and access to facilities;
- to use terms and definitions which are consistent with Article 2 of the Convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) signed on 14 July 1967;
- to create internal intellectual property rules between EPOS Partners which will be approved by the EPOS-ERIC General Assembly;
- to comply with all relevant European and International legislation on data and IPR protection including the INSPIRE regulations;
- to follow the OECD principles for research data from public funding; to utilise a widely accepted community licensing schema, e.g. Creative Commons.
Explore EPOS ERIC.