A delay in open and FAIR data policies and practices created a significant gap in the uptake of EOSC between the EU and non-EU Western Balkans countries (Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and North Macedonia), which can be observed in the lack of infrastructure, policies, incentives, and professional data stewards or librarians with suitable competencies and skills. This lightning talk will present the results of a small team of professionals from the University of Belgrade (Serbia) on the co-creation activity funded by the EOSC Secretariat under the title “Boosting EOSC readiness: Creating a scalable model for capacity building in RDM”. The objective was to create a model for local capacity building in research data management adjusted to the needs of South-Slavic-speaking countries of non-EU Western Balkans countries. The model is applicable in any similar environment struggling with limited financial and human resources.
Activities included designing a web portal with guidelines and tutorials about research data management, setting up and localizing an interoperable and scalable Dataverse data repository, devising data management procedures, designing and testing trainings for local communities, and devising research data policy recommendations at various levels.
The main results of this Co-creation activity are the web portal with guidelines and training materials, a demo Dataverse data repository SERDAR (SErbian Research DAta Repository), localized (translated in Serbian) software application Argos for creating machine-actionable Data Management Plans, and a proposal for RDM-related amendments to existing national, institutional, and journal policies on Open Science, providing an input for the activities of the national Team for Open Science (established in 2020). Due to similarities between languages in the Western Balkans, all the results, which are freely available under the Creative Commons Attribution license, can be adapted to local needs and reused.
This activity contributed to the overall EOSC awareness and readiness in non-EU Western Balkans countries by founding a firm ground for cultural change related to the scientific practices in the research community. This approach can be of great value to the universities and research institutions in countries that do not have already established infrastructure and policies for research data management and sharing. In Serbia, the project will have both a formal and an informal follow-up. All team members are also members of the official national Team for Open Science and they will advocate for policy changes, infrastructure development and the introduction of formal training for data stewards along the lines defined in the project. On the other hand, the same team has recently established the Open Science Community Serbia, which will provide an informal framework for actions aimed at building an Open Science community and culture in Serbia