Arjen van Rijn sees, however, some barriers and limitations on the way. On a national level, e-Infrastrcutures evolved over time in different ways. Often there are separate organisations for computing, networking, and other e-Infrastructures. On a European level, there are multiple organisations and projects active.
So one of the issues he sees is insufficient co-ordination and integration of existing e-Infrastructure services. There are also legal issues as a result of disparate legal frameworks in different countries, including limitations on the use of scientific e-Infrastructures by industry. On the other hand it is difficult for commercial companies to provide parts of the e-Infrastructures.
So the approach presented by Arjen van Rijn is to establish an e-Infrastructure Commons through a joint strategic effort between users and primary strategic actors and suppliers, to attain an ecosystem in which providers have the freedom to innovate and users enjoy the freedom to choose the services they need from a mix of public e-Infrastructure and commercial services.
However, Arjen van Rijn said, this cannot be achieved without a clear separation of roles for Community building, service provision; and innovation. Community building needs to be done for high-level strategy and co-ordination in Europe; for each type of e-Infrastructure service, and a single co-ordinating organisation with a central role for user communities is required.
Service provision needs to be flexible, open, and with competitive approach to national, European, and global service provision, with collaboration among the interested public and commercial service providers.
Innovation is best done through major projects in the best consortia including e-Infrastructure suppliers, industry, users and academia.
Arjen van Rijn sees the need for an e-Infrastructure umbrella forum for community building, high-level strategy setting and co-ordination for the entire e-Infrastructure, where user communities and strategy and co-ordination bodies for the different parts of the European e-Infrastructure work together on a common strategy and address common issues, including:
The e-IRG, the e-Infrastructures reflection group has formulated recommendations based on the e-Infrastructure Commons vision. These are recommendations to user communities, European organisations of e-Infrastructures, National governments, and the EU.
National governments are recommended to provide basic funding for national e-infrastructures with a focus on continuous innovation and encourage co-operation with other national and European e-Infrastructures. The EU is recommended to strengthen the actions of the national governements by establishing a European harmonised framework for the funding of e-Infrastructure innovation. Also the use of the "Structural Funds" shoul be more applied to e-infrastructures and, of course, a lot of regulatory work needs to be done.
The White Paper that is at the basis of Arjen van Rijn's presentation, can be downloaded from the e-IRG website at http://e-irg.eu . Background info on European e-Infrastructures can be found in the e-IRG Knowledge Base at http://knowledgbase.e-irg.eu .