Created in 2022 by the FCCN Unit, the Polen project aims to promote Open Science and meet the needs of the scientific community in the management of research data. The Research Data Manager of the FCCN Unit, Filipa Pereira, explains us how these objectives will be met, stressing the importance of this area within the scientific activity: "Proper management of research data contributes to greater visibility of research projects [...], as well as to something that is very important: the sharing and reproducibility of research". 

The FCCN Unit has recently launched the Polen project. What does this initiative consist of and what is the context that leads to its creation?  

The Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), through the FCCN Unit, has been actively participating in the implementation of actions and measures aimed at the transition to research methodologies based on Open Science principles.  

In this context, the Polen project was launched, which aims to meet the needs of the scientific and higher education community in the management of their research data. At the same time, it aims to promote the principles and practice of Open Science, ensuring the sharing and preservation of research data generated under publicly funded projects. 

The Polen project complements the set of services in the area of Open Science, already provided by FCT, through the FCCN Unit. 

Research data is of growing importance in the context of digital transformation. How does Polen respond to this reality?  

Research data has indeed been assuming a significant importance in the context of digital transformation. Proper research data management contributes to greater visibility of research projects and to greater accessibility, quality and validation of data, ensuring their preservation, as well as something that is very important: the sharing and reproducibility of research.  

Our project aims precisely to support best practices in research data management and the promotion of a more open, inclusive and transparent science. 

In strategic terms, the Polen project is based on four axes of action, which are interconnected. On the one hand, the importance of adopting a policy of management and sharing of research data, duly framed with the best recommendations and the current research context. On the other hand, the availability of data management services and infrastructures that contribute to its effective management. Another important aspect is the development of communication, training and dissemination activities, promoting the adoption of the FAIR Principles (localizable, accessible, interoperable and reusable data) and Open Science. Finally, we highlight the alignment with national and international initiatives and projects in this area, including the digital initiative European Open Science Cloud(EOSC). 

Research data is seen as instrumental in promoting Open Science. How can Polen support this dissemination and what are some of the benefits that can come from such support, for science and for society?  

The services to be provided by the Polen project to the scientific and higher education community are based on the best practices of management and sharing of research data, as well as on the principles and practices of Open Science.  

In this way, the scientific community can achieve greater visibility and reach of its research, a validation of its results, greater efficiency, and an expanded collaboration network.  

For its part, society will benefit from greater knowledge transfer, greater openness and transparency in scientific processes, greater reliability, and even greater involvement.  

 
Thinking about the end user, who can benefit most from Polen? And in what ways?  

The Polen initiative is aimed at FCT funding recipients and, in general, institutions of the scientific and higher education system. This community can rely on the services of management and sharing of research data, training and capacity building activities, and alignment with projects and initiatives for research data management and Open Science. 

"[With Polen], the scientific community will be able to gain greater visibility and reach of their research, a validation of their results, greater efficiency, and an expanded network of collaboration." 

 At a time when the project has just been launched, what are some of the short and medium term goals? And in the long term?  

In the short to medium term, the project aims to provide services that support proper management and sharing of research data

In terms of data management and planning, a System of Data Management Plans (PGDs) has already been made available, which will enable researchers to prepare and update their PGDs. Through this best practice, it is possible, for example, to describe the data generated and/or reused, assess the storage and safeguarding of data, plan their preservation, identify the various actors involved in the data management process, as well as how they may be reused in other contexts and research. This service is already available and is based on the Argos tool. 

We are also implementing the Polen Research Data Repository Service, which will allow recipients of FCT funding instruments to aggregate, store, preserve, manage and provide access to research datasets. Through the deposit of data, it is intended to increase opportunities for collaboration among the community, contributing to the reproducibility and dissemination of science, as well as to its validation. This service will begin its pilot phase very soon. 

We intend in the long term, and continuously, to assess the needs of the community. We will also continue to monitor the development of Open Science policies, the evolution of digital transformation, data management and sharing practices, and relevant initiatives and projects in this area. 

Is there anything you would like to add?  

I would like to mention that the involvement of the community in this issue has been very relevant, participated and promising. In this scope, I must highlight three important initiatives that have been developed in collaboration with the University of Minho.  

On the one hand, I would like to highlight the Research Data Management Forum, which has already had nine editions, and which has been energizing the community of professionals and researchers involved in activities supporting the management of research data, debating important issues and showcasing innovative projects. 

The Working Groups of the GDI Forum, which count with the participation of members from different institutions and scientific areas, also deserve to be highlighted, as they contribute to the sharing of experiences and the development of useful resources for the community. 

Finally, he also highlighted the 3rd edition of the Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) "The Essentials of Research Data Management", available at the NAU Platform and which aims to train, update and enlighten the community on this theme. This edition will be available soon. 

In the meantime, I invite the scientific and higher education community to learn more about the Polen Project at: https://polen.fccn.pt/.   

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