Large sums are already being invested in developing data/research infrastructures in the research area and in industry with great ambitions and there is no doubt that much additional awareness, new insights and new types of services and tools will emerge. However, despite these huge investments there is no agreed view on how the future data space should be organized, what its key pillars should be and how access to data will be organized. EOSC  for example is based on the FAIR principles  and should be based on a distributed service landscape. Further specifications are planned to emerge from expert meetings. Similar to the ESFRI process , NFDI  relies on a discipline driven infrastructure building process, however, recognised in the meantime the gap with respect to common services and standards. Under the leadership of Phil Bourne, NIH Commons  a conceptual framework for a digital environment was designed to allow efficient storage, manipulation, and sharing of research objects. Also, big industry is defining strategies for offering services on data based on proprietary binding mechanisms, seriously hampering innovation.
This panel is meant to initiate a discussion across initiatives about major organizational principles and key pillars, i.e., it is a first action item on an intended series of meetings about this topic. Its goal is therefore to identify major aspects that need to be considered when brainstorming about the emerging future global data space. For this purpose, we invited 3 “thinkers” whom we know dare to look ahead without being bound by current projects and political considerations.