Periodic Reporting for period 2 - MERIL-2 (MERIL-2 MAPPING OF THE EUROPEAN RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE LANDSCAPE)
Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2019-08-31
The conclusions of the action were the following:
- An open access database was built, holding 750 published RI records and 1042 identified RIs (short of the set milestones)
- Data was researched and acquired through NDIs, desk and online research, and RI self-submissions, resulting in a coverage of 32 European countries
- Data was refined, cleaned, and standardised through the introduction of a controlled vocabulary, set compulsory and non-compulsory data modules, and comprehensive definitions of RI categories and relevant terms
- Portal functionalities were enhanced through search filters, maps, and two data visualisation tools
- Stakeholders were engaged through conferences, workshops, newsletters, social media, and a dedicated outreach page.
The definitions and the eligibility criteria for inclusion of RIs into the MERIL database have been revised and clarified as to allow for easier assessment and check of entries. All the relevant documentation was made publicly available on the portal.
The data from the previous MERIL portal were successfully migrated onto the new IT platform and a thorough data quality check was performed, leading to the cleansing and formatting of information for over 500 Research Infrastructures entries.
In parallel, the network of National data Intermediaries (NDIs) covering 30 EU and H2020 Associated Countries was renewed and updated leading to the completion of national RI MERIL eligible lists over 50% of the countries. The collection of the input from the remaining countries is in progress.
The MERIL-2 team has established links and communications channels with a number of European and international initiatives and projects dealing with RI policy, road mapping and international collaboration ( StrESFRI, InRoad, RISCAPE, RITrain, OECD Global Science Forum, eInfraCentral, RICH, Science Europe RI Working Group, etc. ).
In the second reporting period, the portal functionalities were expanded, the data collection increaseds, and the data models populated with data, resulting in 750 published entries. Several initiatives within the RI community contacted the MERIL office in order to obtain data included in MERIL, specific analysis or engage in a collaboration, such as STFC (UKRI), the Australian Data Research Commons, EOSC-Hub, and ERRIS. Most of the enquiries concerned provision of data included in MERIL within a specific research field, support or advice in setting up a thematic database based on our experiences. A key aspect driving these collaborations was the need to reduce duplication of efforts and redundancies in RI reporting and respective data collection.
MERIL-2 will strive to continue to act as a driver for the progressive harmonisation of RI data collection practices at the European level and internationally by engaging in deeper collaborations and information exchanges with relevant policy stakeholders but also at the practical implementation level. As such, the MERIL platform plans to develop into an online information hub and dissemination platform that provides standardised data sets to a variety of stakeholders but can also respond to specific requests. MERIL team will therefore also propose services such as data analysis, benchmarking and statistical overviews to policy makers, national authorities, RI managers or researchers who need evidence for better planning, monitoring and networking of RI resources in Europe.
At project end, MERIL's sharing of its data model and standardised vocabulary have resulted in 1) policy impact (standardised benchmarks for evaluating national and international RI landscapes); 2) data management impact (collaborations to reduce data duplication and render databases interoperable); 3) societal impact (increased availability for RI users in both locating and accessing RIs previously uncatalogued); 4) economic impact (through the availability of landscaping tools and the harnessing of MERIL data to projects highlighting RI services and impact assessment).