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The European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science Preparatory Phase

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - E-RIHS PP (The European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science Preparatory Phase)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2018-07-31

The core challenge of E-RIHS PP is to prepare the establishment of the European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science in the form of an European Research Infrastructure Consortium. E-RIHS ERIC will be a permanent research ecosystem associating people, instruments, competencies and governance to provide innovative research of the highest quality and societal involvement. E-RIHS aims to provide a unified scientific approach to the most advanced European instruments, data and services for the analysis, interpretation, preservation, transmission, documentation and management of heritage.

E-RIHS associates outstanding research centres and institutes in HS, as well as prestigious research laboratories and conservation centres. Their high reputation arises not only from the international recognition of their scientists and scholars, who combine technical expertise with great historical knowledge of tangible heritage of all types, but also from the variety and quality of the capacities and instrumentations there available. The heart of E-RIHS is then a coordinated group of highly qualified researchers and outstanding instruments and services provided to the European user communities. E-RIHS access services will be provided through four integrated platforms:
• E-RIHS ARCHLAB: physical access to specialised knowledge and organized scientific information – including technical images, samples and reference materials, analytical data and conservation documentation – in datasets largely unpublished from archives of prestigious European museums, galleries and research institutions.
• E-RIHS DIGILAB: online access to scientific data concerning tangible heritage, making them FAIR (Findable-Accessible-Interoperable-Reusable). It includes and enables to access searchable registries of specialized digital resources (datasets, reference collections, thesauri, ontologies, etc.); supports data interoperability through the creation of shared knowledge organization systems and provides tools to process them according to researchers’ needs and research questions. Such data will primarily consist in measurement results and scientific information (texts, images, 3D models and more).
• E-RIHS FIXLAB: access to large-scale and medium-scale facilities – particle accelerators and synchrotrons, neutron sources; non-transportable analytical instruments (e.g. micro-CT) – offering a unique expertise to users in the heritage field for sophisticated scientific investigations on cultural and natural heritage objects, both samples and whole items, revealing their microstructure, chemical composition and age, giving essential and invaluable insights into historical technologies, materials, alteration and degradation phenomena or authenticity.
• E-RIHS MOLAB: access to an impressive array of advanced mobile analytical instrumentation for non-invasive measurements on precious, fragile or immovable objects, archaeological sites and historical monuments. The MObile LABoratory allows its users to implement complex multi-technique diagnostic projects, permitting the most effective in situ investigations.
WP1 All project bodies were established. Most importantly, a Stakeholders Advisory Board (SAB) composed by distinguished representatives of decision-making funding bodies – for each country participating – creates a continuous interaction between the project and its major stakeholders, helping strategic, legal and financial planning to converge to commonly agreed solutions.
WP2 the documents on quality assessment, key performance indicators and risk management, and ethical guidelines are drafted. Work is underway in designing the governance structure, the governance and roles of central and national hubs.
WP3 has developed different scenarios of funding and cost models that are ready for further refinement. A preliminary report on the financial aspects of data policy and management has been drafted.
WP4 is finalizing a set of legal documents (e.g. Memorandum of Understanding, Statutes) for the establishment and the operation of E-RIHS ERIC.
WP5 is designing an integrated and interoperable Access Policy and Procedures in reference to the four project platforms, with a special attention to data access and interoperability in light of recent EU flagship initiatives such as EOSC, the European Open Science Cloud; is liaising with global initiatives on data RDA, the Research Data Alliance, where E-RIHS is active through the participation in the GEDE (Group of European Data Experts).
WP6 Major progress was achieved with regard to cooperation with the intergovernmental organization ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) which led to the drafting of a statement for cooperation proposal, now ready to be signed. The cost-benefit analysis and socio-economic impact assessment as well as the investment policies for the lifecycle of E-RIHS including its transition phase are currently under implementation.
WP7 E-RIHS is been building partnerships with other heritage organisations and training providers such as ICCROM and PARTHENOS (Pooling Activities, Resources and Tools for Heritage E-research Networking, Optimization and Synergies). Plan on Education and Training has been devised and the Training Strategy drafted.
WP8 is performing the inventory of services for new communities of users for E-RIHS related to the study and interpretation of cultural heritage by the different communities (e.g. Paleoanthropology, Archaeology, Conservation, Social Sciences and Humanities). The design of an online catalogue of resources and services provided by E-RIHS is advancing.
WP9 The first version of the Scientific Vision document was prepared and feeds into Scientific Strategy and the E-RIHS Scientific and Technical description (S&TD), one of the documents for the application for ERIC status. Innovation is a second pillar of E-RIHS success in balance with Scientific Excellence. In this respect, Analysis of the Innovation Background document reviewing the current innovation background for the E-RIHS partnership and assessing the existing heritage science innovation landscape has been prepared as a backbone for the Innovation Agenda.
WP10 has set the basis to launch the Heritage Hub, an easy-to-use but powerful collaboration platform able to act as an access point for information, services, good practices, training and virtual meetings for researchers, users, stakeholders to discuss topics of interest
WP11 provides a coherent strategy and plans for the adoption of project outcomes, including business and legal work, to prepare the E-RIHS implementation. First outline of the Scientific & Technical Description document has been prepared.
A successful completion of all the activities in the E-RIHS PP work plan will allow E-RIHS ERIC to be finally started-up as a permanent European RI, integrating national facilities of recognized excellence to support research in HS, with a sustainable plan of activities. The extension towards a global RI, in which E-RIHS could be the leading partner, will further expand its impact. E-RIHS will bridge scientific communities across the ERA by connecting researchers and scholars in the Humanities and Natural Sciences, fostering a cross-disciplinary culture of exchange and cooperation which will make the ERA of HS a cohesive, attractive scientific domain with a clear, long-term global leadership.
MOLAB Italy - Sunmix project: spectrophotometric analysis of the Sunflowers painting by Van Gogh
FIXLAB - Researcher at work at the MTA Atomki in Budapest
ARCHLAB - Scientific documentation about the portrait of Baudouin de Lannoy by Van Eyck
DIGILAB - Movida: Software for storing scientific data (CNR-ISTM)