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FAQs

What are the criteria for a research infrastructure to qualify to appear in MERIL?

The MERIL project established the following definition of research infrastructures:
A European Research Infrastructure is a facility or (virtual) platform that provides the scientific community with resources and services to conduct research in their respective fields. These research infrastructures can be single-sited or distributed or an e-infrastructure, and can be part of a national or international network of facilities, or of interconnected scientific instrument networks.

Furthermore, an eligible research infrastructure should:

  • Offer scientific and technological performance that is recognised as being of ‘more-than-national' relevance;
  • Offer access to scientific users from Europe and beyond through a transparent selection and admission process;
  • Have a management structure.

MERIL has established a checklist of questions that define whether an RI is eligible to be included in its database:

MERIL eligibility checklist YES NO
1. Does the RI have a policy of providing access to users outside of the country in which it is located or by which it is coordinated?
2. Does the RI provide clear access rules (for example application forms, open calls and contact information) and an access point for users on a publicly available web page?
3. Does the RI provide a website in English (including the access rules)?
4. Does the RI receive national, regional or European public funding?
5. Does the RI have an appointed contact or manager responsible for the RI?
6. The RI is of more than national relevance because it…
a) can provide evidence that it is used by non-national (European or international) users by for example providing the number of non-national users per year
b) is part of a European or international network
c) has formal arrangements or agreements with international partners, for example with similar RIs in other countries

An RI is considered to be eligible to be included in MERIL if all answers to questions 1-5 are positive and if at least one statement under 6 (a, b, or c) applies.

Why do I not find a specific RI?

The MERIL project relies on several sources for the identification of eligible RIs, including representatives from member states and the general public. The RIs in the MERIL database fulfil the above mentioned criteria. If an RI that you think is eligible is missing, please follow the instructions in the next FAQ to suggest it for consideration.

The database is continuously being updated with eligible RIs, but RI profile pages are only published once a core set of required data has been provided by the facility managers, so it may take a few months for an RI to appear on MERIL following its nomination and the eligibility- check.

Internationally distributed RIs, such as ESFRI projects, are normally covered by a single entry, the coordinating centre. The national nodes of internationally distributed RIs may nevertheless have individual entries if they also function autonomously and offer services and facilities independently of the international structure.

Note that MERIL does not include Integrating Activities or short-term projects or networks, although their component parts may be entries in MERIL in their own right. For information on research infrastructure projects funded by the European Commission, please see the RICH Observatory. For a map of facilities funded by the European Commission in the framework of its Integrating Activities, see its Map of Research Infrastructures.

How do I request to add an RI to MERIL?

If you are the coordinator or main contact for a research infrastructure that may be MERIL-eligible and you would like to nominate it for inclusion in MERIL, please download and complete the Self-Assessment Form for Prospective New Entries. When you have filled out the form, please send it to the MERIL team at meril(at)esf.org. We will forward your proposal to the relevant National or International Data Intermediaries for advisement. If the check is positive, the MERIL team will create an entry for the RI and a user account for the contact person to complete the data for the RI through the back office of the portal. The RI profile page will be published once the core set of data has been provided by facility managers and has been quality checked by the MERIL team.

If you are a member of the general public and you think that MERIL is missing a research infrastructure , please use the form available through the homepage to make a suggestion, or contact meril(at)esf.org. The MERIL team will evaluate your suggestion and forward it to the relevant authorities for validation.

Who decides which RIs should be in MERIL?

The MERIL office, in concertation with member state representatives (National Data Intermediaries) and, when necessary, the MERIL Advisory Committee, evaluates the eligibility of identified RIs against the criteria listed above. This evaluation is done on the basis of information provided by the RI’s facility manager. The MERIL office drives an effort to come to a consensus and holds the final authority on the MERIL- eligibility of an RI.

Who enters the information about RIs into the database?

RI facility managers are responsible for entering data about their RI into MERIL. When necessary, the MERIL office may enter information in lieu of the facility manager. The information entered into the MERIL database is quality-checked prior to publication of the RI profile page.

Where can I find the definitions of the data fields?

The data fields are defined in the Metadata Dictionary.