Access services for European research infrastructures play a multifaceted role in facilitating access, providing support and training, coordinating activities, ensuring quality and inclusivity, and promoting awareness and engagement.  

In 2023, the EMSO access activities still required further, although the physical access programme was one of the ongoing activities. In the second half of 2023, it has been decided to plan and implement a set of activities to deliver an integrated EMSO ERIC ACCESS POLICY by mid-2024. The EMSO Access Policy Plan, structured in 6 priority actions from P1 to P6, will make it possible to provide a rigorous framework for activities currently defined annually. 

As Priority P1, with status Done, the definition of the context and scope has been clearly and rapidly achieved, by identifying the European research infrastructures arena as the main context and the EMSO community as the specific context of the access policy. The primary objective of the EMSO ERIC access policy is to facilitate access to state-of-the-art research facilities, resources, and expertise, enabling researchers to conduct high-quality scientific investigations and experiments.

In the drafting process of the EMSO ERIC Access Policy, as Priority P2 (done), it has been crucial to collect and analyse policies and guidelines published by the relevant research community on access services, access policies and guidelines from other research infrastructures as well as from the members of the EMSO ERIC (Regional facilities). Any previous relevant document produced by EMSO ERIC directly regarding access activities was also considered, for instance: data portal docs, physical access programme docs, EMSO LINK deliverables, etc..

Priority P3 under finalisation, identifying and analysing the interests, influence, and potential impact of the stakeholders, is a fundamental step to elaborate and maintain an efficient access policy. This step was duly implemented and the main stakeholders identified for the EMSO access policy and the EMSO access service in general are ACCESS USERS, FACILITY MANAGERS/SERVICE PROVIDERS, EMSO ACCESS SERVICE MANAGERS, EMSO ACCESS SERVICE EXTERNAL EXPERTS, FUNDING AGENCIES/DONORS, MEDIA. By engaging with these stakeholders and considering their perspectives, concerns, and interests, we can develop, implement and maintain the access policy transparent, inclusive, and responsive. 

For this reason, a specific engagement phase to support the drafting process was launched at the beginning of 2024: a targeted survey for users of the physical access program was created and submitted, as well as a specific survey for the EMSO regional facilities; a short questionnaire conceived for the wide public is ready to be launched. Several meetings were organised with the EMSO ACCESS SERVICE MANAGERS and the FACILITY MANAGERS/SERVICE PROVIDERS. Further activities are under finalisation trying to engage as many key stakeholders as possible. Please help the EMSO community by promoting this survey when you will receive it.

As a priority P4 just started, the drafting phase has just started in parallel with the finalisation of the engagement activities, mainly related to the here above-referred surveys . 

While the stakeholders’ engagement phase aims at collecting inputs and feedback mainly on the access services at the internal and external levels, the consultation and review phase aims at consulting just the “key” stakeholders on the main features of the future policy and its draft text.  This phase foresees the involvement of the “key” stakeholders, mainly internal: EMSO ERIC CMO staff and EMSO Regional Facilities managers. A few informal meetings to discuss preliminary inputs resulting from the surveys have been recently organised at the level of the CMO. 

The next step of the consultation and review phase is to convene dedicated ExCom meetings to show the results of the engagement phase, submit the draft text and discuss open issues (Priority 5 – just started). 

The Access Policy drafting process will continue with the agreement on a monitoring and evaluating system (P7 – to be done), and the final and formal approval (P6 – to be done).


Author: Valentina Tegas, Policy & Project Management Officer (EMSO ERIC)