Publication Date: 
Tuesday, January 23, 2024

There are still challenges to broader and effective access to Research Infrastructures (RIs) as needed by users to tackle scientific and societal challenges and to underpin the new European Research Area (ERA).
The objectives of the ESFRI Drafting Group on Access are to identify these challenges, propose ways to address them and propose orientations for the revision of the European Charter of Access to Research Infrastructures (the ‘Charter’). This work is part of Action 8 of the ERA Policy Agenda 2022-2024: ‘Strengthen sustainability, accessibility and resilience of research infrastructures in the ERA’.

To this end, the ESFRI Drafting Group on Access implemented in May-June 2023 two parallel surveys: one detailed survey targeting research infrastructures (individual ones or networks with joint access scheme) and one targeting RI stakeholders.The respondents express a large diversity of types of access (physical, remote, virtual), nature of service offered (access to equipment, to data, to collection etc.), including within an RI, often depending on the domain and the nature of the RI (single site or distributed). Among the barriers to broader access, several legal, institutional, and financial aspects were raised as well as technical aspects. The trends related to multidisciplinary efforts, innovation, and green and digital transitions were also discussed. In addition, respondents provided feedback on EU support for transnational and virtual access.

The outcome of the survey is presented in detail in this report. Preliminary recommendations to address access challenges and revise the Charter are tentatively listed and are summarised hereafter.

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