What is new with MERIL?

The MERIL team has been quite active in the last two months, travelling around Europe to present the project and to foster further discussions with the RI community and stakeholders.

Interoperability workshop in Athens

On 25 and 26 June 2018 the MERIL team organised a workshop hosted by EKT in Athens (Greece) to discuss interoperability challenges and opportunities with the wider community, looking into the current initiatives in RI data models and database management but also exploring sustainability and financing for the future.

The discussions were very fruitful and you can find below key points and takeaways from our discussions:

  • A one-size fits all solution is a major challenge: The solution lies in developing a tailored plan for interoperability with each interoperability partner.
  • MERIL will aim to issue persistent identifiers for RIs: This will be of service to the community as it will provide a simple, standardised way for RIs to be credited in research papers, for example. Importantly, this supports the case for MERIL's long term role and will help other organisations link back to the database (i.e. active link to the MERIL portal profile page).
  • More MERIL filters and search options available: Expanding the filtering and search functionality of the MERIL portal would help to allow for a more flexible data slicing.
  • Improving structuring of MERIL data: Using vocabularies and mark-up was suggested as an improvement to the database’s data structuring.
  • Fostering collaboration: Several interoperability partnerships were identified during the event, e.g. Re3data, EurOcean and Wayforlight, with which further conversations are currently ongoing. It would be useful for MERIL to also push data to databases that are already used by the research community.
  • MERIL should consider providing its own unique services to users: Several ideas to this end were discussed - such as presenting user stories and case studies to highlight the added value of these services in order to support the case for MERIL being an irreplaceable tool- but more work to define the opportunities is needed.

The new interoperability strategy will be published on MERIL website the fall. Further details will follow.

EuroScience Open Forum in Toulouse

At the beginning of July the ESF participated in the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) in Toulouse, France, which is the largest interdisciplinary science meeting in Europe, with an attendance of over 4,000 delegates from 80 countries.

The conference offered the European Science Foundation (ESF) a unique opportunity to present the MERIL project at its dedicated booth in the exhibition area. During the week, MERIL team members engaged in fruitful discussions with researchers, RI managers and policy makers, discussed the MERIL team's efforts toward interoperability and obtained very valuable feedback on the portal.

ESF staff members at the MERIL booth during ESOF 2018.

Some of the highlights of the week were the presentation of the new MERIL brochure, in which there is a description of the project, how to use the portal and how to be indexed in it as an RI. To find all the information in a nutshell, take a look at the new MERIL teaser video that was also presented at ESOF. For a more in-depth vision, you can also watch the full version.



What’s next?

The ESF will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding with NFEC on 23 August in Strasbourg (France). The aim is to strengthen the partnership between the two organisations and lay out the next steps in collaboration, notably through interoperability between the MERIL portal and NFEC databases, such as WOLF.

After the summer break the ESF will also be participating in two more events in Vienna (Austria): On 11 September at the Launch of the 2018 ESFRI Roadmap on RIs in Europe, and from 12 to 14 September at ICRI 2018.