MERIL Fast Facts
Everything you need to know about MERIL explained,
one question at a time
What is MERIL?
MERIL is an online database that maps all European research infrastructures in Europe. The portal covers all scientific domains, including social sciences and humanities.
MERIL uses a standardised, bottom-up approach, where RI managers, researchers, and national data intermediaries supply information on RIs that are eligible to be included in the database.
What’s different about MERIL?
Sure, there are other databases of RIs out there, but none quite like MERIL.
First, MERIL’s RI listings run across all scientific fields, countries, or types of RIs. It is the largest, most comprehensive catalogue of its kind, with over 1000 identified research infrastructures across the European landscape.
Second, you can be certain that the information you find in MERIL is authentic and accurate: we get our data directly from RI managers, who provide us with detailed and up-to-date facts about their RI. Then, each entry is painstakingly reviewed by one of our data analysts to ensure it is correct. This level of quality review is one of MERIL’s trademarks.
Third, MERIL isn’t just an aggregate of external links: each entry holds information about an RI’s objective and mission, its available services and equipment, and the user-created keywords that best describe its activities.
Who uses MERIL?
MERIL is for researchers, RI coordinators, policy-makers, and funding bodies, be they national or European.
The database has had wide resonance within and beyond these groups as a standard reference in the RI landscape.
It has been sought out for collaboration by research and funding agencies in the UK, Sweden, Romania, the Western Balkans, the US, Korea, and Australia, amongst others, as well as by multiple European projects and organisations – including ORCID, RICH, RI-Vis, CatRIs, RI-Paths, RI-Train, and EOSC secretariat.
What can I use MERIL for? How can I improve my search experience on MERIL?
- I am looking for RI equipment and services to use for my research
- I want to understand the European RI landscape
- I want to review the RIs in my country and compare them to another country
- To improve your search experience, specify the type of search you would like to perform (e.g. RIs, Equipment, Organisation or Services)
- If known, specify the location country
- Sort your search results by relevance
What’s the use of the visualisation tool?
You may have noticed the two visualisation tools on the portal’s landing page. These aren’t just fun to play with, they provide entry points into the MERIL data that a standard RI record doesn’t.
The first visualisation tool displays data through filters such as location, scientific discipline, and type of RI. Under the “RI status” tab, you will find countries’ RIs broken down by discipline. The second tool allows advanced reporting.
Together, both tools produce a much-needed comparative and international perspective on the RI landscape – all at a glance.
Take a look at the tutorials and learn how to get the most out of the MERIL data:
What’s next for MERIL?
Good question! The project’s Horizon 2020 funding will end in August 2019, but the database will remain live and searchable. In fact, we are planning to streamline and refine the platform so that it becomes the most responsive and relevant tool it can be for researchers, funders, and policy-makers.
In addition, MERIL will soon become interoperable with two separate databases: Wayforlight, the catalogue of European lightsources, and the Korean National Research Facilities Equipment Center (NFEC) WOLF database (World of Large Facilities).
This step not only provides access to greater datasets – it also allows data to be updated and, importantly, avoids the duplication of information in different catalogues.