This report analyses the Proposals received and highlights areas for development in the ongoing Virtual Access (VA) pilot. The report also includes general feedback and guidance for those considering to apply for Virtual Access Call 1, which opens on 20 February 2020.
Virtual Access is a pilot programme which allows a Proposer based anywhere in the world to submit a Proposal to one of the SYNTHESYS+ Access partners, making a research case for collection(s) to be digitised. The Proposals which receive funding would see digital outputs made freely accessible & Open Access for both the Proposer and the wider research community. There will be two Virtual Access Calls with a budget of €500,000. Proposals will be prioritised by a Panel of museum, natural sciences, and digitisation experts, and funding will be allocated to projects in accordance to priortisation.
The report includes a summary of Proposals received in the Ideas Call and their states of completion and collaboration across research networks and SYNTHESYS+ Access partners. It includes general guidance for future Proposers, as well as information on bes practice proposal preparation and communicating with Access partners. There are also clarifications on cost models and data release. All applicants to Virtual Access Call 1 are encouraged to read the report.
Virtual Access Call 1 will open on 20 February, with a cut-off of 2 April. After 2 April, no new Proposals will be considered. This allows Virtual Access Coordinators (who correlate VA Proposals across each TAF), four working weeks to ensure Proposals are ready for submission prior to the Call 1 deadline of 30 April.
The report outlines: 'Overall, Ideas Call submissions were of high quality and addressed or began to address the relevant criteria. Submissions were diverse, and some raised concerns about feasibility; proposers will need to be aware that not all digitisation-on-demand through this programme will be feasible at all participating institutions. Early and on-going communication with VA coordinators will be critical to the development of successful proposals.'
SYNTHESYS+ Virtual Access is a trial which aims to better understand digitial workflows and pipelines that serve research communities who require collections data. The world's natural history collections contain at least 2 billion specimens, of which an estimated 55% reside in Europe. Every Proposal submitted to the Virtual Access programme allows us to better understand the needs of research communities at a time when digitising natural science specimens is urgent.
Transnational Access, or Virtual Access?
Visit our Access page to see which Access programme is right for you.