REIsearch – A unique bridge between citizens, researchers, and policy makers

The REIsearch platform has been created as a bridge to connect citizens, researchers and policy makers on topics linked to the scientific research and to societal challenges that Europe will face in the years to come.

REIsearch was launched in 2016, with the support of the European Parliament and European Commission, with the objective of showing how a technological tool, coupled to a broad network of leading media, research institutions, researchers, civil society organisations, and citizens, can help policy makers to make better use of all knowledge and experience - wherever it may come from - to make better decisions, based on evidence and experience, for the benefit of society as a whole.

REIsearch is promoted by Atomium – European Institute for Science, Media and Democracy, launched seven years ago at the European Parliament by the former President of France Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and by Michelangelo Baracchi Bonvicini, currently Honorary President and President of Atomium-EISMD.

The platform, thanks to an integrated aggregation system, provides access to data and scientific contents to researchers and citizens interested in scientific topics and their societal impact, facilitating access to articles, journals, legislative and policy documents and scientific data stored in different databases. Currently, REIsearch grants access to over 115 million publications across 3 databases (Mendeley, OpenAire and ScienceDirect) as well as to all the legal and policy documents contained in the EUR-Lex database.

This is fundamental since as highlighted by a recent study conducted by Innocomm Research Center for Science & Innovation Communication, researchers do not have time to search for new publications and information not already available through their normal network (journals, national/disciplinary databases, peers, conferences). Thus, a single access point with an advanced search system such as REIsearch can significantly increase the chances of finding relevant information across a growing ecosystem of scientific databases, including from an inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral perspective. The platform is able to track user behaviours in terms of keyword searches and articles downloaded. Since users are categorised into citizens, researchers and policy-makers, and researchers are asked to specify their competences, this data can provide interesting information in terms of inclination towards inter-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approaches as the user community grow. The platform also allows people to exchange both publicly (via the forum) and privately (according to the social network paradigm).

In 2018 REIsearch has launched its third citizen and media engagement campaign in six languages (English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish) aimed at assessing and improving the digital competences of European citizens. The campaign follows in the steps of the 2016 endeavour on chronic diseases and the 2017 one on the Internet of the future which engaged more than 60.000 people each. This year’s campaign features eight of the major European media as partners (Der Standard, El País, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Les Èchos, Irish Times, Il Sole24ore, Público and Elsevier) and envolves an even higher share of Europeans through a new and gamified approach allowing online users to asses their level of “nerdiness” and discovering if they are a Steve Jobs like digital guru or a Mr Bean of the digital world.