- Where practicable, all government-funded research infrastructure in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia should be made available for open access regardless of which host organization manages them.
- A host organization may decide to exclude a research infrastructure from open access or restrict its access to specific external users under the access limitation conditions detailed in this policy.
i. Access prioritization
- Access to research infrastructure may be prioritized according to three different access modes: ‘excellence-driven’, ‘market-driven’, and ‘wide’. Host organizations may prioritize access according to one access mode, or any combination of them.
1. Excellence-driven access
The excellence-driven access mode is exclusively dependent on the scientific excellence, originality, quality, and technical and ethical feasibility of an application evaluated through host organizations’ internal procedures.
2. Market-driven access
The market-driven access mode applies when access is defined through an agreement between the external user and the host organization that will generally lead to a fee for access and may remain confidential.
3. Wide access
The wide access mode applies when access is readily available and broadly open to the public. The host organizations adopting this mode maximizes availability and visibility of the data and services provided (for example, online scientific data, or digital services provided by the host organization).
ii. Access processes, interactions, and support measures
- Host organizations should clearly communicate to external users the processes and interactions involved in accessing research infrastructure. This may consist of applying, negotiating, evaluating, providing feedback, selecting, admitting, approving, performing feasibility checks, setting up, using, monitoring, and dismantling.
- To facilitate access, host organizations are encouraged to offer support measures to external users, such as guidance through user manuals, trainings, technical support services, online or digital booking tools with visibility on research infrastructure inventory, accommodation support, relocation, and immigration support.
- External users may be required to demonstrate that they have the knowledge and/or skills required to use the research infrastructure. Where the external user does not have the required knowledge/skills, the option to train new users can be made available.
2. Intellectual property rights
- In general, external users leveraging government-funded research infrastructure within a host organization should enjoy complete rights over their own IP.
- Providing access to government-funded research infrastructure does not give the host organization the ability to claim IP rights to work done by others.
- In case of collaborative research, IP rights should be detailed by the host organization in accordance with national IP legislation.
3. Acknowledgments and co-authorship
- External users should acknowledge the contribution of the host organization in any output (for example, publication, patent, and data) derived from research conducted within a host organization’s realm.
- In accordance with good scientific practice, external users are also encouraged to offer co-authorship to those working at the host organization who have made genuine scientific contributions to their work.
4. Health, safety, security, and environment
- Host organizations should undertake necessary actions, including instruction, to ensure the health, security, and safety of any external user accessing government-funded research infrastructure, and minimize the impact on the environment.
- Where applicable, external users should comply with security, safety, and environmental rules, and with procedures in force within the host organization. This particularly concerns notifying host organizations about the introduction of material and instrumentation that could introduce risks or ethical issues to the facility.
5. Damage responsibility and quality assurance
- Host organizations should ensure that the government-funded research infrastructure is used correctly and with due care required in the given circumstances.
- Conditions detailing what happens in the unlikely event of equipment damage (which excludes normal wear and tear) should be clearly communicated.
- Host organizations are encouraged to set in place mechanisms to control and evaluate the quality of access, for example by:
- Conducting quality control testing to eliminate the risk of non-conforming outcomes
- Seeking feedback from external users
- Monitoring the consequences of access to the research infrastructure
6. Data management and confidentiality
- Host organizations should ensure that research data are appropriately maintained, archived for a reasonable period, and are available for review and (re-)use.
- Host organizations and external users should have an agreement on how to (re-)use the research data. If appropriate, they are also encouraged to consider providing open access to research data.
- Host organizations and external users should agree on a data management plan, outlining how research data will be handled.
- Host organizations and external users should abide by confidentiality obligations as stipulated by the host organization’s internal rules and procedures and in compliance with the National Data Management Office policies (where applicable).
7. Access limitations
- A host organization may exclude a government-funded research infrastructure from open access or restrict its access to a specific external user under the following considerations (among others):
- National security and defense considerations
- Privacy and confidentiality considerations
- Commercial sensitivity and IP rights considerations
- Ethical considerations
- Operational and capacity considerations
- Legal and contractual obligations
8. Inventory and utilization tracking
- Host organizations should keep record of the government-funded research infrastructure they manage through a transparent and well-maintained inventory.
- Host organizations should use appropriate tools (for example, access units) to track the utilization of the government-funded research infrastructure they manage.
- Efforts will be made to integrate host organizations’ inventories of government-funded research infrastructure in a national portal or other online tools, with an aim to improve visibility for external users and facilitate intergovernmental coordination and stakeholders’ engagement.
9. Maintenance monitoring
- Host organizations should use appropriate tools to monitor the maintenance of the government-funded research infrastructure they manage.
- Proper planning should be done to ensure that the government-funded research infrastructure is procured and maintained for a reasonable time/productive life.
- As a good practice for research infrastructure management, a documented maintenance strategy can be developed by each host organization for the research infrastructure they manage. The host organization can adopt an in-house maintenance model or an outsourced model, depending on its needs.