Managing user access is critical for large initiatives or facilities that attract users from various fields and from all over the world. It helps ensure that the facility is used adequately, effectively and efficiently.
Managing user access will differ depending on the size and nature of the initiative or the facility, as well as recognized practices in their research field. However, there are some general practices related to the management of user access that are worth taking into consideration. These include:
- Having policies and procedures that are clear and concise, and that help ensure a fair and transparent process for the potential users;
- Clearly defining the evaluation criteria and process that will be used to allocate user access;
- Clearly defining the various classes of users and the associated user fees or rates for equipment (when applicable);
- Ensuring that committees or individuals involved in the review or who are responsible for allocating user access are unbiased;
- Restricting physical access to the facility and its equipment to registered users only;
- Putting in place an adequate scheduling process and clear communication of schedules for users to avoid conflicts and maximize the use of the facility and its equipment.
Here's how one facility has implemented these practices.
Canadian Light Source (CLS)
Access to most beamlines at the CLS is oversubscribed. To manage this, the CLS has put in place various access mechanisms for users to obtain beamline time. The review process and the methodology by which user beamline time is awarded, allocated and scheduled vary depending on the access mechanism chosen by the user.
The consideration for access includes:
- Having external, arm’s-length members on committees charged with the peer review process,
- Ensuring that user access is transparent and unbiased,
- Sharing user access processes and policies with the community, and
- Establishing a complaint mechanism that includes a neutral party.
To learn more about how the CLS establishes user access, consult this CLS document on access mechanisms.
The CLS is Canada’s national centre for synchrotron research, located at the University of Saskatchewan.
Telephone: 306 657-3514
Email: gianluigi.botton [at] lightsource.ca
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