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This special issue of Annals of Geophysics is dedicated to present and discuss a research infrastructure whose goal is integrating and providing access to solid Earth science data, research products and services as well as promoting physical access to research facilities. This research infrastructure is the European Plate Observing System (EPOS, www.epos-eu.org). The idea of the special issue was matured considering the centrality of research infrastructures in the research process, promoting open science and enabling new forms of research and collaborations by providing solutions to share and distribute data and scientific products. Research infrastructures play a key role in establishing and consolidating interactions between research organizations and academia to govern and manage virtual access to scientific data and physical access to research facilities. Moreover, by providing access to scientific data, products, and information they represent a collaborative framework to foster innovation directly contributing to scientific progress and education in specific scientific domains.
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