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Horizon Europe - Open Access requirements for publications and data

Horizon Europe is the new framework programme of the European Union for research and innovation, for the 2021-2027 period.

What are the publication requirements with regard to the Open Access mandate?

Beneficiaries must ensure open and immediate access to the final, reviewed version of a scientific publication (articles, monographs, proceedings, etc.) produced as part of the funded project, and in particular they must:

  • Deposit an electronic copy of the published version, or of the post-print, in a “trusted repository” (e.g. our IRIS institutional repository), at the latest at the time of publication;
  • Give immediate open access to the full-text (no embargo); the document must be released under the latest version of the Creative Commons CC-BY License, or equivalent. For monographs, the license may exclude commercial uses and derivative works (CC BY-NC, CC BY-ND);
  • Provide, through the repository metadata, information on all the tools (e.g. DOI for all publications produced by the research) necessary to validate or reuse research results. References to the Grant must be included in the metadata. Metadata must be open under CC 0 license, or equivalent.

Based on the requests of an Open Access call for application, what publication options do beneficiaries have?

Beneficiary authors can publish:

  • Articles on the ORE-Open Research Europe publication platform, created by the Commission and reserved for beneficiaries of EU grants. It meets all OA requirements in the mandate. Costs are covered by the EU, it allows for deposit in an institutional repository, immediate access to all versions of the article and open peer-review;
  • Articles in an Open Access journal. This option involves costs, an author can deposit the published version in a trusted repository. Only the costs incurred for publication in pure OA journals are refundable, not those for hybrid journals. If a hybrid journal is chosen, it is possible to check whether your institution has signed a transformative agreement with that publisher, so that the OA publication can be free of charge.
  • Articles in traditional journals / Monographs. In this case the author must retain intellectual property rights in order to meet the Open Access requirements (contractual clause allowing for the deposit of the post-print version in the institutional archive without embargo, under CC-BY, or CC BY-NC / ND Creative Commons License for monographs).

What are Horizon Europe’s OA requirements for research data?

The Open Access regulations for data provide that:

  • It is mandatory for Data to be  managed in accordance with FAIR principles (which may not be opted out)
  • A Data Management Plan must be drawn up and periodically updated. The data management strategy is subject to evaluation in the context of the project proposal.
  • Data must be deposited in a trusted repository, as soon as possible and anyway within the times established in the DMP (e.g. Zenodo). If requested, the repository must meet the EOSC requirements (what is EOSC?).
  • 0pen access to data must be guaranteed as soon as possible and in any event within the times established in the DMP. Open data must be licensed under Creative Commons CC BY or CC 0 licenses, or equivalent.
  • Information must be provided on all the tools necessary to validate or reuse the search results (e.g. DOI for all publications produced by the research) through the repository metadata, which describe the digital object being uploaded.  References to the Grant must be included in the metadata. Metadata must be open under a CC 0 license, or equivalent.

What if there are valid reasons for not making research products open?

Open access to publications and research data is provided for by the terms of the Grant Agreement, based on the assumption that publications and research data must be "as open as possible, as closed as necessary". However, in certain cases it is not possible to open publications and data: the protection of the beneficiaries’ legitimate interests - including commercial exploitation -, the data protection rules (GDPR), confidentiality, trade secrets, European Union interests, security regulations or intellectual property rights. If the above conditions are met, the beneficiary is required to specify this in the DMP.


What does making data FAIR mean in practical terms?

It means managing research data responsibly, in line with the principles of availability, accessibility, interoperability and reusability, which can help ensure that data is compliant with Open Science.

In practical terms:

  • It must be clear where the data is stored;
  • The conditions for accessing the data must be specified;
  • The data must be archived in a format that can be read by everybody through free software;
  • The data must be accompanied by material that validates it or makes it reusable for new research.












Image source: CGIAR. Creative commons attribution-noncommercial 4.0 international license

On this website, you can find help to ensure that your data complies with the FAIR principles: Using this online tool you can evaluate how FAIR your data is: FAIR-Aware tool

FAIR does not mean OPEN

As already specified for H2020, making data FAIR does not mean openly sharing research data, it simply ensures  that they adhere to good practices for sharing, complying with any ethical, legal or contractual restrictions. By creating and sharing a description of the data (mandatorily open repository metadata) other researchers can contact the author requesting permission to access and reuse it.

Research data is not copyrighted.

Data is not intellectual property (unlike papers, monographs and more). It is protected exclusively when collected and organized in a database. In Europe the sui-generis right covers not only the reproduction and dissemination of the database, but also the unauthorised extraction and reuse of substantial parts of the database.

What is the ORE platform?

The Open Research Europe platform was set up by the European Community with the intention of:

  • Creating its own dedicated publishing platform for scientific articles that are the result of high quality, reliable and efficient research;
  • Ensuring high scientific standards for funded research and rapid and transparent processes (public funds);
  • Making available to the beneficiaries of EU grants a tool that ensures their full compliance with the Open Science requirements requested in the funding calls;
  • Making Open Access publication free of charge, to allow authors to focus more on the content of the search rather than the “container” (e.g. search for high IF journals);
  • Establishing an Advisory Board of leading experts in the various subjects.

How does the ORE publishing platform work?

ORE is accessible only to the beneficiaries of EU funding, accepts papers only, no data or monographs, and is completely free of charge for the authors.

On ORE each step of the peer-review phase is open and transparent, all versions of the work (preprint, post-print and editorial version) are OA published immediately and are each equipped with a DOI, as well as with reviews by the reviewers.

These are the main phases:

  • Submission of the article - the editorial team performs pre-publication checks.
  • Publication and depositing of data - within ten days of submission, the pre-print version is published and the DOI is allocated; compliance of the data with the FAIR principles is verified (to be uploaded to other open repositories, such as Zenodo).
  • Open peer-review and revision of the article - expert reviewers publish their reviews next to the article, visible to everybody; authors are invited to modify the article based on the revisions and to publish the revised version.
  • Articles with positive reviews are sent to the major citational databases (WOS, Scopus ..) to be indexed.

Does ORE have an Impact Factor?

In line with the main global and European funding agencies (see DORA Declaration), through ORE the EU tends to promote evaluation metrics that differ from traditional ones based on journals. On that basis, ORE does not have and will not ask to have, an impact factor.

The scale of this worldwide trend is so broad that the European Community hopes that national academic research evaluation agencies will shortly change the requisites for researchers in line with this trend.

Who can I contact for advanced advice on HEurope projects?

APRE, the Agency for the Promotion of Italian Research to European Funding Calls, has created a website dedicated to Horizon Europe. In addition to forms, information and continuous updates, APRE offers a totally free advanced consultancy desk for researchers who have started or are about to start an application for funding. 

In particular, you can find help here, where you can consult the FAQs or directly contact the staff on the areas you need to clarify.

Further considerable help is offered by APRE through the Guide to Horizon Europe, drawn up in Italian, for experienced and less experienced researchers. The guide addresses all steps of the project cycle, tendering and funding rules, evaluation procedure, etc.

The regulation of intellectual property in HEurope

In terms of references, it is described generically in Chapter 4 of the Model Grant Agreement, and specified in better detail in Article 16 of Annex 5.

APRE has made a short 5-minute video where an expert from the Legal & Finance Team explores the highlights of intellectual property requirements and how to meet them: La proprietà intellettuale in Horizon Europe - YouTube.