Open Access

Open access to scientific peer reviewed publications has been anchored as an underlying principle in the Horizon 2020 and is explained in the Regulation and the Rules of Participation as well as through the relevant provisions in the grant agreement.

Checklist, all must be met

You must

  • Publish Open Access
  • Keep a record of the attempt
  • Deposit the manuscript
  • Update the project’s publications list


  • What is Open Access

The core idea of Open Access is to make research results freely available, so that the world can progress a little further. Or, more pragmatically, to ensure the dissemination of research results and increase the visibility and impact of the research (and its financial backers). There are discussions about the practicalities surrounding its implementation and the consequences thereof, and you may or may not support it, but as an H2020 beneficiary you are contractually bound to publish output sourced in the project, as Open Access.

In addition, regardless of how and where you publish, you are also obliged to deposit your article/manuscript in an approved repository. To make all this a little easier, colleagues from the ITN NanoHeal project have made a small guide with the above checklist.

  • How to publish

What:   The classic academic article. For now, books (complete or chapters) are not included.

Where: The author chooses where to publish the article. One is encouraged to choose an Open Access journal.

How:     The contract requires you to enquire with the publisher about Open Access to the article. The documentation of this enquiry should be archived. You are free to choose whether to pay for the Open Access (“Gold” — an eligible project cost) or not (“Green”, with a 6 month embargo period)[1].


Guidelines from the EU on the Open Access of articles:

  1. It is not enough if you just deposit the initial article to a repository (e.g. to arXiv). The peer-reviewed articles should be open access (or at least the postprint, that is the article after peer review but not necessarily with the final changes).
  2. The articles should be made open access at 6 months after publication in the journal and not later. If they cannot make it at 6 months, projects should justify it. You should send the justification to us a few weeks before signing the publication agreement.
  3. If you cannot have the articles open access, you should justify why it is important to publish in a particular journal. Any justification for conditions deviating from the GA obligations should be sent to us before signing the publication agreement. You should never sign any publication agreements that are contrary to the GA obligations without our agreement. But as a general rule we cannot approve changes to the GA articles.

You should negotiate with the journals and insist on the open access publication because this is a funders’ requirement. A researcher has published his story of how he negotiated to publish his article open access.

  • How to deposit

What:   You are supposed to deposit the peer-reviewed manuscript. This can either be the final published article or the final peer-reviewed manuscript (ie. the final text, but not in its published, formatted form: the so-called pre-printversion). Which one you choose is in practice determined by the agreement between you and the publisher. If the publisher disallows the former, you can in most cases deposit the latter. If your chosen publisher also refuses this, even with a given embargo, the particularities will have to be investigated and agreed upon on a case-by-case basis.

Where: Your manuscript should be deposited in the institutional repository of your (ie. the 1st author’s) affiliated research institution. If this is not possible, you should choose a suitable subject/thematic repository. If the publisher has one, you can use this, provided that the access to it is open. The Commission’s OpenAire[2] system can help you find a repository (choose “Deposit” in the “Participate” menu). If, for any reason, you are unable to find a specific repository, Cern’s Zenodo system is approved by the Commission and open for all.

[1] All papers will be published in journals that have been marked by RoMEO as green, blue or yellow.

[2] Note that OpenAire is NOT a repository in itself. The Commission has announced that they are planning to create a thematic repository, but as of yet, this has not happened.

Published Mar. 29, 2016 2:58 PM - Last modified Sep. 9, 2019 1:17 PM