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A Quick Guide to Open Access

What is Open Science and Open Access?
How do I make my publications open access to comply with the EC’s Open Access policy?
What About Copyright and User Licenses?
How Do I Deposit My Work in a Subject or Institutional Repository?
How Do I Select an Open Access Journal?
What is a Predatory Publisher and How Do I Avoid Them?
What is an Article Processing Charge?
How Do I Pay for Open Access?
What about Open Data?
How can OpenAIRE help me?
What is Open Science and Open Access? 
In a nutshell, Open Science describes an on-going movement in the way research is performed, researchers collaborate, knowledge is shared, and science is organised. It affects the whole research cycle and its stakeholders, enhances science by facilitating more transparency, openness, networking and collaboration.

What is Open Science and Open Access? 

Open Science opens up scientific processes and products from all levels to everyone. As such it includes Open Access, Open Research Data, Open Methodology, Open Evaluation, Citizen Science.

Please click here to see the FOSTER OS Taxonomy Tree.

How do I make my publications open access to comply with the EC’s Open Access policy?

To comply with the H2020 OA requirements, it is mandatory to ensure Open Access to all peer-reviewed publications resulting from H2020 funding.

There are two ways you can provide Open Access:
  1. Depositing your peer-reviewed manuscript in a trusted Open Access repository.
  2. Selecting a reputable Open Access journal for publishing your research.

In either case you have to deposit your publications in an Open Access repository, even when publishing in an Open Access journal.
4 simple steps to Open Access


Step 1.
Submit a paper to a journal of your choice (you are not restricted to Open Access journals). Publishing costs (article processing charges) are eligible costs and can be reimbursed within the project period.


Step 2.
Deposit either the published manuscript or the final peer-reviewed version in an Open Access repository as soon as possible and at the latest upon publication. It is not enough to add the publications to Dropbox, project websites, or academic social networks such as ResearchGate.


Step 3.
Acknowledge project funding in the metadata when uploading your article. This can be done by filling in the name of the action, acronym, and grant number.


Step 4.
Choose a suitable license,when uploading the publication to a repository. There are many options on of the most popular are Creative Commons. Check the  publisher’s policy to determine which version you can upload and if an embargo period applies, see the Sherpa/Romeo database. An embargo period of 6 months (or 12 months for the social sciences and humanities) is acceptable.

Note: Even when publishing Open Access, beneficiaries are still required to deposit their publications in a repository.
Check what EC policies and mandates are applicable to your organisation or project


What about Copyright and User Licenses?

Open Access is not an infringement on copyright, in fact making your work open access is perfectly legal.

Authors or their institutes own the original copyright to their research. Publishers often ask authors to sign a copyright transfer agreement in order to publish their research. However, you can always choose to retain your copyright and provide the publisher with an addendum to the publication agreement.

If you signed a copyright transfer agreement, you can provide open access through self-archiving. Sherpa/RoMEO offers a journal-by-journal overview of publisher self-archiving policies. If your publisher does not allow self-archiving that is compliant with the policy of the EC, the EC provides a model amendment to publishing agreements.

If you want to publish your work open access and are unsure about which license to choose, see Creative Commons and GNU (for software and related material) for guidance.

How Do I Deposit My Work in a Subject or Institutional Repository?

 Self-archiving, sometimes referred to as green OA, means you publish in the journal of your choice and deposit a version of the publication in an Open Access repository to make it available online for all.

To comply with the EC’s policy you are required to:

  • Deposit the final peer-reviewed version in an online repository
  • Provide Open Access within 6 months (12 months for HSS research)
  • Ensure Open Access to the metadata, which must include:
    • terms ["European Union (EU)" & "Horizon 2020"]["Euratom" & Euratom research & training programme 2014-2018"]  
    • name of the action, acronym and grant number  
    • publication date, the length of the embargo period (if applicable), and a persistent identifier, e.g. DOI

Publisher policies on self-archiving can be found on SHERPA/RoMEO.
It is strongly recommended to deposit publications in an institutional or subject repository. An overview of Open Access repositories can be found on OpenDOAR. If you do not have a repository to deposit your article in, then you can use the Zenodo repository, hosted by CERN.


How Do I Select an Open Access Journal?

Generally, the same factors apply for selecting an Open Access journal as when choosing a traditional journal to publish your article.

There are a few resources specifically for Open Access journals that you may also consult.  

Evaluate how well the journal meets the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing, a list of criteria developed jointly by the DOAJ, OASPA, the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME).

Note: To comply with the Horizon 2020 Open Access mandate you have to deposit your publications in an open access repository, even when choosing to publish in an open access journal.

What is a Predatory Publisher and How Do I Avoid Them?

Predatory publishers exploit the Open Access publishing model for their own profit.  In some cases, predatory journals offer little or no peer review.  
Always check if your chosen journal is reputable:

  • Don’t trust unsolicited e-mails.
  • View recent publications in the journal.
  • Ensure that the journal has an ISSN and that the ISSN is validated.
  • Check for societies affiliated with the journal.
  • Look at journal’s leadership and its professional affiliations: Have you heard of the editorial board members? Is the journal listed in the DOAJ? Is the publisher a member of the OASPA or the COPE? Is the journal hosted on one of INASP’s Journals Online platforms or on African Journals Online?

A list of trusted OA journals is included in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).


What are Article Processing Charges (APCs)?

Article Processing Charges (APCs) are publication fees charged to authors to make publications immediately open access. APCs can vary widely, however the majority of open access journals are APC-free. So you can avoid APCs by publishing in such a journal, or by self-archiving.

You can find an overview of trusted open access journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals.

How Do I Pay for Open Access?  

Making your research open access does not have to cost anything. By depositing your articles in a repository or finding an open access journal that does not charge APCs, you can provide open access for free.However, under H2020 APCs are eligible costs for reimbursement for the duration of the grant agreement. You should already include costs for open access publishing in the budget of your project proposal.  
APCs for finalized FP7 projects might also be eligible for funding through the FP7 post-grant Open Access publishing funds pilot.

What about Open Data?

We have a whole page dedicated to making your data openly accessible and how to comply with the Open Research Data Pilot over here.

How can OpenAIRE help me?

We are here to help and inform you. We make sure your publications are picked up by our infrastructure and send them to the EC so you don’t have to. We link papers to projects and projects to datasets. You can look up your project page here - it also includes a neat Appbox.

  • Fact sheet
  • Helpdesk
  • Faq
  • ….

If you have questions, you can contact us.