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The FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot one year into the initiative: 6th progress report

The FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot has recently completed its first year of operation since its launch on May 30th 2015. This sixth progress report looks into the results for the period. Most figures shown in the report are however dated June 15th, as this marks an important milestone for the project: as of mid-June, the pre-payment agreements that OpenAIRE has signed with publishers like Copernicus, BioMed Central and Wiley are starting to be implemented. This means a new set of additional workflows for the initiative, which are gradually starting to be tested. These new workflows will make both the funding request and the invoicing processes much easier for the researcher.

The implementation of these pre-payment agreements is expected to have a significant impact on some of the aspects that this series of progress reports regularly analyses, such as the distribution of approved funding requests by country and by publisher. Pre-payments also mean a discount on the charged APC fee, so they will save the Pilot some money and may push down the average Article Processing Cost (APC) being paid by this initiative.

This report provides then a snapshot of the FP7 Post-Grant OA Pilot just before the first pre-paid requests start to arrive into the OpenAIRE system. This will allow for an easy assesment of their impact in future reports.

As of June 15th, 2016, the Pilot has committed its first one million euros in funding for Open Access. Half of this has been devoted to Open Access publishing A further block grant of €300,000 is held as pre-paid funds by publishers and institutions. Finally, the alternative funding mechanism for APC-free Open Access journals – whose June 30th deadline for bid submission is quickly approaching – has been allocated €200,000. The budget for these last two items will, of course, be gradually spent over the course of the next few months but it is already into the Pilot accounting.


421 funding requests have been approved as of mid-June, with a growing number of funded books (25) and book chapters (9). Journal articles continue to represent the vast majority of the funded publications (391). The average APC fee for these approved requests for articles and book chapters is €1,424 – a slight decrease compared to previous values. Overall average fees paid are stable and are expected to remain that way.

The pre-payment agreements are also expected to have a relevant impact on the dissemination of the initiative. So far the Pilot has mainly relied on institutions and libraries to reach out to researchers about the initiative. As shown by the funding request distribution by countries in the report, this has proved reasonably successful but also challenging. With the pre-payment agreements, the Pilot is beginning to 'catch' potentially eligible publications at submission time. This offers clear opportunities to also collaborate with publishers for disseminating the funding initiative to researchers, while at the same time enhancing the role played by libraries. More information on this workline will be provided once the workflows start to be tested.

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23 Sep 2020

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