Guides for Researchers

How to comply with H2020 mandate - for research data

  • What is required?

    Horizon 2020 projects are required to:
    1. Develop a Data Management Plan (DMP)
    2. Provide open access to research data, if possible.

    This requirement, called the Open Research Data Pilot, applies to:

    • The data (and metadata) needed to validate results in scientific publications.
    • Other curated and/or raw data (and metadata) that you specify in the DMP.
  • Is my project part of these requirements?

    It depends when your project started. As of 2017 participating in the Pilot is the default option for all Horizon 2020 projects, though opting out is accepted. If your project started before that date, check whether you have Article 29.3 in your grant agreement.

    Projects started in 2014-2016: Limited PilotFrom 2017: Extended Pilot
    Limited pilot: some areas participate: Check Article  29.3 Participating is the default option for all projects
    Possibility to opt-out but also to opt-in on voluntary basis for other areas Possibility to opt-out

  • How to comply?

    There are three steps to comply with the Open Research Data Pilot:

    Step 1: Write a DMP

    The first version of your DMP has to be submitted within six months. You should update your DMP whenever significant changes occur, but at a minimum for periodic evaluation and the final review. See below for more information.

    Step 2: Find a research data repository

    Find a data repository that matches your data needs and discipline. An overview of repositories can be found at Re3data.

    video tutorialSee a demonstration of searching for research data repositories using the Re3data directory

    There are discipline-specific data deposit recommendation services, for example the Data Deposit Recommendation Service for humanities researchers where you could find a suitable digital repository to deposit your research data or to include in your data management plan by answering a set of questions.

    If there is no subject-specific data repository available, catch-all repositories such as Zenodo, provide a good alternative.

    Step 3: Deposit your data

    Deposit the data and the information necessary to access and use it, i.e. metadata and tools/instruments, in the data repository. Data repositories allow you to provide persistent identifiers to your datasets, so that they can be cited, linked and tracked. Attach an open licence, such as a Creative Commons license, to the datasets that can be made openly available.

     OpenAIRE recommends to use the Creative Commons CC0 or CC-BY licence for open access to data.

     Need help with choosing the right licence? Check out:
  • What is a Data Management Plan?

    A Data Management Plan (DMP) is a formal document that specifies how research data will be handled both during and after a research project. It identifies key actions to ensure that research data are safe, sustainable and – where possible – accessible and reusable. A DMP should be considered a ‘living’ document - it is ideally created before or at the start of a research project, but updated when necessary as the project progresses. Planning for data management is therefore not a one-off event, but a process. To help you, there are DMP templates made available. The DMP template for H2020 projects provided by the EC includes:

    • A summary of your data
    • How to make your data FAIR
    • Information about costs and resources
    • Information about data security
    • Ethical aspects

    DMPonline is an online tool that provides a number of templates representing the requirements of different funders and institutions, such as Horizon 2020. It also provides further guidance to understand and answer template-specific questions. Plans created with DMPonline can be easily shared with collaborators and exported in various formats.

    If you are based in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, South Africa or Spain, check out other DMPonline installations here.

  • When to create a Data Management Plan?

    The first version of the DMP is expected to be delivered within the first 6 months of the project.

    It should be updated in line with project reviews or in time for the final review at the latest. The project consortium can define a timetable for review in the DMP itself.

  • What about costs?

    Under Horizon 2020, costs for data management are eligible for reimbursement for the duration of the grant agreement. To make an estimate of the cost associated with data management, the University of Utrecht (The Netherlands) compiled a Data Management Cost Guide.

    You can find more detailed information in the EC's Guidelines on FAIR Data Management in Horizon 2020.

  • Can I opt out?

    Not sure you can open your data? Check our Fact sheet on personal data.

    Opting-out: It is possible to opt-out  (not share your data) at any stage: during the application phase or the grant agreement preparation phase or after signing the grant agreement. However, projects that opt out are still encouraged to submit a DMP on a voluntary basis.

    The European Commission recognises that there are good reasons to keep some or even all research data generated in a project closed and therefore provides robust opt-out possibilities at any stage, that is during the application phase during the grant agreement preparation (GAP) phase and after the signature of the grant agreement. Reasons for opting-out have to be given e.g. for intellectual property rights (IPR) concerns, privacy/data protection concerns, national security concern, if it would run against the main objective of the project or for other legitimate reasons (see General Annex L of the 2017 Work Programme adopted at 25 July 2016).

    The key principle to bear in mind is to be "as open as possible, as closed as necessary". If you plan to keep some datasets closed, you need to justify these decisions in your Data Management Plan.

    For more information also check the EC's Guidelines on FAIR Data Management in Horizon 2020.

  • How can OpenAIRE help?

    We are here to help and inform you. We make sure your datasets are picked up by our infrastructure and link them to your project and publications. We also have lots of supporting material that can help you comply with the Open Research Data Pilot. You can find it in the OpenAIRE support page.

    If you have any questions on how we may furhter help you, please do not hesitate to contact us.

  • COVID-19 guidelines

    Guidelines for research data

    • Make research data openly accessible immediately, and in accordance with the FAIR principles. Currently, the Grant Agreement may require (if Art 29.3 option 1c for health actions targeting public health emergencies is active) that you make data accessible at the latest within 30 days of generation. Given the current circumstances, we ask that you consider going beyond your legal obligations and provide immediate open access to all your relevant research data. The use of harmonised protocols in collaboration with other actors is recommended for this purpose. Open data should be licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC BY 4.0) or a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0 1.0) or a licence with rights equivalent to the above.
    • Develop provisions for access to the data if open access is not possible because of exceptions as described in GA Article 29.3, so long as reasons for exceptions are respected. The principle ‘As open as possible, as closed as necessary’ applies. If open access is not provided to the data or any other research outputs needed to validate the conclusions of a scientific publication, the beneficiary should provide the access – digital or physical – needed for validation purposes to the extent that its legitimate interests or constraints are safeguarded.
    • Provide open access to all data that may be useful to researchers. This includes protocols and standards used to collect the data as well as raw and other data that is not necessarily used for publication.
    • Deposit quality-controlled research data in a data repository as soon as possible and within the deadlines set out in your data management plan (DMP). Data generated in the action, both those underpinning a scientific publication, but also stand-alone data, should be deposited in a repository (further resources under the Other useful tools and resources section below) that minimally, ensures the following:
      • Persistent and unique identifiers (PIDs)
      • Long term sustainability
      • Metadata
      • Curation and quality assurance
      • Access (e.g. free and easy access to re-use)
      • Security
      • Privacy
      • Common format
      • Provenance (e.g. maintains a detailed logfile of changes to datasets and metadata)
    • Provide information via the repository about any research output or any other tools and instruments needed to re-use or validate the data. This includes for example software, workflows, models, materials etc. If possible, provide access to the tools or instruments.
    • Include metadata of deposited data under a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC 0 1.0) or equivalent, in line with the FAIR principles (in particular machine-actionable) and provide information at least about the following:
      • Dataset: description, date of deposit, author(s), venue and (if applicable) embargo;
      • Framework Programme and the action: the terms "European Union” (EU) and "Horizon Europe" or “Euratom”, respectively, the name of the action, acronym, grant number);
      • Licensing terms;
      • Persistent identifiers for the dataset: the author(s) (e.g. ORCID, ResearcherID), and, if possible, for the institution(s) (e.g. ROR) and the grant (e.g. DOI);
      • Where applicable, a persistent identifier for the related publication(s) (e.g. DOI, Handle) and other research outputs. 

    Guidelines for Data Management Plans (DMPs)

    • Provide a data management plan (DMP) preferably with the proposal or at the latest before grant signature. The data management plan should address the relevant aspects of making the data findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable (FAIR), including:
      • A description of the data generated/collected (including data types) and an estimate of its size.
      • Whether and how the data will be made accessible for verification and re-use, along with relevant security and privacy considerations.
      • How the research data will be managed (organized, curated, accessed, shared, preserved)
      • Timelines of when generated data will be made open access.
      • An estimation of curation and storage/preservation costs; person/team responsible for data management and quality assurance processes. 
    • Update your DMP regularly: the DMP should be a living document which is updated and enriched with project outputs as the project evolves (e.g. new data sets, new publications, changes in data access or curation policies, etc.). 
    • Register your DMP as a non-restricted, public deliverable that is openly accessible, unless there are reasons (as per GA Article 29.3) to restrict it. 

    Guidelines for other research outputs

    • Manage other research outputs in line with the FAIR principles, and fully document them in your DMP, to facilitate their re-use in the future and to support actions aiming to link corona virus-related research via dedicated platforms. Every effort should be made for other research outputs to be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable.

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