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Open Access in Horizon 2020

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 (see Horizon 2020 Annotated Model Grant Agreement, 25 November 2016 with information about open access on the pages 221-228).

Are you supposed to deposit? > What to deposit > Where to deposit > When to deposit > When should Open Access be provided?

Are you supposed to deposit?

All beneficiaries are required to deposit and ensure open access.

What to deposit

  • A machine-readable electronic copy of the published version

publisher’s final version of the paper, including all modifications from the peer review process, copyediting and stylistic edits, and formatting changes (usually a PDF document)


  • A final peer-reviewed manuscript accepted for publication

final manuscript of a peer-reviewed paper accepted for journal publication, including all modifications from the peer review process, but not yet formatted by the publisher (also referred to as “post-print” version).

Read more about copyright issues...

Where to deposit

Researchers should deposit in a repository for scientific publications (online archives) of their choice.

  • Institutional repository of the research institution with which they are affiliated


  • Subject-based/thematic repository


  • Centralised repository, e.g. Zenodo repository set up by the OpenAIRE project are acceptable choices.

When to deposit

Each beneficiary must deposit as soon as possible and at the latest on publication.

When should Open Access be provided

Each beneficiary must ensure open access to the deposited publication — via the repository — at the latest: (i) on publication, if an electronic version is available for free via the publisher, or (ii) within six months of publication (twelve months for publications in the social sciences and humanities) in any other case.

For open access publishing, researchers can publish in open access journals, or in journals that sell
subscriptions and also offer the possibility of making individual articles openly accessible (hybrid journals).  Where the case, the Author Processing Charges (APCs) incurred by beneficiaries are eligible for reimbursement during the duration of the action. For APCs incurred after the end of their grant agreement, a mechanism for paying some of these costs will be piloted. In the case of open access publishing open access must be granted at the latest on publication.

Beneficiaries must also ensure open access to the bibliographic metadata that identify the deposited publication. The bibliographic metadata must be in a standard format and must include all of the following:

  • the terms ["European Union (EU)" and "Horizon 2020"]["Euratom" and Euratom research and training programme 2014-2018"];
  • the name of the action, acronym and grant number;
  • the publication date, and length of embargo period if applicable, and
  • a persistent identifier.

If a beneficiary breaches any of its obligations, the grant may be reduced (see Article 43). Such a breach may also lead to any of the other measures described in Chapter 6 of the Multi-beneficiary General Model Grant Agreement, Version 4.0, February 27, 2017).

In all cases, the Commission encourages authors to retain their copyright and grant adequate licences to publishers. Creative Commons offers useful licensing solutions in this regard (e.g. CC-BY, see Creative Commons Licenses).

In the context of the digital era, the notion of’ publication’ increasingly includes the data underpinning the publication and results presented, also referred to as ‘underlying’ data. Beneficiaries must aim to deposit at the same time the research data needed to validate the results presented in the deposited scientific publications, ideally into a data repository, and aim to make open access to this data. But there is no obligation to do so (This is not the Open Research Data Pilot).

Related Documents:

Fact Sheet: Open Access in Horizon 2020
Fact Sheet for Project Officers in Horizon 2020
Fact Sheet for Project Coordinators in Horizon 2020
Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Horizon 2020
Multi-beneficiary General Model Grant Agreement

European IPR Helpdesk Fact Sheet Open access to publications and data in Horizon 2020: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)