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Open access to research data: the Open Research Data Pilot

A novelty in Horizon 2020 is the Open Research Data Pilot which aims to improve and maximise access to and re-use of research data generated by projects. It will be monitored with a view to developing the European Commission policy on open research data in future Framework Programmes.

Are you supposed to deposit? > What to deposit > Where to deposit > When to deposit

Are you supposed to deposit?

Projects participating in the core areas of Horizon 2020 that are part of the Open Research Data Pilot:

  • Future and Emerging Technologies
  • Research infrastructures (including e-Infrastructures)
  • Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies – Information and Communication Technologies
  • Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Advanced Manufacturing and Processing, and Biotechnology: ‘nanosafety’ and ‘modelling’ topics
  • Societal Challenge: Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy - selected topics in the calls H2020-SFS-2016/2017, H2020-BG-2016/2017, H2020-RUR-2016/2017 and H2020-BB-2016/2017, as specified in the work programme
  • Societal Challenge: Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw materials – except raw materials
  • Societal Challenge: Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective Societies
  • Science with and for Society
  • Cross-cutting activities - focus areas – part Smart and Sustainable Cities.

What to deposit

Projects participating in the Pilot are required to deposit the research data described below:

  • The data, including associated metadata, needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications as soon as possible;
  • Other data, including associated metadata, as specified and within the deadlines laid down in a data management plan (DMP).

Where to deposit

  • Projects should deposit preferably in a research data repository and take measures to enable third parties to access, mine, exploit, reproduce and disseminate — free of charge for any user.
  • OpenAIRE project provides a Zenodo repository that could be used for depositing data.

When to deposit

The data, including associated metadata, needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications should be deposited as soon as possible. Other data, including associated metadata, should be deposited as specified and within the deadlines laid down in a data management plan (DMP).

A data management plan is a document outlining how research data will be handled during a research project, and after it is completed, describing what data will be collected / generated and following what methodology and standards, whether and how this data will be shared and/or made open, and how it will be curated and preserved. For more information, check out the Data Management Plans page at the Digital Curation Center website that includes DMPonline:

- a flexible web-based tool to assist users to create personalised plans according to their context or research funder requirements;

- checklist for a Data Management Plan;

- a list of questions and guidance that researchers may find useful when writing data management plans;

- FAQ on Data Management Plans  and other guidance and examples to help you write your data management plan.

At the same time, projects should provide information about tools and instruments at the disposal of the beneficiaries and necessary for validating the results, for instance specialised software or software code.

Areas, or sub-areas of, or individual projects funded under Horizon 2020 and not covered by the scope of the Pilot may participate on a voluntary basis (‘opt in’). The project consortia that decide to participate on a voluntary basis will be monitored along with and receive the same support as in-scope projects in the Pilot.

Projects may opt out of the Pilot on Open Research Data in Horizon 2020 in a series of cases that include conflict with obligation to protect results, with confidentiality obligations, with security obligations or with rules on protection of personal data. They may also opt out should the achievement of the action’s main objective be jeopardised by making specific parts of the research data openly accessible. In this case, the data management plan must contain the reasons for not giving access.

Costs relating to the implementation of the pilot will be reimbursed. Specific technical and professional support services will also be provided.

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.


Further information available: