European Commission

The European Commission has been promoting policies and measures related to open access since 2006. In 2007, a petition was presented to the European Commission to guarantee free access to research results. Among the key documents that launched the first mandates in favour of open access to research results within the European institutions, is the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee on scientific information in the Digital Age: Access, Dissemination and Preservation and the Council conclusions on scientific information in the digital age. Since then, the European open access policy has been embodied in successive Framework Programs, the main Community initiative to promote and support R&D in the European Union ans associated countries.

Horizon Europe is the new research and innovation program for the period 2021-2027 which reinforces support for open science through the Article 17 on Communication, dissemination, open science, and visibility in Annex 5 in the Grant Agreement, which states the following:

Peer-reviewed scientific publications:

  • Immediate openaccess through trusted repository (at the latest at the time of publication).

  • Publications licensed under CC BY (or equivalent); CC BY-NC/ND (or equivalent) allowed for long-text format.

  • Information provided via the repository about any research output, tool, or instrument needed to validate the conclusion of a publication.

  • Beneficiaries/authors must retain sufficient IPR to comply with their OA requirements.

  • Metadata licensed under CC0 or equivalent, in line with FAIR principles (particularly machine-actionable); PIDs (Publications, authors, if possible, their organizations and the grant).

  • Only publications fees (if any) in full open access venues for peer-reviewed scientific publications are eligible for reimbursement.

Research Data Management (RDM):

  • Emphasis shifts from open research data to RDM.

  • No opting out of RDM. Projects generating research data MUST manage their data responsibility and in line with FAIR principles.

  • Open access to research data `as open as possible as closed as necessary¨, i.e. there can be exceptions to open access to research data.

  • Establish and regularly update a Data Management Plan.

  • Deposit data in a trusted repository and provide open Access thought it

    • Deposit and open access ASAP and per DMP

    • For some actions, additional obligation to deposit in a repository that is federated under EOSC

  • CC BY or CC 0 (or equivalent) license required to open data

  • Exceptions to open access (duly justified in the DMP, legitimate interest or constraints)

  • Information via the repository about other research output or any other tools and instruments needed to re-use or validate the data

  • Metadata requirements same as for publications (i.e. CC0 and PIDs)

  • Cost for RDM (for example data storage, processing and preventions) are eligible.

Open Science: access for validation

  • Obligatory provision of physical or digital access to data or other results needed for validation of conclusions scientific publications

  • Legitimate interest/ concerns must still be safeguarded

Open Science in case of public emergencies


  • If imposed by the WP, if requested by the granting authority

  • Requirement for immediate open access with CC BY or CC0 or equivalent license to any research output

  • With exceptions: legitimate interests

    • Then must give non-exclusive license on FAIR and reasonable conditions to entities that need the research output to address the public emergency and commit to exploit the results rapidly and broadly.

In the Horizon 2020 Programme (2014-2020) the open access deposit mandate was strengthened and extended to research data. In article 29.2 Open Access to scientific publications of the Grant Agreement, the following is established:

Each beneficiary must ensure open access (free of charge, online access for any user) to all peer-reviewed scientific publications relating to its results. 

In particular, it must:

(a) as soon as possible and at the latest on publication, deposit a machine-readable electronic copy of the published version or final peer-reviewed manuscript accepted for publication in a repository for scientific publications.

Moreover, the beneficiary must aim to deposit at the same time the research data needed to validate the results presented in the deposited scientific publications.

(b) 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.

(c)ensure open access —via the repository —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

The European Commission establishes that open access can be provided either through an open access repository, or by publishing in an open access journal.In both cases, your publications must be deposited in a repository.

Regarding research data, article 29.3 Open Access to research data establishes the following:

The beneficiaries must:

(a)deposit in a research data repository and take measures to make it possible for third parties to access, mine, exploit, reproduce and disseminate —free of charge for any user —the following:

(i)the data, including associated metadata, needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications as soon as possible;

(ii)other data, including associated metadata, as specified and within the deadlines laid down in the ‘data management plan’;

(b)provide information —via the repository —about tools and instruments at the disposal of the beneficiaries and necessary for validating the results (and —where possible —provide the tools and instruments themselves).

In the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7) (2007 - 2013) all the projects financed in the areas of Energy, Environment (including Climate Change), Health, Information and Communication Technologies (Cognitive Systems, Interaction , Robotics), Research Infrastructures (e-Infrastructures), Science in Society, Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities, whose financing agreement (grant agreement) was signed after August 2008, included the so-called Special Clause 39. This clause obliged the researchers participating in these projects to do "their best" to publish their research results in an open access repository.