Open Science

The mission of the ERC is to support excellent research in all fields of science and scholarship. The main outputs of this research are new knowledge, ideas and understanding, which the ERC expects its grantees to publish in peer-reviewed articles and monographs. The ERC considers that providing free online access to these materials is the most effective way of ensuring that the fruits of the research it funds can be accessed, read, and used as the basis for further research.
 

Key Concepts
 

This glossary outlines the main concepts and terms related to open science in the context of the ERC programme. For further information, consult the Annotated Grant Agreements for Horizon 2020 or for Horizon Europe.
 

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Open access

 

The practice of providing online access to research outputs, free of charge to the end-user, and without any legal or technical obstacles, such as the requirement to have a user account or to solve a captcha. 

Research outputs

 

Results to which online access can be given in the form of scientific publications, digital data or other engineered outcomes and processes such as software, algorithms, protocols, models, workflows and electronic notebooks.

Repositories

 

A repository is an online archive where researchers can deposit digital research outputs and provide (open) access to them. Repositories help manage and provide access to scientific outputs, such as publications, data, software, among others. They also contribute to the long-term preservation of digital assets. 

Trusted repositories

 

Trusted repositories display specific characteristics of organisational, technical and procedural quality. These include services, mechanisms and/or provisions that are intended to secure the integrity and authenticity of their contents, thus facilitating their use and re-use in the short- and long-term. They have specific provisions in place and offer explicit information online about their policies, which define their services (e.g. acquisition, access, security of content, long-term sustainability of service including funding etc.).

In order to be considered ‘trusted’, a repository has to fall into one of the following categories:

  • Certified repositories (e.g. CoreTrustSeal, nestor seal based on DIN 31644, ISO 16363);
  • Internationally recognized discipline or domain-specific repositories commonly used and endorsed by the respective research communities;
  • All other repositories (including but not restricted to general-purpose repositories and institutional repositories) that fulfil certain criteria as described in the Horizon Europe Annotated Grant Agreement.

Machine-readable / Machine-actionable information

 

Digital information is machine-readable if it is presented in a structured format that can be automatically read by a computer. Machine-actionable information is structured in a consistent way so that computers can be programmed against the structure.

Persistent Identifier (PID)

 

A long-lasting and reliable reference to a resource or a person, providing the information required to reliably identify, verify and locate it. The resource may be, among others, a publication, a dataset or a person, an organization (such as a funder or university), a piece of software or hardware. Examples for commonly used PIDs include DOI and handleORCID and ResearcherIDROR ID, but also accession numbers within specific disciplines, notably in the Life Sciences (such as accession numbers in the Protein Data Bank), among many others.

FAIR principles  

 

Guidelines to improve the Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability and Reusability of digital objects and the technical specifications necessary for this to happen. They were first published in 2016 (https://doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2016.18). 

Creative Commons licences

 

A licence is a statement by which a copyright holder informs users what they may and may not do with a copyrighted work. The Creative Commons copyright licences and tools provide a standardized way to grant users copyright permissions, allowing material to be shared and reused under terms that are flexible and legally sound.   

Some important examples are:
 


Publications: Key Concepts
 

Long-text publications   Research outputs such as books/monographs and edited volumes, which normally examine one or more related research issues in depth and are significantly lengthier in terms of words and pages than single articles. 
 
In Horizon 2020, book chapters are considered long-text publications, whereas in Horizon Europe, book chapters are treated similarly to journal articles and are not considered long-text publications.
 
Full open acces publishing venues   Publishing venues such as journals, books or publishing platforms whose entire scholarly content is published in open access. 
 
Hybrid publishing venues  

Journals, books and publishing platforms that provide part of their scholarly content in open access, while another part is accessible through subscriptions/payments. So-called mirror and sister journals, i.e. more recently established open access versions of existing subscription journals, are not considered hybrid journals.

Peer review  

The assessment of manuscripts or publications by reviewers with expertise in the specific fields addressed: 

  • Articles are peer-reviewed when they have been scrutinized and assessed positively. The number of positive assessments necessary is set by each publishing venue. 
  • Monographs and other long-text publications (as well as chapters in edited volumes) are considered to be peer-reviewed if the manuscript or a substantial part thereof (or the full text in the case of a chapter in an edited volume) has been reviewed at least by one independent expert external to the publisher or to the series scientific editor(s). 
  • PhD theses and Habilitations for professorial degrees are considered peer-reviewed if they are formally published, given that the review by external experts is generally part of the assessment of the candidate's research work for the PhD degree or the 'venia legendi' (Latin for ‘permission to read’) in the case of a Habilitation.
Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM)   The author final manuscript that incorporates all revisions following peer-review.
 
Version of Record (VoR)   The final published version of the manuscript that has usually been copyedited and typeset.
 
Article or Book Processing Charges (APC/BPC)   Publication fees charged to authors to make their work available through open access (in either full open access or hybrid open access publishing venues).
 
Embargo periods   Periods imposed by publishers, during which a manuscript may not be freely shared. After the end of the embargo period, the AAM (and occasionally also the VoR) can be shared in open access, under certain conditions imposed by the publisher.


Research data: Key concepts
 

Digital Research data   Information in digital form (in particular facts or numbers), collected to be examined and used as a basis for reasoning, discussion or calculation; this includes statistics, results of experiments, measurements, observations resulting from fieldwork, survey results, interview recordings and images.
 
Research Data Management (RDM)  

The process within the research lifecycle that includes the data collection or acquisition, organisation, curation, storage, (long-term) preservation, security, quality assurance, allocation of persistent identifiers (PIDs), provision of metadata in line with disciplinary requirements, licencing, and rules and procedures for sharing of data.

Data Management Plan (DMP)  

A document that outlines from the start of the project the main aspects of the lifecycle of research outputs, notably including data. This includes their provenance, organisation and curation, as well as adequate provisions for their access, preservation, sharing, and eventual deletion, both during and after a project.

Research Data Repository   A repository specifically designed for research data. This can be subject-based/thematic, institutional or centralised.

 


Step-by-step: How to comply with the open science requirements

 

Open science requirements are embedded in your ERC grant agreement and depend on the Framework Programme (and in some cases, the ERC call) under which you obtained funding. Read more about the requirements here, as well as practical steps related to the publication and sharing of your peer-reviewed manuscripts and research data:
 

Horizon 2020 (2014-2020)

 

1. Scientific publications in H2020


The obligations of the grant agreement related to open access apply to all peer-reviewed scientific publications related to results from the project. This means in particular that they apply regardless whether the underlying research has been supported in whole or only in part by the ERC.

Before publishing results related to your Horizon 2020 ERC-funded project, take into account that you are required by your grant agreement to take the following steps:
 

Acknowledge ERC funding


For all kinds of publications, use the official text included in your Grant Agreement. When feasible, add the ERC logo.

"This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement n° xxxx)."
 
This also applies to other outputs of your project (see 'Communicating your research').
 

Select a publishing venue taking into account your contractual obligations and submit your manuscript
 

Keep in mind that open access to the publication (AAM or VoR) has to be provided via a repository at the latest within 6 months (for LS or PE) or 12 months (for SH) after publication. Check if the publisher’s embargo period is compatible with this requirement. 
 

Ensure that your publication is deposited in a suitable repository of your choice immediately upon publication
 

Option 1

Immediate open access via the publisher

Option 2

No immediate open access via the publisher

 

 

  • Self-archive your publication (generally the AAM) in a repository of your choice, immediately upon publication
     
  • Provide open access to the publication via the repository within 6 months (for LS or PE) or 12 months (for SH)
     
  • Publishing fees (e.g. page charges, colour charges) are eligible costs if incurred during the lifetime of your project and in line with the provisions in your grant agreement
Note that you will have to report all publications that are related to the results of your ERC-funded project (for more information, see the Scientific Reporting page).

Your project is completed and you would like to know what your obligations are?  
 

Horizon 2020 open access obligations for peer-reviewed scientific publications extends beyond the end of your ERC-funded project. That means that even after your project ends, all publications that are related to project results funded by the ERC, will need to acknowledge ERC funding, and peer-reviewed publications will need to be made available through open access.

The rules for post-grant publications allow for more flexibility considering that the ERC can only reimburse open access fees that are incurred and invoiced during the lifetime of your ERC project. While publications that appear during the ERC project need to be shared through open access within a maximum period of six or twelve months, there is no such maximum embargo period for post-grant publications. This means that publications that appear after the end of the project can be made available through open access after the embargo periods imposed by the given journal or publisher, which are typically longer. 

The portal for reporting results related to your project will remain open for some time even after the end of your project.
 

2. Research data in H2020
 

If you participate in the Horizon 2020 Open Research Data Pilot, you need to manage the digital research data generated in the project. You may decide not to provide open access to specific parts of your research data if the achievement of one of the action objectives, as described in Annex 1 of your grant agreement, would be jeopardised by making those specific parts of the research data openly accessible. In this case, the data management plan must contain the reasons for not giving access. You may opt out of the Open Research Data Pilot at any stage, both before signing the grant agreement and afterwards (through an amendment to your grant agreement).
 

If you take part in the Open Research Data Pilot (ORDP): Submit a DMP
 

Writing a DMP is directly linked to the methodology of your research. In other words, good research data management will make your work more efficient, contribute to safeguarding information and to increasing the impact and the value of the data among the beneficiaries and others, during and after the research.

The ERC proposes a DMP template. You are welcome to adapt it or use a different template, as long as you cover the FAIR principles and outline the allocation of resources as well as data security. Also elaborate whether and why you will not give access to specific parts of your research data. If necessary, the ERC Scientific Officer who follows the progress of your project may contact you concerning your Data Management Plan.

You may decide to opt out of the ORDP at any time after the start of your grant through an amendment.

If applicable, deposit your research data in a research data repository
 
Give open, free-of-charge access to the end-user to the digital research data generated during your project, as specified in your DMP
 

3. Open access costs in H2020


You can allocate funds from your ERC grant to costs related to scientific publications and to storage and maintenance of research data generated by the ERC funded project.

When budgeting costs, make a first estimate of the fees you expect to incur for publications. It may be helpful to consider your target publication venues and the typical fees levied for the modality that would allow you to comply with the requirements of your grant agreement. You can flexibly adapt the budget for publications during your project, always within the granted overall budget.

Publishing costs such as fees for open access to scientific publications (including monographs and other books as well as book chapters) and for research data management are eligible if incurred during the lifetime of the project and provided that they are in line with the general cost eligibility criteria. The requirements of the grant agreement must also be respected. Notably, you must deposit the publication in a repository immediately upon publication and provide open access to it via the repository at the latest within the foreseen embargo period.

Since the ERC grant cannot be used to cover expenses related to open access after the grant, for post-grant publications there is some flexibility concerning the maximum acceptable embargo period. While the other Open Science requirements continue to apply, it is acceptable if you provide open access to the deposited versions of your publications after an embargo period that exceeds the 6/12 months stipulated in Article 29.2 of your grant agreement.

Note that the eligibility of costs for research data management does not depend on participation in the Open Research Data pilot.

 

 

Horizon Europe (2021-2027)

 

1. Scientific publications in Horizon Europe


The obligations of the grant agreement related to open access apply to all peer-reviewed scientific publications related to results from the project. This means in particular that they apply regardless whether the underlying research has been supported in whole or only in part by the ERC.

Before publishing results related to your Horizon Europe ERC-funded project, take into account that you are required by your grant agreement to take the following steps:
 

Acknowledge ERC funding
 

For all kinds of publications, acknowledge EU support through a funding statement, and where feasible, display the EU emblem.

Funding statement and disclaimer:

"Funded by the European Union (ERC, acronym, project number). Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Council Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them."  

This also applies to other outputs of your project (see 'Communicating your research').

In addition, when you deposit your publications in a repository, make sure that you enter the required metadata, especially the funding programme (Horizon Europe), your ERC grant number and the grant acronym, so that your publications can be linked to your ERC project.
 

Select the publishing venue of your choice, taking into account your contractual obligations, and submit your manuscript
 

You must ensure that the authors (or the host institution) retain sufficient intellectual property rights, namely immediate deposition under a CC BY or equivalent license (for long-text publications the license can exclude commercial uses and/or derivative works).

To decide where to publish your journal article, you may find the SHERPA/RoMEO service useful for a first orientation. This community-maintained site provides a listing of publishers' copyright conditions as they relate to authors archiving their work online. However, as journal policies change over time, it is important that you also check the detailed information on the journal website. The Directory of Open Access Journals provides useful information specifically on fully open access journals.

For book publications, you may find the list of compliant book publishers on the OAPEN website to be useful as well as the Open Access Toolkit.
 

At publication time, immediately deposit the publication in open access in a trusted repository
 

When choosing the repository, you must keep in mind your contractual obligations, in particular the requirement to use a trusted repository, and concerning the provision of the information and metadata as required by the grant agreement.

Option 1
 
If you publish in a full open access journal or book, or on a full open access publishing platform:
Option 2
 
If you publish in a subscription or hybrid journal, in a book for which some parts are not open access, or on a publishing platform that does not provide all of its scholarly content in open access:

  • Publishing fees (including APCs/BPCs, but also e.g. page charges or colour charges) are eligible costs if incurred during the lifetime of your project and in line with the provisions of your grant agreement. This also applies to books to the extent that they cover the first digital open access edition of the book. Printing fees for monographs and other books are NOT eligible.
     
  • Deposit the publication (generally the VoR) in a trusted repository before or at publication time and provide immediate open access to it through the repository.

 

  • Self-archive the publication (usually the AAM) in a trusted repository before or at publication time and provide immediate open access to it through the repository, under a licence that is among those permitted by the grant agreement.  
     
  • Note that publishing fees of any kind (APCs/BPCs but also page charges, colour charges etc.) are not eligible costs for the ERC.  
     
  • If publishing in a hybrid journal, your costs may be covered by a transformative agreement.* Note that so-called ‘transformative journals’ are considered to be ordinary hybrid journals (no exceptional rules concerning eligibility of publishing fees).


Note that in any case, the deposited publication version of the publication must have a CC BY or equivalent (for long-text publications the license can exclude commercial uses and/or derivative works).

*Check whether your host institution is party to a Transformative Agreements with the publisher, which may help you to publish in hybrid journals without having to worry about how to pay the APC/BPC.
 

Provide open metadata and information needed for the validation of the conclusions presented in the publication
 

Immediately provide information, via the repository, about research outputs or other tools and instruments that third parties would need if they wanted to validate your conclusions.

Metadata of deposited publications must be open under a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC 0) or equivalent, in line with the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable), in particular machine-actionable. Make sure that all the metadata required in the grant agreement are provided (in particular the funding programme (Horizon Europe), the ERC grant number and the grant acronym). It is important that you check before depositing your publication that your chosen repository is technically capable of accepting the required metadata.


2. Research Data in Horizon Europe

 

Add a work package for Research Data Management to your grant
 

ERC projects do not have scientific work packages or deliverables. However, all Horizon Europe-funded ERC projects have a Research Data Management work package:

  • Add a work package in your grant agreement called “Research Data Management”.
     
  • Associate one deliverable with the work package, called “DMP - Data Management Plan”. This deliverable has to be of the type “Data Management Plan”; the due date must be set to “6 months” (meaning you will have until the end of month 6 of project implementation to submit the DMP).
     
  • No further details or descriptions are needed. 
     
  • You also have to decide about the dissemination level of your Data Management Plan: "sensitive" or "public". In the latter case, it will appear on the CORDIS page of your project (see https://cordis.europa.eu/projects) as soon as it has been accepted by the Agency.  
Submit a Data Management Plan (DMP) at the latest at the end of month 6 of project implementation
 

Writing a DMP is directly linked to the methodology of your research. Good research data management will make your work more efficient, contribute to safeguarding information and to increasing the impact and the value of the data among the beneficiaries and others, during and after the research.

The ERC proposes a DMP template. You are welcome to adapt it or use a different template, as long as you cover the FAIR principles and in addition outline the allocation of resources as well as data security. Also explain whether and why you will not give access to specific parts of your research data. If necessary, the ERC Scientific Officer who follows the progress of your project may contact you concerning your Data Management Plan.
 

Once your project has generated research data:
 
  • Deposit the research data (or other outputs) in a trusted repository.
  • When choosing the repository, you must keep in mind your contractual obligations, in particular the requirement to use a trusted repository, and concerning the provision of the information and metadata as required by the grant agreement.
  • Ensure (open) access to the deposited research data, within the deadlines set out in your DMP.
  • You must provide open access to research data under the principle 'as open as possible, as closed as necessary'. In general, you should deposit data generated or collected by the project as soon as possible after data production/generation or after adequate processing and quality control have taken place (for dynamic data, a snapshot of the data is enough). This should happen at the latest by the end of the project, and does not entail that data are immediately open, but rather that they have been deposited so that metadata information is available and hence information about the data is findable.  
     
  • License the research data or dedicate them to the public domain. Make your data available under the latest available version of the Creative Commons Attribution International Licence (CC BY) or a licence with equivalent rights, or the latest version of the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0) or equivalent, which waives any rights to the data.  
     
  • Provide information via the repository about any research output or any other tools and instruments needed to re-use or validate the data.
     
  • Metadata of deposited research data must be open under a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0) or equivalent (to the extent legitimate interests or constraints are safeguarded), in line with the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable), in particular machine-actionable. Make sure that all the metadata required in the grant agreement are provided (in particular the funding programme (Horizon Europe), the ERC grant number and the grant acronym). It is important that you check before depositing your research data that your chosen repository is technically capable of accepting the required metadata.
     

3. Open access costs in Horizon Europe
 

You can allocate funds from your ERC grant to costs related to scientific publications and to storage and maintenance of research data generated by the ERC funded project.

When budgeting costs, make a first estimate of the fees you expect to incur for publications. It may be helpful to consider your target publication venues and the typical fees levied for the modality that would allow you to comply with the requirements of your grant agreement. You can flexibly adapt the budget for publications during your project, always within the granted overall budget.

Costs for publishing in full open access venues (such as full open access journals, books, or platforms), including APCs, BPCs and other publishing fees (such as colour charges or page charges) are in principle eligible for reimbursement. The costs must be incurred during the lifetime of the grant, and you must also comply with the other conditions of your grant agreement.

Note that fees for publications in hybrid or subscription journals are not eligible for reimbursement from your ERC grant. This includes so-called ‘transformative journals’, for which no exception applies. On the other hand, so-called ‘mirror journals’ or ‘sister journals’ of subscription journals are considered to be full open access journals; publication fees in such journals are in principle eligible for reimbursement. Transformative Agreements may help you to publish in hybrid journals without having to worry about how to pay the related publishing costs.

Note that publication fees for books that are not fully open access (or for chapters in such books) are not eligible for reimbursement from your ERC grant. Publishing fees for open access books are in principle eligible to the extent that they cover the costs of the first open access digital edition. Printing fees for monographs and other books are NOT eligible.

 

Repositories
 

Read more for an overview of repositories in which you can deposit your scientific publications and/or research data. In addition to specific examples of repositories you may find registries of repositories useful when considering where to deposit the utputs from your project.

Read more
 


Types of repositories
 

Institutional   The purpose is to collect, disseminate and preserve digital research outputs of research organisations. Examples are the repositories of universities
 
Domain specific  

The purpose is to collect, disseminate and preserve digital research outputs of specific research communities.

The ERC Scientific Council recommends the use of discipline or domain-specific repositories commonly used and endorsed by the respective research communities. For publications, this includes the following examples, which may not be suitable in all cases but may be helpful as an orientation:

Europe PMC in the Life Sciences domain. ERC grantees can set up a free personalised PI account. To do so, first send an email to the Europe PMC helpdesk, providing your grant number and the title/acronym of your ERC-funded project, to request the addition of your grant to the Europe PMC grants database. Once this has been done, you can create a personalised PI account by following the instructions on the Europe PMC plus sign-up page.

Europe PMC will display basic information on your ERC grant(s) and, if requested, on grants you have obtained from other funders of Europe PMC, providing added visibility to you and your work. Once if you have set up such an account, you can upload the publications related to your grant(s) that are not yet available in Europe PMC in full text due to publisher upload or deposition by co-authors. There is also an easy way to link articles in Europe PMC with an ORCID.

arXiv in many areas of the Physical Sciences and Engineering domain.
arXiv allows and encourage its users to link their arXiv author account with ORCID.

OAPEN Library for books and chapters. The OAPEN Library contains freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of Social Sciences and Humanities. OAPEN works with publishers to build a quality controlled collection of open access books, and provides services for publishers, libraries and research funders in the areas of dissemination, quality assurance and digital preservation. More information on the OAPEN Library and the services provided to ERC funded researchers can be found here.

An example of a repository in the Humanities is the CORE repository of Humanities Commons.

For research data, the ERC Scientific Council’s information document "Open Research Data and Data Management Plans" contains many discipline or domain-specific examples.

General purpose  

The purpose is to provide researchers with the possibility to share, preserve and showcase research outputs (in particular research data and/or publications) even if there is no suitable domain-specific repository and they have no access to any institutional repository.

Examples include:

Note that the following are not considered open access repositories:

  • Academia.edu, ResearchGate and similar platforms that do not allow open access under the terms required,
  • Personal websites and databases or project websites,
  • Publisher/journal websites, as well as
  • Cloud storage services (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.).


Directories and aggregators
 

Repositories for publications and/or data  
  • Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR)
  • Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR)
  • Registry of Research Data Repositories (re3data)
Journals  
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
Books  
  • Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)
OpenAIRE  
  • OpenAIRE is an initiative funded and supported by the EU. OpenAIRE is an aggregator of publications and various other research outputs like datasets, that have been deposited to institutional and various other repositories, and intends to link them to research and project information, other research outputs and author information

 

 

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If you have further questions, please consult the frequently asked questions on the Funding & Tender opportunities portal and look for 'open access' or 'open science'. 
 
We are also happy to support you: ERC-OPEN-ACCESS@ec.europa.eu