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Since its creation, the ERC has been supporting the principle of open access to the published output of research as a fundamental part of its mission. It also promotes the basic principle of open access to research data.

This page provides an overview of the rules related to open access to publications and research data management that apply to ERC grants. It also includes links to important open access repositories for publications and research data, and to useful registries and directories. Finally, there are also pointers to several resources summarising policies and mandates by publishers, funders and institutions and information on where to get help in case of further questions.

Type of ERC grant Work programme under which the proposal was selected Applicable rules related to Open Access and Research Data
Frontier Research Grant (Starting Grant / Consolidator Grant / Advanced Grant / Synergy Grant) 2007 – 2011 (FP7) No formal obligations
  2012 – 2013 (FP7) Special Clause 39 ERC on Open Access applies
  2014 onwards (Horizon 2020) Article 29.2 on Open Access applies; if the project takes part in the Open Research Data pilot: Article 29.3 applies.
Proof-of-Concept Grant 2012 – 2013 (FP7) No formal obligations
  2014 onwards (Horizon 2020) Article 29.2 on Open Access applies
Coordination and Support Action 2007 – 2013 (FP7) No formal obligations
  2014 onwards (Horizon 2020) Article 29.2 on Open Access applies


Depending on the type of ERC grant and under what Work programme it was awarded, different rules related to Open Access and Research Data apply. These are explained below (NB: although non-binging, the ERC Open Access Guidelines should always be observed on a voluntary basis, even when there are no formal obligations related to Open Access and/or Research Data).

Provisions in ERC Grant Agreements related to Open Access / ERC Open Access Guidelines

FP7: Special Clause 39 ERC on Open Access

In principle, all Grant Agreements for ERC Frontier Research Grants (i.e. Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants, Advanced Grants, Synergy Grants) that have resulted from calls in the ERC Work Programmes 2012 and 2013 will have Special Clause 39 ERC. In case of doubt, the list of Special Clauses that apply to any individual grant can be found in Article 7 of the Grant Agreement. Special Clause 39 ERC obliges beneficiaries to make their best efforts to provide open access to scientific publications resulting from the research funded under the grant, within 6 months from publication. The Guide to Intellectual Property Rules for FP7 projects(Section 7.3) provides detailed information on how to demonstrate that such 'best efforts' have been made.

Horizon 2020: Article 29.2 on Open Access

Article 29.2 of the Horizon 2020 ERC Model Grant Agreement for ERC Frontier Research Grants details the obligations related to the provision of open access to peer-reviewed publications. Similarly, Article 29.2 of the Horizon 2020 ERC Model Grant Agreement for Proof-of-Concept Grants applies to such grants. Further explanations can be found in the Annotated Model Grant Agreement (NB: unless there are specific annotations in the part related to the ERC Model Grant Agreements, the annotations to the Horizon 2020 General Model Grant Agreement apply).

Horizon 2020: Article 29.3 on the Open Research Data Pilot

Article 29.3 of the Horizon 2020 ERC Model Grant Agreement for ERC Frontier Research Grants applies only to projects that take part in to the Horizon 2020 Open Research Data pilot. Article 29.3 explains what are the obligations related to research data underlying publications, other research data as identified by the beneficiary, and relevant tools.

ERC Open Access Guidelines and Information Document

The ERC Scientific Council has adopted a set of guidelines related to Open Access. These guidelines are non-binding, but all ERC grantees are strongly encouraged to comply with them. The latest version of the guidelines can always be found on the webpage of the ERC Scientific Council's Working Group on Open Access.

In order to support ERC grantees in their efforts to adopt good research data management practices the ERC Scientific Council has also issued the following document: "Open Research Data and Data Management Plans - Information for ERC grantees by the ERC Scientific Council".

The ERC Executive Agency has issued implementation guidelines and a Data Management Plan template.

Guidelines issued by the European Commission

The European Commission has issued two sets of guidance documents: Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data and Guidelines on Data Management. Both documents provide useful information on these topics. However, they have been written with a view to the rules applicable to beneficiaries of Horizon 2020 grants other than ERC grants. Although the rules are largely the same, there are some slight different in some aspects, which must be taken into account.

Open Access repositories for publications and research data

ERC grantees are free to choose the repository in which they want to deposit their publications. However, the ERC Scientific Council recommends the use of subject specific repositories for publications, where such repositories exist. Alternatively, grantees can use the institutional repository at their host institution or a general-purpose repository such as Zenodo.

For publications from the Life Sciences domain, the recommended repository is Europe PubMed Central, for publications from the Physical and Engineering Sciences, the use of arXiv is recommended. For publications from the Social Sciences and Humanities, no specific repository has been recommended so far.

The recommended repository for monographs, book chapters and other long-text publications is the OAPEN Library.

Europe PMC

The ERC is one of the 29 funders of Europe PMC (Europe PubMed Central). The press release announcing the ERC's decision to join the initiative can be found here: 'European Research Council renews its commitment to open access by joining Europe PubMed Central'. ERC grantees can request the setting up of a free personalised PI account. To do so grantees must send an email to the Europe PMC helpdesk, providing their grant number and the title / acronym of their project. Europe PMC will then publically display basic information on their ERC grant(s) and, if requested, on grants that the ERC grantee has obtained from other funders of Europe PMC, providing added visibility to the grantees and their work. Grantees who have set up such an account can link publications that are already available on Europe PMC to their grant(s), and upload the publications related to their grants that are not yet available. There is also an easy way to link articles in Europe PMC with an ORCID.

More information can be found in the presentation Europe PMC as a tool for researchers  and the accompanying video on the Europe PMC plus manuscript submission


In 2013 the ERC decided to join the group of organisations that are supporting arXiv. The press release announcing this move can be found here: 'European Research Council takes a further step forward towards open access by joining arXiv'. arXiv allows its users to link their arXiv author account with ORCID and encourages users to do so.

OAPEN library

The OAPEN Library contains freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of Humanities and Social Sciences. 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. The ERC is supporting the initiative with a small grant, allowing OAPEN to set up dedicated services for ERC grantees. See also the press release 'ERC supports OAPEN library for open access books'.

More information on the OAPEN Library and the services provided to ERC funded researchers can be found in this presentation.


Zenodo is a general-purpose repository that has been set up by CERN together with OpenAIRE. Its primary purpose is to provide researchers with the possibility to share, preserve and showcase research results (data and publications) that are not part of the existing institutional or subject-based repositories of their respective research communities. Items are attributed a digital object identifier (DOI) if none already exists.


Figshare is an online digital repository that accepts a large variety of types of research outputs, including datasets, images, and videos. Items are attributed a digital object identifier (DOI). Figshare tracks the download statistics for hosted materials, acting as a source for altmetrics, and features integration with ORCID.


The Dryad Digital Repository makes the data underlying scientific publications discoverable, freely reusable, and citable. Data are linked both to and from the corresponding publication and, where appropriate, to and from select specialized data repositories. Dryad is a general-purpose repository for a wide variety of datatypes. Items are attributed a digital object identifier (DOI), and users may add ORCIDs to items during the submission process.


OpenAIRE (Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe) is an EU funded initiative that aims to support the implementation of the European Commission's Open Access policies. It acts as an aggregator of publications that have been deposited to institutional repositories (also harvesting from several subject specific repositories such as Europe PMC and arXiv), and intends to link the aggregated research publications to the accompanying research and project information, datasets and author information. The objective is to make as much EU funded research output as possible available to all, via the OpenAIRE portal.

Registries and directories of repositories, open access journals and books

Several registries and directories have been created where information on open access repositories, open access journals and open access books can be found.


OpenDOAR (Directory of Open Access Repositories) is a directory of academic open access repositories. According to the OpenDOAR website, each OpenDOAR repository has been visited by project staff to check the information that is recorded, giving a quality-controlled list of repositories. OpenDOAR is one of the SHERPA Services including RoMEO and JULIET. OpenDOAR lists more than 3000 repositories.


ROAR is a searchable international Registry of Open Access Repositories indexing the creation, location and growth of open access institutional repositories and their contents. ROAR is hosted at the University of Southampton, UK. More than 4000 institutional and cross-institutional repositories have been registered in ROAR.

re3data (Registry of Research Data Repositories) is a global registry of research data repositories. It covers research data repositories from different academic disciplines. Over 1,200 data repositories have been indexed by and can be searched and accessed at its website or by using its API.


DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) is an online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. The DOAJ aims to be comprehensive and cover all open access scientific and scholarly journals that use a quality control system to guarantee the content.


The primary aim of DOAB (Directory of Open Access Books) is to increase discoverability of Open Access books. Academic publishers are invited to provide metadata of their Open Access books to DOAB. Metadata will be harvestable in order to maximize dissemination, visibility and impact. The directory is open to all publishers who publish academic, peer reviewed books in Open Access.

Policies and mandates by publishers, funders and institutions

The following sites provide information about Open Access related policies and mandates by publishers, funders and institutions. While they provide a good overview and a first orientation, it is always a good idea to check the individual journal or publisher website, the rules applying to the specific grant, and the institutional Open Access policies for updates, exceptions or special agreements.


The SHERPA/RoMEO (Publisher copyright policies & self-archiving) service site provides a listing of publishers' copyright conditions as they relate to authors archiving their work on-line. The service categorises publishers and their conditions as 'Green publishers' (allowing archiving of both pre-prints and post-prints), 'Blue publishers' (allowing archiving of post-prints but not pre-prints), 'Yellow publishers' (allowing archiving of pre-prints but not post-prints), and 'White publishers' (no archiving allowed). The site also offers a listing of publishers with a paid open access option, including indicative prices and available discounts.


SHERPA/JULIET (Research funders' open access policies) provides information on funders’ open access policies with the aim to support researchers who wish to check the requirements of their grants. JULIET complements the RoMEO service (also provided by SHERPA) which provides summaries of publishers’ policies concerning self-archiving.


ROARMAP (Registry of Open Access Repository Mandates and Policies) is a searchable registry of open access mandates and policies adopted by universities, research institutions and research funders that require or request their researchers to provide open access to their peer-reviewed research article output by depositing it in an open access repository.

Where to get help

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Many questions related to Open Access and Research Data at the ERC have been answered in the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) that are accessible on the ERC Portal.

Functional mailbox

All questions related to Open Access and Research Data for which no answer can be found in the FAQs can be addressed to the functional mailbox.