You have just been awarded an ERC research grant as part of the Horizon Europe funding programme. As soon as your research results start to become available, you want to ensure they are properly shared. How do you get them published in the right place, while also following all the new rules on Open Science? It’s a lot to think about, in addition to your actual research. We will look at three general areas that need your attention, and describe some requirements in each one.
First, we examine the importance of choosing an appropriate publishing outlet and a suitable repository. We then address the question of publishing fees - sometimes perceived as an obstacle to open access. Finally, we look at the importance of providing access to your research data in a useful manner.
Publishing venues and repositories
To comply with the new rules under the EU’s current funding programme, Horizon Europe, it is important to choose a publishing outlet - and also a repository - that allow you to fulfil all its Open Science (OS) requirements.
You are free to publish in any venue, including subscription journals and books.
You are free to publish in any venue, including subscription journals and books. If you choose a fully open access venue, you can use your ERC grant to cover the publishing costs you may incur - provided the general cost eligibility criteria in your grant agreement are fulfilled. The Directory of Open Access Journals provides information specifically on fully open access journals.
To decide where to publish your journal article, you may also find the SHERPA/RoMEO service useful. This community-maintained site provides a listing of publishers' copyright conditions that are applicable 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’s website.
When considering where to deposit your peer-reviewed publications, as requested by the grant agreement, remember to use a ‘trusted’ repository that also allows you to add the required metadata.
remember to use a ‘trusted’ repository
While different scientific communities have dedicated repositories, the ERC Scientific Council recommends: Europe PubMed Central for publications in life sciences fields; arXiv for physical sciences and engineering; and OAPEN library for books and chapters. The last is particularly useful for researchers in social sciences and humanities.
When working out the budget you will need to run your research project, you should take into account any fees you might need to pay for publishing your research results. Publishing fees generally can exist regardless of the publishing venue - whether it is a journal, online platform, or book.
A hybrid publication venue is a journal or book in which only some of the articles or chapters are open access. Publishing open access in such venues typically requires paying a fee to the publisher.
If your research is funded under Horizon Europe, a new rule is that publishing fees paid to hybrid journals or books are not eligible for reimbursement from your grant.
publishing fees paid to hybrid journals or books are not eligible for reimbursement
For example, if you publish a chapter in an edited volume, the publishing fee is ineligible unless the entire book is open access. Note that for publications in hybrid journals, page charges or colour charges are also ineligible.
Some institutions enter into “Transformative Agreements” with publishers (or similar types of agreements), which result in reduced publication fees for research projects they host. Alternatively, researchers may be able to rely on other institutional funds set aside for publication charges. Unfortunately, these are not a one-size-fits-all solution as their availability is dependent on accessible budget at the level of the institution.
Fortunately, journals and platforms exist that are both fully open access and do not charge any fees to authors.
journals and platforms exist that are both fully open access and do not charge any fees to authors
One such platform is the European Commission-supported Open Research Europe platform. There are also a good number of traditional journals that are supported by other mechanisms and do not impose fees either.
It’s also useful to bear in mind that the ERC’s research proposal evaluation system has banned references to a publication’s Journal Impact Factor in the researcher’s track record. The intention of this ban is to encourage researchers and reviewers alike to focus on the content of each publication, rather than on the publishing venue.
Providing access to your data
Providing access to data benefits science by making it easier to reuse existing data, and promotes transparency and accountability.
Open access to publications from ERC funded projects is already mandatory; the next step in the development of OS is also making research data publicly available, when possible.
the next step in the development of OS is also making research data publicly available
Similarly to repositories for publications, such data must be deposited in a ‘trusted’ data repository, with access provided under the principle “as open as possible, as closed as necessary”.
It’s important to provide access to data in a useful manner. This includes making the investment into annotating the data so that they can be reused by others, and providing proper metadata. Linking different research outputs to each other is also essential to provide the full picture, for example, publications should be linked to their underlying data.
You may think you would need a plan to manage this process. You are right. Under Horizon Europe, grantees of all ERC projects that generate research data must submit a Data Management Plan (DMP), at the latest six months after the project starts. You can find more details on DMP and some potential repositories for research data in the ERC Scientific Council’s DMP information document.
While we can’t give an exhaustive description of what is needed to practice OS in just one short article, we hope this piece provides you with some pointers on aspects you can’t afford to overlook. For more information on the ERC’s approach to OS, do visit the ERC's Open Science page.