Horizon2020: A great leap forward for Open Access

Open Access to publications and, to a limited extent, to research data is the default rule for Horizon2020, the new EU-funded research programme launched yesterday by the European Commission. It is a turning point for open access in Europe, congratulations to all the dedicated European Commission officers that for years have been preparing the ground for this great achievement!

From the Horizon2020 Model Grant Agreement:

29.2 Open access to scientific publications
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.

29.3 Open access to research data
[OPTION for actions participating in the open Research Data Pilot: Regarding the digital research data generated in the action (‘data’), 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’ (see Annex 1);
(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).
This does not change the obligation to protect results in Article 27, the confidentiality obligations in Article 36, the security obligations in Article 37 or the obligations to protect personal data in Article 39, all of which still apply.
As an exception, the beneficiaries do not have to ensure open access to specific parts of their research data if the achievement of the action's main objective, as described in Annex 1, 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.]