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Open Access in ERC and EU Horizon 2020: how to comply

The European Commission (EC) now requires open access to all peer reviewed research articles resulting from Horizon 2020 project funding.

See guidance from the H2020 participant portal and further guides from OpenAIRE on how to comply with the H2020 mandate.

Principal Investigators (“beneficiaries”) must deposit a suitable version of their peer-reviewed author accepted manuscript into an appropriate repository, and ensure open access within 6 months of publication (12 months for social sciences and humanities).  Grants may be reduced if beneficiaries breach their obligations. A summary of steps is shown below, and factsheets are also available from OpenAIRE.

NOTE: The European Research Council (ERC) has additional guidelines for open access, requiring all peer-reviewed publications supported in whole or in part by ERC funding to be deposited in a repository. For ERC grants, the open access mandate includes monographs, chapters, edited volumes etc as well as articles. See the ERC Open Access Guidelines, and follow the steps below to comply.

Summary - Horizon 2020 steps to open access
  1. Submit papers to a journal of choice, there is no restriction provided you can comply with the policy.  If a researcher chooses to publish in an Open Access journal, APC costs should be claimed within the project period and budget. Remember to include APC costs in grant applications.
  2. Deposit the peer-reviewed author accepted manuscript or publisher’s PDF in a repository, either institutional (via Pure) or disciplinary.  An embargo period might apply (see 1.1 below), so you need to check this is less than 6 months (12 months for HSS).
  3. Acknowledge project funding both in the publication and in the metadata in the format: This project has received funding from the [European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme] under grant agreement No [Number].
  4. Make sure you add the publication to your final report to the EC.
APC costs in grant applications

The University costing policy is to add a default provision for Open Access costs on Horizon 2020.

If you plan to publish via a paid open access route, the average cost of an Article Processing Charge (APC) is approximately £1500 for a journal article. We recommend you consider how many articles will be published as outputs of the project, and multiply by £1500.

Open Access routes for monographs are not yet widespread, but some publishers offer this option for an APC in the region of £6000-£10000 for a book.

1. Submit your article to a journal of your choice

1.1. Submit to a ‘traditional’ subscription-based journal

  • The selected journal must allow for deposit of the manuscript to a repository immediately upon publication, to be made open access within the specified embargo period (6 months in most cases).
  • Check if the publisher permits deposit of your own final accepted version of articles in an institutional repository. You can do this by checking the SHERPA-RoMEO database of publisher policies, by checking with repository staff in the University Library, or by asking your publisher.
  • Note that some publishers require an embargo period before papers may be deposited in institutional repositories. Acceptable embargoes are 6 months (health, energy, environment, information and communication technologies, and research infrastructures) or 12 months (science in society, socioeconomic sciences and humanities) after publication.
  • If the publisher policy does not allow deposit in a repository, researchers should make their best efforts to negotiate copyright and licensing conditions that comply with the open access pilot in Horizon 2020. Contact us if you want help with this.


1.2. Choose a journal with a paid open access option (‘hybrid’ journal)

  • If the publisher does not permit you to deposit any version of your paper in a repository, check if they have a paid open access option (also check any membership arrangements).
  • Check that the paid option allows you to deposit the published version (or your own final version) of your article in a repository.
  • The EC will reimburse open access publishing costs within the project period and budget.  A payment mechanism will be piloted for APCs that need to be paid beyond the end of the grant agreement.


1.3. Publish in an open access journal

  • There are an increasing number of completely open access journals where you may choose to publish, with peer review carried out in the same way as for subscription journals (e.g. Scientific Reports, PLoS ONE, and BMC journals).
  • New business models and methods of peer review are also appearing. To find an open access journal in your subject area, try the Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Check that the journal allows you to deposit an electronic version of your article in a repository.
  • The EC will reimburse open access publishing costs within the project period and budget.  A payment mechanism will be piloted for APCs that need to be paid beyond the end of the grant agreement.


2. How to deposit in our institutional repository


3. Add your publication to the final report of the project

You are expected to include all scientific (peer-reviewed) publications resulting from the project in your final report to the EC/ERC. You should provide bibliographic details and a permanent identifier to the open access version of your paper. You can find this link in the Pure Portal record if you have completed Step 2.  

Further details, guides and support are available from OpenAIRE:



RIS Open Access Support