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Research Data Management: Open Research Data in Horizon 2020

Bringing together University resources and services to facilitate researchers in the production of high quality data.

Open Access Requirements in Horizon 2020

ARTICLE 29 of the Annotated Model Grant Agreement deals with:

  • Dissemination of Results 
  • Open Access 
  • Visibility of EU Funding

Horizon 2020 mandates open access to all scientific publications and, from  January 2017, to all research data, with the possibility to opt out from this “Open Research Data” pilot.

The European Commission believes this offers better value for money, encourages collaboration across disciplines, is in the public interest and is essential for solving today’s complex societal challenges.


An electronic copy of the publication must be deposited in a suitable green open access repository. The version of the paper will generally be the author's "post-print" or author's final version of the article after the refereeing process has taken place. This does not preclude ALSO publishing in a traditional subscription journal. This is the Green/Traditional publishing route.

The green open access repository can be a disciplinary repository (e.g. PubMed Central or arXiv) or an institutional repository such as UCD’s: Research Repository UCD. A centralised repository such as Zenodo can also be used.

The gold open access route may also be used. Generally an author will be required to pay an article processing charge (APC) to the gold open access journal. If the gold open access route is chosen, a copy must also be self-archived in a repository (e.g. Research Repository UCD).

The rationale for depositing in a green open access repository is that this form of deposit will ensure long-term preservation of the article. Venue such as Research Gate or do not count as repositories. Nor do publisher websites, personal, or project-specific webpages or Dropbox.

Open access should be provided as soon as possible and in any case no later than six months after the official publication date (or 12 months in the Social Sciences and Humanities).


The Commission's approach is ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’ and the open access requirement only applies to research data related to scientific publications. They define research data to include statistics, results of experiments, measurements, observations resulting from fieldwork, survey results, interview recordings and images.

Data management costs are fully eligible for funding under Article 6 and Article 6.2.D.3 of the H2020 Grant Agreement or under other Articles relevant for the cost category chosen.

Beneficiaries of ERC grants can opt out of sharing research data without having to give a reason.

The European Commission has produced useful fact sheets / FAQs on:


A number of useful other resources are also available:

OpenAIRE H2020 Fact Sheets

OpenAIRE Personal Data and Open Research Data Pilot Factsheet

OpenAIRE Open Research Data Pilot Factsheet

OpenAIRE Factsheet for Researchers

OpenAIRE Factsheet for Research Administrators

Step 1: Plan to share from the start

It's important to plan for sharing of research data from the start of you project.

  • When negotiating consortia it's important to discuss sharing of data to make sure potential difficulties or conflicts are overcome in advance.
  • ​Sharing of data should also be considered when negotiating licenses or obtaining informed consent from human subjects. 
  • While costs related to open access to research data in Horizon 2020 are eligible for reimbursement these can't be included retrospectively.

Step 2: Create a Data Management Plan (DMP)

A Data Management Plan (DMP) is a project deliverable and the initial version is due at the 6 month mark. This is not a fixed document and should be updated as the project progresses. A DMP is not part of the proposal evaluation but you can include details of research data management (RDM) under the ‘Impact’ criterion, for example, what standards will be used, how data will be shared and how data will be curated and preserved.

Your DMP should describe the data your research will generate, how you will ensure its curation, preservation and sustainability, what parts of that data will be open and how you plan to achieve this. One DMP should be prepared to cover all datasets, you do not need multiple DMPs.The Commission provides a template based on the FAIR data principles but you don't have to use their template. The FAIR data principles state that data should be findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable.

Step 3: Making data open

Research data must be deposited, preferably in a research data repository. You can use the Registry of Research Data Repositories ( to help find a suitable discipline specific repository. If no discipline specific repository exists consider using Zenodo. THis is a collaboration between OpenAIRE and CERN and allows researchers to deposit both publications and data and create links between them.

Metadata describing the data and contextual information about the data should also be provided, ensuring that the data can be reused.

An appropriate license should also be applied to the data. Because the data should be open the Commission's policies point towards using Creative Commons Licenses CC-BY or CC-0, for example.

Opting out

It is possible to opt out of sharing your research data at any point during the project. However, you will have to provide justification for doing so.

It is possible to opt out under the following criteria:

  • data are commercially sensitive
  • data are confidential (in connection with security issues)
  • sharing would break data protection regulations
  • participation would mean that the project's main aim might not be achieved
  • the project will not generate / collect any research data
  • other legitimate reasons

Open Research Data in Horizon 2020

Open Access Requirements in Horizon 2020

For more information about Horizon 2020 Open Access Requirements for publications please see our guide below: