How to comply with Open Access requirements - Horizon 2020

What to deposit

If an author decides to disseminate the results of his or her research carried out within the H2020 programme, he or she is obliged to comply with the European Commission’s Open Access requirements by making peer-reviewed articles available for open access (Article 29.2 of the Annotated Model Grant Agreement)

“Each beneficiary must ensure open access (free of charge, online access for any user) to all peer-reviewed scientific publications relating to its results”.

For other types of scientific publications, books, conference proceedings, grey literature (reports), the author is not bound by Open Access obligations. However, all grant recipients are encouraged to provide Open Access to any type of publication (where possible)


It is possible to deposit both the Postprint editorial version and the Postprint/accepted manuscript, subject to the publisher’s policy.

In any case, the author is obliged to inform the publisher that he/she is subject to open access deposit as an obligation under the H2020 project.


Publications must be deposited in a repository of scientific publications that guarantees free access and long-term preservation:

  • Institutional: for researchers at the Politecnico di Torino: Porto@Iris)
  • Subject repositories (ArXiv, Repec, BioarXiv...)
  • Centralised (Zenodo)

It is not enough that the publications are on the project site or on the publisher’s site if they have been published in open access.

You cannot deposit your publications on social platforms that require registration for access and/or do not guarantee digital preservation over time (e.g. and Researchgate).

“Beneficiaries should NOT use a repository with rules which could conflict with open access.”


In the case of open access journals, the article must be uploaded at the time of publication (Section 29.2 of the Annotated Model Grant Agreement).

For articles published in traditional journals, the postprint/accepted paper must be deposited as soon as possible and open access must be guaranteed within 6 months from the official publication date (for STM) and 12 months (for SSH).

Compulsory metadata

In the description phase of the publication, certain fields are required to be filled in (section 29.2):

  •   Reference “European Union (EU)” and “Horizon 2020”: on Porto@Iris simply select the Horizon 2020 funding programme
  •   The name, number and acronym of the project: on Porto@Iris simply fill in the six-digit project number
  •   The date of publication and the duration of any embargo (which you enter after uploading the attachment when indicating the “access policy”)
  •   A persistent identifier (e.g. DOI / ISBN)

OpenAire harvests all Horizon 2020 publications uploaded to Porto@Iris if the funding programme and project number are entered on the card

Indicate the Funding Programme and Grant number in the Acknowledgements also in the Postprint/Accepted manuscript version.

Penalties for non-compliance

Non-compliance with Open Access obligations may lead to reduced grants and potential penalties (Section 29.6):

“If a beneficiary breaches any of its obligations under this Article, the grant may be reduced (Article 43). Such a breach may also lead to any of the other measures described in Chapter 6” (art. 43).

Publisher choice and process

Given the researcher’s freedom to choose where to publish, it is useful to bear in mind that:

If the article has not yet been submitted to a publisher:

at this stage, it is still the authors who hold the copyright and it is therefore important that they act consciously before handing it over to the publisher.

It is advisable to publish with open access-friendly publishers or publishers that allow the postprint to be deposited within the required deadlines.

The author may submit the article:

  • to an OA publisher or in an OA journal of a traditional publisher (see section Publishing in an Open Access journal)
  • to a traditional publisher with a policy allowing deposit on an institutional repository within 6 months for STM and 12 for SSH.

Here is a (non-exhaustive) List of publishers (77.06 kB) that allow the Postprint/accepted manuscript to be deposited within the required deadlines.

If the article has already been submitted to a publisher:

  • the authors must inform the publisher that they are bound by the EC’s Open Access requirements
  • In the event that the publisher requests an embargo period of more than 6 months in STM disciplines and more than 12 months for SSH disciplines or does not have an open access-friendly policy, the Commission has drafted a Letter of Request that the corresponding author may submit to the publisher in order to reach an agreement between the two parties

If the publisher refuses to comply with the EC’s requests:

  • the project co-ordinator shall inform the project officer, by putting in cc, of the publisher’s negative response despite the attempts made, enclosing the relevant correspondence.

The same practice should also be followed in the event that, in the absence of other peer-reviewed journals of equal quality, funds are not available to publish in the chosen open access journal requiring APC (e.g., after the project has been completed, or if the budget for publications produced during the project is depleted).