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Horizon Europe is the main Research and Innovation Funding Programme of the European Commission.

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Open science under Horizon Europe

This info sheet provides in a nutshell the required open science practices in Horizon Europe proposals and an overview of the Horizon Europe calls for proposals dedicated to the support of open science and the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC).

Programmes Enhancing EU R&I   Horizon Europe   SwafS   Horizon 2020  

Published on | 2 years ago

Last updated on | 4 months ago

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Image of Margot Beereboom
Margot Beereboom

Road to open access and open science in EU Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development (RTD) / Research and Innovation (R&I)

In 2008, under the seventh EU Framework Programme (FP7, 2007-2013) a pilot on open access was launched. In 2014, with the start of the eighth Framework Programme Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) open access to all peer-reviewed scientific publications (online access free of charge for any user) became mandatory. In the same year the Open Research Data (ORD) pilot was launched for selected programmes within Horizon 2020. The aim of the pilot was to improve and maximise access to and re-use of research data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. All Horizon 2020 projects partaking in the ORD pilot have to strive for good management of research data by using a Data Management Plan (DMP). In 2017 the ORD pilot was extended to all programme parts of Horizon 2020 with the exception of only a few instruments. Under Horizon Europe (2021-2027) the concept of open science should become integrated.

How is open science defined under Horizon Europe?

The definition used under Horizon Europe for open science is the following: ‘An approach to the scientific process based on open cooperative work, tools and diffusing knowledge.’

There are a number of often recurring terms associated with open science which are defined under Horizon Europe as follows:

Research Data Management: ‘The process within the research lifecycle that includes the organisation, storage, preservation, security, quality assurance, allocation of persistent identifiers (PIDs) and rules and procedures for sharing of data including licensing.’

Research outputs: ‘Results to which access can be given in the form of scientific publications, data or other engineered results and processes such as software, algorithms, protocols, models, workflows and electronic notebooks.’

Open Access: ‘Online access to research outputs provided free of charge to the end-user.’

FAIR principles: an abbreviation for ‘findability, accessibility, interoperability and reusability’ (Horizon Europe General Model Grant Agreement (MGA) p.101)

Horizon Europe open science evaluation criteria for research proposal content and consortium

In the evaluation criteria for Horizon Europe proposals open science has been included. In general under the excellence criterion (1.2 methodology) applicants have to provide information on open science practices and research data management. Under the quality and efficiency of implementation criterion (3.2 capacity of participants and consortium as a whole) the expertise within the consortium has to be explained. In part A the publications on the list of publications (up to five) are expected to be open access and datasets are expected to comply with the principles ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’ and FAIR-principles (see for instance Standard Application Form HE RIA, IA).

Please note that additional call specific conditions may apply. Therefore always check the applicable work programme and carefully follow the instructions in the proposal template of the Horizon Europe call and action you are applying for.

In general all Horizon Europe work programmes (2021-2022, 2023-2024) evaluate open science practices more or less as outlined above with an exception for EIC Pathfinder (EIC 2021 WP), under which open science is evaluated also under the impact criterion (see also annex 2 on Open Science in EIC WP 2021, 2022 and 2023), and European Research Council (ERC) work programmes (WP 2021 p. 12, WP 2022 p.10-1, WP 2023 p.11).

Open science practices under Horizon Europe

There is a distinction made between mandatory and recommended open science practices:

Mandatory practices for all beneficiaries in a Horizon Europe grant agreement:

  • Open access to scientific peer-reviewed publications, at the same time as the first publication, through deposition in trusted repositories under a Creative Commons Attribution International Public Licence (CC BY) or equivalent license. Metadata of deposited publications must be open access under a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0) or equivalent license and in line with the FAIR principles.
  • Management of research data in line with FAIR principles: establish a Research Data Management Plan (DMP template) as deliverable usually by month six which should be regularly updated. Data must as soon as possible be deposited in a trusted repository under CC BY, CC0 or equivalent license. Metadata of deposited data must be open access under a CC0 or equivalent license and in line with the FAIR principles.
  • Measures to ensure reproducibility of research outputs (applicable to peer-reviewed publications and research data): 1) provide via the repository information on outputs/tools/instruments and 2) access to data/results for validation of publications unless legitimate interests or constraints (like EU competitive interest) apply.
  • In cases of public emergency, if requested by the granting authority, immediate open access to all research outputs under open licenses (CC BY, CC0 or equivalent). If exceptions apply, access under fair and reasonable conditions to legal entities that need the research outputs to address the public emergency.

Please note there can be additional obligations according work programme topics or call conditions.

Recommended practices in the Horizon Europe calls for proposals are:

  • Early and open sharing of research (for example through preregistration, registered reports or pre-prints)
  • Research output management beyond peer-reviewed publications and research data
  • Open access to research outputs through deposition in trusted repositories for other research outputs then peer-reviewed publications and research data (for example software, models etc.)
  • Participation in open peer-review (publish in open peer-reviewed journals and platforms)
  • Involving all relevant knowledge actors (citizens, civil society, end-users) in co-creation of research agendas and contents

This is a non-exhaustive list for recommended practices. Please note there can be additional  recommended practices according work programme topics or call conditions.

For detailed descriptions and resources on the above consult the Horizon Europe programme guide p.38-53, Horizon Europe General Model Grant Agreement (MGA) article 17, p 108-110 and Horizon Europe Annotated Model Grant Agreement (AGA) annex 5 p. 154 - 162). A summary of the requirements is given in the European Commission webinar on Horizon Europe cross-cutting aspects, more specifically the open science part (April 2021). In this video for experts is explained how they need to evaluate Open Science in Horizon Europe proposals. 

The European Commission launched in March 2021 the Open Research Europe (ORE) open access publishing platform for publications coming out of Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe projects. The Commission bears the publication fees. It is not mandatory to publish on this platform, but publishing there is in line with the Horizon Europe open science policy. The ORE platform is explained in this webinar organised by the European Council for Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc) (April 2021).

Several resources to find trusted repositories for publications and research data can be found in the Horizon Europe programme guide, the ERC guidance Open Research Data and Data Management Plans (April 2022), the ERC ‘Study on the readiness of research data and literature repositories to facilitate compliance with the Open Science Horizon Europe MGA requirements’ (March 2023) and Open Research Europe approved data repositories (bottom of the page).

Dedicated open science calls for proposals in Horizon Europe two yearly work programmes

Open science is a theme across all Horizon Europe programme parts, but there are also dedicated (open) calls for proposals with regards to the promotion of open science.

Under the Horizon Europe Work Programme part Widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area, more specifically Destination 3 Reforming and Enhancing the EU Research and Innovation, there are several calls for proposals included with a specific focus on open science. The calls for proposals with links to the Funding and Tender portal call topic pages are listed here below:




Under ERC, funding is included to execute studies on the topic of ‘Support to the implementation of Open Science by the ERC’. An analysis of the cost of open access to publications, research data management and sharing, data storage and curation is foreseen. Furthermore an investigation of different models for the provision of financial support to ERC grantees and their institutions for these activities will be executed. These are Expert Contract actions which will be directly implemented by DG RTD (2021 WP p. 37-38, 2022 WP p.57).

Launch of European partnership for the European Open Science Cloud (2021)

One of the 11 co-programmed European partnerships that was launched during the Research and Innovation Days 2021 is the European Partnership for the European Open Science Cloud (draft partnership proposal (May 2020), Launch Event R&I Days, Memorandum of Understanding between EOSC Association and European Commission (February 2021)). The aim of the partnership is ‘to deploy and consolidate by 2030 an open, trusted virtual environment to enable the estimated two million European researchers to store, share and reuse research data across borders and disciplines.’

Dedicated European Open Science Cloud calls for proposals under Horizon Europe two yearly work programmes

There are several calls that contribute to the EOSC which are taken up In the Horizon Europe Work programme part Research Infrastructures, more specifically under Destination 2 Enabling an operational, open and FAIR EOSC ecosystem (in short INFRAEOSC). The calls for proposals with links to the Funding and Tender portal call topic pages are listed here below:



Furthermore a Public Procurement action is foreseen for the third quarter of 2022 to deliver in a 3-year timespan a fully operational, secure cloud-based EOSC infrastructure (‘Delivering the EOSC core infrastructure and services’ p. 122-126 RI 2021-2022 WP), and two actions are foreseen on ‘Enhanced depositing services for digital research objects for Horizon Europe beneficiaries - enriching the EOSC environment of FAIR repositories’ (Q1 2023) and the implementation of the EOSC monitoring mechanism (Q3 2023). (p.125-130 RI 2023-2024 WP).


These calls for proposals were explained during the EOSC Symposium 2021 (Future EOSC calls in Horizon Europe) and the Horizon Europe Info Days 2021 (Research Infrastructures INFRAEOSC 2021 call) and Horizon Europe Info Day on the 2023 RI calls (Research Infrastructures INFRAEOSC 2023 call).


This factsheet provides a summary on Open Science in Horizon Europe.

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image of ERC grants awarded to professor Inez Germeys

ERC grants awarded to professor Inez Germeys

Professor Inez Germeys leads the Center for Contextual Psychiatry at KU Leuven, which is a large multi-disciplinary research group focusing on the interaction between the person and the environment in the development of psychopathology. She has received a European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator grant (INTERACT) and Proof of Concept grant (IMPACT). With these grants professor Germeys and her team researched a new mobile self-management therapy for patients with a psychotic disorder. The Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in Daily Life (ACT-DL) was further developed for the clinical environment. In line with that the Horizon 2020 IMMERSE project aims to thoroughly evaluate strategies, processes, and outcomes of implementing a digital mobile mental health solution.