COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2

Exceeding the current Open Access requirements of Horizon 2020

European Commission provides detailed guidance for projects working on COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and related topics

April 21, 2020

The European Commission urges researchers of Horizon 2020 grants with research outputs that - in any way - may be used to advance the research on COVID-19, to provide immediate open access to their related publications, data and any other output possible.

The European Commission strongly encourages beneficiaries to follow new guidelines, thereby exceeding the current Open Access requirements of Horizon 2020 and going beyond the legal obligations enshrined in the Horizon 2020 Grant Agreement.

As signatory of the Statement on Data Sharing in Public Health Emergency, the European Commission promotes that:

  • "All peer-reviewed research publications relevant to the outbreak are made immediately open access, or freely available at least for the duration of the outbreak;
  • Research findings relevant to the outbreak are shared immediately with the WHO upon journal submission, by the journal and with author knowledge;
  • Research findings are made available via preprint servers before journal publication, or via platforms that make papers openly accessible before peer review, with clear statements regarding the availability of underlying data;
  • Researchers share interim and final research data relating to the outbreak, together with protocols and standards used to collect the data, as rapidly and widely as possible - including with public health and research communities and the WHO;
  • Authors are clear that data or preprints shared ahead of submission will not pre-empt its publication in these journals."

More particularly, the European Commission strongly encourages beneficiaries to follow the guidelines below with regard to publications:

  • Make all research publications relevant to the outbreak immediately available, through deposition of a copy of the published, or final, peer-reviewed version, in a repository (through which open access to the deposited copy shall be ensured), at the latest at the time of publication, under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC BY 4.0) or a license with equivalent rights. If you publish in an open access venue or hybrid journal (subscription-based journals in which some content is open access against the payment of a fee), Article Processing Charges (APCs) are eligible costs in the projects. If your discipline does not have a preferred repository and there is no repository in your institution, you may deposit your publications and data with the general-purpose repository Zenodo at no cost.
  • Make research findings available via preprint servers before journal publication, or via platforms that make publications openly accessible before peer-review. Include clear statements regarding the availability of underlying data. Preprint servers are increasingly acceptable in most fields and accepted by most journals for later publication, but you must be aware to clear that data or preprints shared ahead of a submission will not pre-empt its publication in these journals. Some reliable and currently very relevant preprint archives are bioRxiv (life sciences), medRxiv (medical), PsyArxiv (behavioural sciences), SocArXiv (social sciences), ArXiv (o.a. physics, mathematics, computer science) and Open Science Framework (OSF) preprints or Zenodo (the latter two are multidisciplinary archives).
  • Provide information via the repository about any research output or any other tools and instruments needed to re-use and/or validate the conclusions of the scientific publication. This includes for example software, workflows, models, materials etc. If possible, provide access to the tools or instruments themselves.
  • Include metadata of deposited publications under a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC 0 1.0) or equivalent, in line with the FAIR principles (in particular machine-actionable) and provide information at least about the following:
    • Publication: author(s), title, date of publication, publication venue;
    • Framework Programme and the action: the terms "European Union" (EU) and "Horizon Europe" or "Euratom", respectively, the name of the action, acronym, grant number;
    • Licensing terms;
    • Persistent identifiers for the publication (e.g. DOI or Handle), the author(s) (e.g. ORCID, ResearcherID), and, if possible, for the institution(s) (e.g. ROR) and the grant (e.g. DOI) covered by this agreement.
    • Where applicable, persistent identifiers for any research output or any other tools and instruments needed to validate the conclusions of the publication.

In a document published on April 8, 2020, the European Commission also provides links towards other research outputs (publication and data resources, data repositories,…), ongoing data-related efforts under the umbrella of the European Open Science Cloud, relevant initiatives supported by the EC, etc.