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1. Dissemination of results

Unless it goes against their legitimate interests, the beneficiaries must — as soon as possible (but not before a decision on their possible protection) — disseminate their results (i.e. make them public).

Results that are disclosed too early (i.e. before the decision on their protection) run the risk being invalidated.

Example: If a result is disclosed (in writing (including by e-mail) or orally (e.g. at a conference) before filing for protection even to a single person who is not bound by secrecy or confidentiality obligations (typically someone from an organisation outside the consortium).

NO dissemination at all may take place, if:

-         the results need to be protected as a trade secret (i.e. confidential know-how) or

-         dissemination conflicts with any other obligations under the GA (e.g. personal data Rounded Rectangle:   Security obligations — Dissemination may be restricted/NOT possible for results that are subject to limited disclosure/dissemination in Annex 1 of the GA (see Article 37).<br />
  Results that contain EU-classified information, can be disclosed only after approval by the Commission/Agency (see Article 37).<br />
  For more guidance on security obligations, see the Guidelines for the handling of classified information in EU research projects and, more generally, the Participant Portal Online Manual.<br />
protection, security obligations, etc.).


The beneficiaries may choose the form for disseminating their results.

Standard forms of dissemination:

§  website

§  presentation at a scientific conference

§  peer-reviewed publication

The dissemination measures should however be consistent with the ‘plan for the exploitation and dissemination of the results’ and proportionate to the impact expected from the action.

When deciding on dissemination, the beneficiaries must also consider the other beneficiaries’ legitimate interests.

The beneficiary that intends to disseminate must give the other beneficiaries — unless otherwise agreed — at least 45 days advance notice (together with sufficient information on the dissemination).

Any other beneficiary may object to dissemination — unless otherwise agreed — within 30 days of receiving notification, if it can show that it would suffer significant harm (in relation to background or results). In this case, the results may not be disseminated — unless appropriate steps are taken to safeguard the interests at stake.

Examples (significant harm): Disseminating the results would lead to disclosure of valuable background held by another beneficiary as a trade secret or would make protecting another beneficiary’s results more difficult. Appropriate steps could include: omitting certain data or postponing dissemination until the results are protected.

Best practice: Beneficiaries should foresee arrangements (either in the consortium agreement or in separate agreements) to ensure that decisions on dissemination take due account of the interests of all beneficiaries concerned (and yet allow for publication of results without unreasonable delay).

If the GA provides for additional dissemination obligations, these must also be fulfilled. Such additional dissemination obligations will already be mentioned in the work programme/call.

Rounded Rectangle:   For more guidance on dissemination and exploitation, see the Participant Portal Online Manual.</p>




2. Open access to scientific publications

What? Beneficiaries must ensure open, free-of-charge access to the end‑user to peer-reviewed scientific publications relating to their results.

‘Peer-reviewed publications’ means publications that have been evaluated by other scholars (e.g. articles in scientific journals).


  Rounded Rectangle:   Other types of scientific publications, such as non-peer reviewed articles as well as monographs, books, conference proceedings and ‘grey literature’ (i.e. informally published material not having gone through a standard publishing process, e.g. reports), are not covered by the open access obligation.<br />
Best practice: However, to ensure fuller and wider access, beneficiaries are encouraged to provide open access also to these other types of scientific publications (where possible).<br />







Open access means ensuring that, at the very least, such publications can be read online, downloaded and printed — via a repository for scientific publications.

Best practice: Open access has no impact on the other terms and conditions that apply to scientific publications (e.g. as regards use, etc). However, in order to increase the utility of the publication, beneficiaries are encouraged to provide additional rights such as the right to copy, distribute, search, link, crawl and mine).

A ‘repository for scientific publications’ is an online archive. Beneficiaries are free to choose the repository; it can be institutional, subject-based or centralised.

Best practice: The Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe (OpenAIRE) links existing repositories. It is not obligatory for projects to deposit in OpenAIRE itself, but it is the recommended entry point for researchers deciding on a repository. OpenAIRE also offers support services for researchers, such as the National Open Access Desks. Other useful listings are the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR), the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) and OAPEN (for monographs). Beneficiaries should not choose a repository with rules which could conflict with open access.

Open access does NOT imply that the beneficiaries are obliged to publish their results; it only sets certain requirements that must be fulfilled if they do decide to publish them.

Open access can be provided through:

a)    gold open access (open-access publishing)

‘Gold open access means that open access is provided immediately via the publisher when an article is published, i.e. where it is published in open access journals or in ‘hybrid’ journals combining subscription access and open access to individual articles.

In gold open access, the payment of publication costs (article processing charges) is shifted from readers’ subscriptions to (generally one-off) payments by the author. Such author processing costs may be eligible (see Article 6.2.D.3) — if incurred before the end of the action. Currently, an action for dealing with such costs incurred after the end of the action in FP7 is being piloted and further action in H2020 will be considered based on the outcome.

Rounded Rectangle:   Although gold open access already ensures access via the publisher, the beneficiaries must nevertheless also provide open access via a repository (see below) in order to ensure the long-term preservation and availability of the publication.</p>




b)    green open access (self-archiving).

‘Green open access’ means that the published article or the final peer-reviewed manuscript is archived by the researcher (or a representative) in an online repository. Access to the article is often — but not necessarily — delayed (H2020 embargo period between 6 and 12 months; see below) as some scientific publishers may wish to recoup their investment by selling subscriptions and charging pay-per-download view fees during an exclusivity period.

          Best practice: Authors are encouraged to retain their copyright and grant appropriate licences to publishers.

A template for an open access clause addendum which can be added to publishing agreements is available on the Participant Portal.

How? Open access to scientific publications involves four steps — which may or may not be taken at the same time.

Procedure for open access (scientific publications):

Step 1 —     Deposit, in a repository for scientific publications, a machine‑readable electronic copy of the published version of the publication (or the final peer-reviewed manuscript as accepted for publication).

This must be done as soon as possible (in some cases, the final version can be deposited before publication, e.g. once accepted by the journal) and at the latest on publication.

‘Machine readable copy’ means a format that can be used and understood by a computer; copies must be stored using text file formats that are either standardised or otherwise publicly known, so that anyone can develop new tools for working with them.

Best practice: Where possible, the article as published (in terms of layout, pagination, etc.) should be deposited.

Step 2 — Provide open access to the scientific publication — either as ‘gold open access (i.e. via the publisher AND via the repository) or as ‘green open access (i.e. via the repository only).

Open access must be given:

-         in case of ‘gold open access’: at the latest on publication

-         in all other cases: within 6 months (12 months for publications in the social sciences and humanities)

Step 3 — Ensure open access, via the repository, to certain bibliographic metadata that identify the publication

This is needed for visibility, traceability and monitoring.

It must be done in a standard format and include:

-         the terms ‘European Union (EU)’ and ‘Horizon 2020’ or ‘Euratom’ and Euratom research and training programme 2014-18’ (depending on the grant)

-         the name of the action, acronym and grant number

-         the publication date, and length of embargo period if applicable and

-         a persistent identifier (e.g. a stable digital object identifier which identifies the publication and links to an authoritative version).

Best practice: For ease of tracking, beneficiaries should also include the digital object identifier for ‘Horizon 2020’ ( in the funding acknowledgement field in their metadata.

The metadata compliance of the repository can be checked using OpenAIRE.

Step 4 —     Aim to deposit at the same time, ideally in a data repository, the research data needed to validate the results in the deposited publication.

This is linked to rapid evolution of the concept of ‘publication’ in the digital era. The underlying data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications is now seen as a crucial part of the publication and therefore an important element of scientific best practice.


    Rounded Rectangle:   Beneficiaries do NOT have to grant open access to the deposited underlying research data — unless they are participating in the Pilot on Open Research Data (see below).</p>
  Rounded Rectangle:   For more guidance on open access, see the Participant Portal Online Manual.








3. Open access to research data (Extended Open Research Data Pilot)

What? Beneficiaries of actions that participate in the Open Research Data Pilot must give open, free-of-charge access to the end‑user to digital research data generated during the action ( new in Rounded Rectangle:   As of the Work Programme 2017, the Open Research Data pilot has been extended to all thematic areas of Horizon 2020 (except ERC PoC actions, SME instrument Ph1 actions, ERA-NET Cofund actions that do not produce data, EJP Cofund actions, and prizes).<br />
Participation is therefore now in principle the default. However, actions may opt out at any stage — both before signing the GA and afterwards (through an amendment; see Article 55) —, if:<br />
-	participation is incompatible with the obligation to protect results (see Article 27)<br />
-	participation is incompatible with the security obligations (see Article 37)<br />
-	participation is incompatible with rules on protection of personal data<br />
-	participation would mean that the project's main aim might not be achieved<br />
-	the project will not generate/collect any research data or<br />
-	there are other legitimate reasons not to take part. </p>
<p>Horizon 2020).


‘Digital research data’ is information in digital form (in particular facts or numbers), collected to be examined and used as a basis for reasoning, discussion or calculation; this includes statistics, results of experiments, measurements, observations resulting from fieldwork, survey results, interview recordings and images.

Only data that is generated digitally in the action is concerned. Actions are encouraged to digitise any other data and provide open access to it, but they are not obliged to do so.

The pilot applies to 2 types of digital research data:

-         the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications and associated metadata (i.e. data describing the deposited research data) and

-         other data  and associated metadata, as specified by the beneficiaries themselves in their data management plan.

Examples: curated data not directly attributable to a publication or raw data

Rounded Rectangle:   Beneficiaries may decide not to provide open access to specific datasets if this would go against other GA obligations (e.g. to protect results or personal data) or if the action’s main objective, as described in Annex 1, would be jeopardised by giving open access to those specific datasets. In this case, the reasons must be explained in the data management plan, see below).</p>




Open access to research data means taking measures to make it possible for third parties to access, mine, exploit, reproduce and disseminate data — via a research data repository.

A ‘research data repository’ means an online archive for research data; this can be subject-based/thematic, institutional or centralised.

Best practice: Useful listings of repositories include the Registry of Research Data Repositories (Re3data) and Databib. One key entry point for accessing and depositing related data and tools is Zenodo.

Actions participating in the pilot must draw up a data management plan (DMP) within the first 6 months of the project implementation.

The data management plan must support the management life‑cycle for all data that will be collected, processed or generated by the action. It must cover how to make data findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable (FAIR), including:

-         the handling of data during and after the project

-         what data will be collected, processed or generated

-         what methodology and standards will be applied

-         whether data will be shared / made open access (and how) and, if any, what data will not be shared / made open access (and why) and

-         how data will be curated and preserved.

The data management plan should be updated (and become more precise) as the project evolves. New versions should be created whenever important changes to the project occur (e.g. new data sets, changes in consortium policies, etc.), at least as part of the mid-term review (if any) and at the end of the project.


  Rounded Rectangle:   For more guidance on data management plans (and a template), see the H2020 proposal forms and the Participant Portal Online Manual.</p>






Costs related to the implementation of the Open Research Data pilot (e.g. costs for providing open access, related research data management costs, data curation and data storage costs) may be eligible (see Article 6.2.D.3).

How? Open access to digital research data involves 3 steps:

Procedure for open access (research data):

Step 1 —     Deposit the digital research data, preferably in a research data repository.

Step 2 —     Provide open access by taking measures to enable users to access, mine, exploit, reproduce and disseminate the data free of charge (e.g. for databases: by attaching an appropriate creative commons licence (CC-BY or CC0 tool) to the data; if the access/use is not subject to any rights: by indicating that no licence is needed).

Open access must not be given immediately; for data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications, as soon as possible; for other data, beneficiaries are free to specify embargo periods for their data in the data management plan (as appropriate in their scientific area).

Step 3 —     Provide information, via the repository, about tools and instruments for validating the results.

Where possible, the beneficiaries should provide those tools and instruments (e.g. specialised software or software code, algorithms, analysis protocols, etc.).

Rounded Rectangle:   For more guidance on the research data pilot, see the Participant Portal Online Manual. </p>




4. Data sharing for public health emergencies

If foreseen in the work programme/call, grant agreements for health actions will include specific contractual provisions concerning the sharing of research data for public health emergencies.

Public health emergencies are for instance:

·         public health emergencies of international concern (‘PHEIC’) according to the World Health Organisation, or

·         public health emergencies under Decision 1082/2013/EU, or

·         public health emergencies under applicable national frameworks and regulations.

What? The data-sharing obligations for public health emergencies refer to any type of quality-controlled digital research data (see point 3) and associated metadata which is generated in the action and is relevant for the response to the public health emergency.

Personal data must be processed in accordance with applicable EU and national law (including international practices and standards; see Article 39.2).

For H2020 actions targeting public health emergencies, the beneficiaries must moreover:

-         provide a data management plan (DMP) preferably with the proposal or at the latest before grant signature

The data management plan should address the relevant aspects of making the data findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable (FAIR), including:

-         what data the project will generate

-         whether and how the data will be made accessible for verification and re-use and

-         how it will be circulated and preserved.


Rounded Rectangle:   For more guidance on data management plans (and a template), see the H2020 proposal forms and the Participant Portal Online Manual.</p>


-         for relevant data (as agreed with the Commission/Agency): give free-of-charge access within 30 days after it has been generated

-         for other data: give open access as soon as possible.

If agreed with the Commission/Agency, the open access obligation can exceptionally be replaced by special access rights to specific third parties that need the data to address the public health emergency.

In this case, the access rights must include the right to access, mine, exploit and reproduce the data free of charge (as further specified by the Commission/Agency, if needed) — but they may be used only for the access needed and only for addressing the public health emergency (i.e. limited both in scope and in time). Sub-licensing is only allowed if the beneficiary agrees.

For other H2020 actions, the special open access obligation (or the special access rights to specific third parties) is linked to a specific request by the Commission/Agency and limited to datasets agreed with the Commission/Agency.


5. Visibility of EU funding

Any dissemination of results (in any form), even when combined with other data, must include the reference to EU funding set out in the GA (see Article 38).

Best practice: Where possible, beneficiaries should make this reference in the language of the dissemination activity (using the text of the GA language version available on Participant Portal Reference Documents).

Do NOT refer to EU funding when describing outputs of activities that are not described in Annex I, i.e. outputs developed outside the action (in other words for dissemination activities which do not concern results of the action).


  Rounded Rectangle:   Combining H2020 & other EU grants — If the outputs were developed in another EU-funded action (funded not by H2020, but another EU programme, including Structural Funds/ESIF Funds), do NOT forget the visibility obligations under those grant agreements.</p>