ERC Open Access requirements for FP7 and Horizon 2020 grants

Depending on the type of ERC grant and under what Work programme it was awarded, different rules related to open access apply. This page gives a brief overview of the formal rules 1 under FP7 and Horizon 2020. For full details, it is advisable to check the Grant Agreement.  If you have any questions regarding ERC Open Access requirements, please consult the ERC – Frequently Asked Questions 2 or contact the ERC open access team at ERC-OPEN-ACCESS@ec.europa.eu .  

1.    Horizon 2020 (ERC Work programmes 2014 - 2020)

All ERC Frontier Research Grants (i.e. Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants, Advanced Grants, Synergy Grants) and all Proof-of-Concept Grants under Horizon 2020 require beneficiaries to provide open access to all peer-reviewed scientific publications related to results from the research funded under the grant (including monographs, books and book chapters). The obligations to provide open access are detailed in Article 29.2 of the Horizon 2020 ERC Model Grant Agreement for ERC Frontier Research Grants:

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

a. as soon as possible and at the latest on publication, deposit a machine-readable electronic copy of the published version or final peer-reviewed manuscript accepted for publication in a repository for scientific publications. Moreover, the beneficiary must aim to deposit at the same time the research data needed to validate the results presented in the deposited scientific publications.

b. ensure open access to the deposited publication — via the repository — at the latest: 1. on publication, if an electronic version is available for free via the publisher, or 2. within six months of publication (twelve months for publications in the social sciences and humanities) in any other case.

c. ensure open access — via the repository — to the bibliographic metadata that identify the deposited publication, which must include a persistent identifier.

The Annotated Grant Agreement (pages 390-391) provides more details on the ERC Open Access requirements under Horizon 2020, including an explanation of the conditions under which long-text publications are considered to be peer-reviewed for the purposes of the above Article 29.2.

2.    FP7 (ERC Work programmes 2012 and 2013)

ERC Frontier Research Grants (i.e. Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants, Advanced Grants, Synergy Grants) resulting from calls in the ERC Work programmes 2012 and 2013[^3] oblige beneficiaries to immediately deposit all scientific publications related to results from the research funded under the grant (including mongraphs, books, and book chapters) and to make best efforts to provide open access to them within six months from publication. Article 7 of the grant agreement for these grants will include {Special Clause 39 ERC](https://oapen.fra1.digitaloceanspaces.com/d40023095c3a45a2b58d4943957d5a2b.pdf):

In addition to Article II.30.3 [note: this article explains how the ERC funding has to be acknowledged], the beneficiary shall deposit an electronic copy of the published version or the final manuscript accepted for publication of a scientific publication, related to foreground [note: this refers to all results generated in the project] published before or after the final report, in an institutional or subject-based repository at the moment of publication. The beneficiary is required to make its best efforts to ensure that this electronic copy becomes freely and electronically available to anyone through this repository:

  • immediately, if the scientific publication is published “open access”, i.e. if an electronic version is also available free of charge via the publisher, or

  • within six months of publication.   The Guide to Intellectual Property Rules for FP7 projects (Section 7.3) provides detailed information on how to demonstrate that such ‘best efforts’ have been made. In short:

  • At the beginning of the submission/publication process, authors must check the publishing agreement they are expected to sign to see if they retain the right to self-archive their work with an embargo period not going beyond six months.

  • If this is not the case, authors must inform the publisher of the ERC’s special clause on open access and request an exception to the publisher’s policy (options include retaining copyright through an appropriate license to publish, or amending the publishing agreement to retain the right to self-archive with an embargo of at most six months).

  • If the publisher refuses, authors should consider submitting their manuscript to another publisher, but are not obliged to do so.

  • In case of non-compliance, beneficiaries must substantiate how they have complied with the ‘best effort’ requirement (for instance by providing a letter from the publisher stating their refusal and the reasons for it).

  • If authors have already signed a publishing agreement that does not allow self-archiving with a sufficiently short embargo period, they can request an authorisation to do so via a letter from the publisher, to be attached to the publishing agreement.

[^3] There are no formal obligations relating to open access for grants funded under the FP7 ERC Work programmes 2007-2011, and none for Proof-of-Concept Grants under any of the FP7 ERC Work Programmes.


  1. The ERC Scientific Council has also issued (non-binding) Open Access Guidelines which can be found on this page

  2. The ERC FAQs on Open Access can be found here (mainly for FP7). In addition, there is a centralised FAQ database covering also other EU programmes.