Open science in Horizon Europe: from grant preparation to project implementation

Open science is a legal obligation under Horizon Europe, aiming to foster greater transparency and trust for the benefit of scientific research and of EU citizens. But what is Open Science, and how to comply with its principles during the proposal preparation phase and when implementing your project?

From ‘Open Access’ to ‘Open Science’

Horizon 2020 already enabled an open access policy to be put in place, requiring researchers to make their publications and data immediately available and free of charge (‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’). Horizon Europe goes further, aiming to open up the entire research and publication process, including open data, open protocols, open code, and transparent peer review.

Thus, Open Science encourages collaboration across academia, industry, public authorities, and citizen groups, leading to greater transparency in the research process, greater potential impact of research, more efficient research processes and opportunities for global scientific collaboration.

Open Science during the grant proposal preparation

Open science practices must be addressed and are considered for evaluation in several parts of the project proposal phase. Here are a few tips to ensure that you address the open science aspects throughout the proposal:

Part A – Application form:

  • List up to 5 publications, widely-used datasets, software, goods, services or any other achievements relevant to the call; your cited publications will only be evaluated qualitatively and are expected to be in open access (i.e. a Journal Impact Factor is irrelevant);

Part B – Project proposal – Technical description:

  1. Under ‘Excellence’:
    • Provide concrete information on how you plan to comply with the mandatory open science practices and, if it is the case, how you will adopt recommended practices: this will help you gain a higher evaluation score!
    • Outline briefly your Data Management Plan if you plan to generate or reuse data
  2. Under ‘Impact’:
  1. Under ‘Quality and efficiency of the implementation’:
    • Don’t forget to include a Data Management Plan (DMP) as a deliverable (it is mandatory).

Lastly, do not forget to carefully check the call conditions as some calls may require specific open science practices.


Open Science during the project implementation

Once your Horizon Europe project is accepted, you should comply with the mandatory open science practices:

  1. Ensure you publish peer-reviewed publications in full Open access (publication fees are eligible for reimbursement). You can use the platform Sherpa Romeo to check the publisher’s open access policies;
  2. Deposit your publications and datasets on an open access repository. Zenodo is a common one for European projects and has the advantage to be linked to the European Commission’s SyGMa platform.
  3. Manage your research data responsibly and in line with the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable), notably through the use of data management plans, and provide open access to research data under the principle ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’.

In addition, there are some recommended open science practices that you could adhere to, such as: involving citizens, civil society and end-users in the co-creation of content, early and open sharing of research (e.g. preregistration, preprints, crowdsourcing), output management beyond research data, participation in open peer-review.

For more information on Open Science, you can read the Horizon Europe Standard Application Form and the dedicated section of the Programme Guide.

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