Open access to scientific peer reviewed publications in Horizon 2020: first data


Open access (OA) can be defined as the practice of providing on-line access to scientific information that is free of charge to the user and that is re-usable. A distinction is usually made between OA to scientific peer reviewed publications and research data. In Horizon 2020 open access to peer-reviewed scientific publications (primarily articles) is mandatory; however, researchers can choose between the open access route most appropriate to them.

For open access publishing (gold open access), researchers can publish in open access journals, or in journals that sell subscriptions and also offer the possibility of making individual articles openly accessible (hybrid journals). In that case, publishers often charge an article processing charge (APC). These costs are eligible for reimbursement during the duration of the Horizon 2020 grant. For APCs incurred after the end of the grant agreement, a mechanism for reimbursing some of these costs is being piloted and implemented through the OpenAIRE project. Note that in case of gold open access publishing, a copy must also be deposited in an open access repository.

For self-archiving (green open access), researchers deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscript in a repository of their choice. In this case, they must ensure open access to the publication within six months of publication (12 months in case of the social sciences and humanities).

In the following, the first data on the uptake of open access to publications in Horizon 2020 is being analysed (see background information note) and the data sources used are provided for download:

• Data collected by OpenAIRE: OpenAIRE computes statistics based on data retrieved from a range of sources: OA repositories and journals (literature and data), CRIS systems, library databases and end-user feedbacks. Some data from CORDA is also included. They also employ a variety of deduplication, cleaning, and text-mining processes on the metadata, as well as on the actual content.

• Dataset from CORDA, obtained through the Commission Common Support Centre: this dataset contains the self-reporting from Horizon 2020 projects on open access to publications. Compared to the OpenAIRE dataset it contains additional information on the article processing charges (APCs) paid and the embargo periods applied to Horizon 2020 projects.

The results range from 60,8% (OpenAIRE sample) to 68,7% (CORDA sample) open access. Out of the CORDA sample of 5065 open access publications 78,7% are green open access and 21,3% are gold open access. An updated OpenAIRE sample shows a similar distribution.

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United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Czech Republic, Sweden, Slovakia, Lithuania, Ireland, Portugal, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Poland, Germany, France, Malta, Cyprus, Netherlands, Spain, Luxembourg, Austria, Finland, Romania, Greece, Slovenia
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