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Open Access Publishing

Modern research builds on extensive scientific dialogue and advances by improving earlier work. Broader access to scientific publications therefore helps to build on previous research results, encourage collaboration and avoid duplication of effort, speed up innovation and involve citizens and society. This is why the European Union aims at optimal circulation, access to and transfer of scientific knowledge within the European Research Area. For this purpose, the European Commission (EC) has established open access to scientific publications as general principle for all beneficiaries of the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation – Horizon 2020.

Open access to scientific publications means free online access for any user. FCFP fellows are strongly encouraged to ensure open access to all peer-reviewed scientific publications relating to their project results whenever possible. To meet this requirement, researchers within the FCFP are requested, at the very least, to ensure that any scientific peer-reviewed publications can be read online, downloaded and printed.

The dominant type of scientific publication is the journal article. However, FCFP fellows are also encouraged to provide open access to other types of scientific publications including monographs, books and conference proceedings.

In this context, open access requirements do not imply an obligation to publish results. The decision to publish is entirely up to the researcher. Open access becomes an issue only if publication is chosen as a means of dissemination. Moreover, open access does not affect the decision to exploit research results commercially, e.g. through patenting. The decision on whether to publish through open access must come after the more general decision on whether to publish directly or to first seek protection. For more information, see the European IPR Helpdesk factsheet "Publishing vs. patenting".


The open access mandate comprises two steps

Step 1 - Depositing publications in repositories

FCFP fellows are requested to deposit a machine-readable electronic copy of the published version or final peer-reviewed manuscript accepted for publication in “FreiDok plus”, the official repository for scientific publications at the University of Freiburg (

Please note that under the terms of Horizon 2020 neither social networking sites for researchers such as or nor personal webpages are considered as eligible repositories for scientific publications.

The deposition must be done as soon as possible and at the latest upon publication. This step applies even where open access publishing ('gold' open access) is chosen to ensure that the article is preserved in the long term. The latest time to deposit a publication is the date of publication.

Researchers are requested to also provide open access, through the repository, to the bibliographic metadata that identify the deposited publication. These include the following:

  • the terms "Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions" and “Horizon 2020”;
  • the project name “FRIAS COFUND Fellowship Programme for Junior and Senior Researchers - Phase 2”, acronym “FCFP” and grant number “754340”;
  • the publication date and length of embargo period;
  • a persistent identifier (automatically issued by the repository).


Step 2 - Providing open access to publications - the 2 main routes to open access are:

After depositing publications in the repository, FCFP fellows must ensure open access to those publications. Researchers can choose one of two main ways to meet this requirement:

1. Self-archiving / 'green' OA:

FCFP fellows must ensure open access to the publication in the repository within at most 6 months (12 months for publications in the social sciences and humanities). Some publishers request that open access may be granted only after an embargo period has elapsed. To provide support concerning compliance with Horizon 2020 embargo periods the European Commission offers a model amendment to publishing agreements, which are often signed between authors and publishers.

2. Open access publishing / 'gold' OA:

Researchers can also publish in open access journals, or in hybrid journals that both sell subscriptions and offer the option of making individual articles openly accessible. Monographs can also be published either on a purely open access basis or using a hybrid business model. 'Article processing charges' are eligible for reimbursement during the duration of the project. As stated, the article must also be made accessible through a repository upon publication. Researchers must also provide open access, through the repository, to the bibliographic metadata that identify the deposited publication.

The European Commission does not support fee-based open access publishing after the end of the project. However, researchers can apply for reimbursing publication fees via the open access publication fund at the University of Freiburg (, co-founded by the university’s central library and the German Research Foundation (DFG).


About the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

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