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European Commission awards contract for setting up an open access publishing platform

The European Commission has awarded a contract for the setting up of an open access publishing platform for scientific articles as a free service for Horizon 2020 beneficiaries. The launch of the EU open access initiative is planned for early 2021.

The platform will be a peer-reviewed publishing service to support Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe beneficiaries to publish their research in open access free of charge (i.e. without article fees), if they so wish, during their project or after it has ended. The platform will support beneficiaries to meet the open access requirements of Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme, and of its successor Horizon Europe. It will also support open access publishing as the main mode for publication of research in the years to come.

The platform will have a Scientific Advisory Board to steer the publishing of research of the highest quality. It will manage the entire publication process, from submission to publication, comprising open peer-review, post-publication curation and preservation.

Original articles of various types in any discipline stemming from Horizon 2020- and Horizon Europe-funded research will be eligible for publication on the platform, which will offer an open and transparent peer-review process. The platform will be accepting submissions for articles funded by Horizon 2020 as of autumn 2020. Its official launch is planned for early 2021.

The contract for the tender has been awarded to F1000 Research Ltd, an innovative company providing publishing and related services to researchers, institutions and funders.

Of the award win, Rebecca Lawrence, Managing Director of F1000 Research Ltd said:

“We are delighted to be working with the EC to enable Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe-funded beneficiaries to publish all of their research findings in an open and accessible way.

“The leadership shown by the EC in its desire to establish an open research publishing platform is crucial in shifting the research culture across Europe to an open research paradigm. We know from our established publishing partnerships the pivotal role that funding agencies play in changing and influencing researcher behaviours, particularly around the adoption of new routes for the sharing and publication of their research. This platform will offer Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe beneficiaries with an immediate and transparent way to share their findings, thus maximising contact with multiple audiences, sparking new ideas and understanding, and ensuring new interventions and treatments reach those that need them most as soon as possible.”

A wide range of article types are eligible for publication on the platform and in any discipline stemming from Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe-funded research. The platform will also offer an open and transparent peer review process and have a mandatory FAIR data policy to provide full and easy access to the source data underlying the results.

Kostas Glinos, Head of Unit ‘Open Science’, European Commission, Directorate General Research & Innovation said:

“We are looking forward to developing a high-quality publication venue together with F1000 Research. The European Commission fully supports open access and open science. By developing this platform, we provide more high-quality options to our beneficiaries to comply with the Horizon 2020 open access requirements at no cost to them during and after the end of their grants. Together we can strengthen research integrity, transparency and citizen trust in science through the publishing process.”



European Commission



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. In the context of R&D, open access to 'scientific information' refers to two main categories:

  • Peer-reviewed scientific publications (primarily research articles published in academic journals)

  • Scientific research data: data underlying publications and/or other data (such as curated but unpublished datasets or raw data)

It is now widely recognised that making research results more accessible to all societal actors contributes to better and more efficient science, and to innovation in the public and private sectors The Commission therefore supports open access at the European level (in its framework programmes), at the Member States level and internationally.

Open Access in Horizon 2020

  • Peer-reviewed scientific publications

All projects receiving Horizon 2020 funding are required to make sure that any peer-reviewed journal article they publish is openly accessible, free of charge (article 29.2. Model Grant Agreement).

  • Research data

The Commission is running a pilot on open access to research data in Horizon 2020: the Open Research Data (ORD) pilot. This pilot takes into account the need to balance openness with the protection of scientific information, commercialisation and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), privacy concerns, and security, as well as questions of data management and preservation. The pilot applies to research data underlying publications but beneficiaries can also voluntarily make other datasets open. Participating projects are required to develop a Data Management Plan, in which they will specify what data will be open. In previous work programmes, the ORD Pilot was limited to some specific areas of Horizon 2020. Starting with the 2017 work programme, however, the ORD pilot was extended to cover all thematic areas of Horizon 2020, thus realising the Commission's ambition of "open research data per default" (but allowing for opt-outs).

Find out more on open access to scientific publications and research data at the EU and the Member States level.