Open Access provides researchers, businesses and citizens with improved and free of charge online access to EU-funded research results, including scientific publications and research data.

Word-cloud with the terms open, access, horizon, research being the most visible

The objective of the open access policy is to optimise the impact of publicly-funded scientific research, both at European level through the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) and Horizon 2020 and at the member state level.

Facilitating access to results encourages the re-use of research outputs and supports Open Science. This is essential for Europe's ability to enhance its economic performance and improve the capacity to compete through knowledge. One way to get there is open access. Results of publicly-funded research can therefore be disseminated more broadly and faster, to the benefit of researchers, innovative industry and citizens. Open access can also boost the visibility of European research, and in particular offer small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access to the latest research results for future use.

The European Commission has taken a big step towards open science in Europe. 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. The open access policy is summarized in a factsheet.

For the details of how open access applies to beneficiaries in projects funded under Horizon 2020, please consult the Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Horizon 2020.

The Commission is implementing the policies outlined in the scientific information package. The policies are based on:

  • the Communication "Towards better access to scientific information: Boosting the benefits of public investments in research" (July 2012), which sets out open access policy objectives for the research funded by the Commission through the research programme Horizon 2020, and
  • the Recommendation to the Member States on access to and preservation of scientific information setting out a complete policy framework for improving access to, and preservation of, scientific information.

A reviewed version of the 2012 Recommendation has been adopted on 25 April 2018 to better reflect the current research practices and further support the development of Open Science in Europe.

These initiatives feed into the wider context of achieving a European Research Area.

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Published: 
9 January 2014
Last update: 
26 April 2018
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