Brief History

The history of OA is a combination of small advances after the launching of several parallel initiatives who brought up the needed benefits of the practice of OA, the technological advancements that greatly improved the possibility for sharing and accessibility, and the financial investment in infrastructures that allow the implementation of OA.

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Several efforts have been taken towards the implementation of Open Access in Europe. One of the major promotion driving forces to make Open Access in Europe a reality is the European Commission who has been gradually incorporating OA practices in its policies and regulations:

2006 – “Scientific Publication – Policy on open access” European Research Advisory Board (EURAB)

2007 – “FP7 Model Grant Agreement" (Part C; Section I – II.30 Dissemination). Each beneficiary was expected to ensure the dissemination of foreground as swiftly as possible. The dissemination of results produced in FP7 funded projects was promoted but was not yet mandatory.

2012 – “Recommendation on access to and preservation of scientific information [COM(2012) 4890],” stating that “open access to publications and data from publicly funded research should be promoted and access to publications made the general principle for projects funded by the EU research Framework Programmes”. Two reports on the implementation of Commission Recommendation COM(2012) 4890 were followed (2016’s version and 2018’s version).

2013 – “Rules for participation and dissemination in H2020 [ Regulation (EU) No 1290/2013]” considered to cover the costs related to scientific publications and data resulting from their funded research, to promote and assure the practice of OA: “Costs relating to open access to scientific publications that result from research funded under Horizon 2020, incurred within the duration of an action, shall be eligible for reimbursement under the conditions of the grant agreement. (…)”.

2014 – “ H2020 General Model Grant Agreement“ (the law binding contract between the EC and H2020 project Coordinators) includes Article 29 - Dissemination of results — Open Access — Visibility of EU Funding, establishing the obligation to disseminate results (when there is no plan for later exploitation of results), to provide open access to scientific publications and related research data (each beneficiary must ensure open access, free of charge, online access for any user, to all peer-reviewed scientific publications relating to its results) within six months of publication, at the latest (or twelve months for publications in the social sciences and humanities).

2016 – First version of “Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Horizon 2020”. This document has received several updates ever since.

2016 - The 3 O’s policy: Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World – a vision for Europe

2018 - Implementation Roadmap for the European Open Science Cloud. The EOSC is being implemented by H2020 funded projects: EOSCPilot, EOSC-Hub, OpenAIRE-Advance, Freya, eInfraCentral, RDA Europe 4.0, GEANT, HNSciCloud and there is more H2020 funding reserved throughout 2020 for more actions related to the architecture, FAIR data, Services, Governance and rules of participation of the EOSC.

2018 – the European Commission “Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL establishing Horizon Europe – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, laying down its rules for participation and dissemination [COM(2018) 435]”, suggest an Open Access policy that goes beyond the one in H2020, requiring open access to publications and data (with robust opt-outs for the latter), and to research data management plans (Art. 10º and 35º). The Programme will foster the widespread use of FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and re-usable) data; and activities that enhance researchers’ skills in open science and support reward systems that promote open science.




The benefits of the practice of OA are several and its impacts reach a vast group of the society:


  • Increases readers’ ability to find use relevant literature
  • Increases the visibility, readership and impact of author’s works
  • Creates new avenues for discovery in digital environment
  • Enhances interdisciplinary research
  • Accelerates the pace of research, discovery and Innovation
  • Encourages collaboration and avoids duplication of effort (bringuing a greater efficiency)
  • Improves the monitoring, evaluation and management of their scientific activity
  • Increases the visibility of institutions through the visibility of their publications
  • Demonstrates the Organization’s willingness to comply with OA mandates
  • Contributes to core mission of advancing knowledge
  • Democratizes access across all institutions – regardless of size or budget
  • Provides previously unattainable access to community colleges, two-year colleges, K-12 and other schools
  • Provides access to crucial STEM materials
  • Increases competitiveness of academic institutions
  • Students
  • Enriches the quality of their education
  • Ensures access to all that students need to know, rather what they (or their school) can afford
  • Contributes to a better-educated workforce
  • Leverages return on research investment
  • Creates tool to manage research portfolio
  • Avoids funding duplicative research
  • Creates transparency
  • Encourages greater interaction with results of funded research
  • Access to cutting-edge research and encourages Innovation, promoting faster market developments.
  • Stimulates new ideas, new services, new products
  • Creates new opportunities for job creation
  • Provides access to previously unavailable materials relating to health, energy, environment, and other areas of broad interest
  • Creates better educated populace
  • Encourages support of scientific enterprise and engagement in citizen science




Do you want to practice Open Access?​



The type of open access, the specific repositories, the timing and the procedures to practice open access should be established in OA mandates, that can be adopted by a research institution, a research funder or a government.

There are 2 main routes to provide OA:

  1. Self-archiving / “green” open access – the author, or a representative, archives (deposits) the published article or the final peer-reviewed manuscript in an online institutional or subject specific repository before, at the same time as, or after publication. In this case, they must ensure open access to the publication (the embargo period) within six months of publication (12 months for social sciences and humanities). An alternative to national and institutional repositories is ZENODO (the EU’s open repository). In this model, the copyright is retained by the publisher.
  2. Open access publishing / “gold” open access - an article is immediately published in open access mode and accessible to all readers, in OA or hybrid journals (subscription based journal with a paid open access option). The payment of publication costs is shifted away from subscribing readers. The most common business model is based on one-off payments by authors. These costs, often referred to as Article Processing Charges (APCs) are usually borne by the researcher's university or research institute or the agency funding the research. In other cases, the costs of open access publishing are covered by subsidies or other funding models. In this model, the copyright is held by the author.


Open Access Publishing models, depending on the conditions to cover the APCs


The decision on the OA model should be supported by preliminary information on OA Repository Mandates and policies as well as copyright policies followed by different publishers. This information could be found in different platforms:

  • ROARMAP - Registry of Open Access Repository Mandates and Policies. ROARMAP is a searchable international registry charting the growth of open access mandates and policies adopted by universities, research institutions and research funders. Such policies request or require that researchers provide open access to their peer-reviewed research article by depositing it in an open access repository.
  • SHERPA/JULIET - listing research funders’ open access policies. JULIET is a searchable database that provides quick summaries of funding agencies´ grant conditions regarding self-archiving of research publications and data. It also provides statistics on open access journals and policies.
  • SHERPA/ROMEO - RoMEO provides a searchable database of publishers´ copyright and self-archiving policies for preprints and postprints. It is aimed at users already familiar with open access and shows which publishers comply with funding agencies´ conditions on open access.


How to make your research Open Access? 


(source: Fossilsandshit)


... and there is always the option to use ZENODO – the EU open access repository.



Find the available resources on Open Access

Find the available resources on Open Access