EU funding: Open Research Data for ERC grants - H2020

What is the Open Research Data Pilot?

The European Commission has been encouraging open access to and reuse of digital research data through the Open Research Data Pilot (ORD Pilot), following FAIR data principles:
All research data should be Findable, Accessible,  Interoperable  and  Reusable  (FAIR). The ERC has adopted this approach for their projects.

Under the pilot, open access should be provided to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications.
Other data can also be covered when specified in the data management plan.

The conditions you have to adhere to, are:

  • Develop (and keep up-to-date) a Data Management Plan (DMP).
  • Deposit your data in a research data repository.
  • Make sure third parties can freely access, mine, exploit, reproduce and disseminate it.
  • Provide related information and explain the tools needed to use the raw data to validate research results (or provide the tools themselves).

The pilot applies to:

  • The data (and metadata) needed to validate results in scientific publications.
  • Other curated and/or raw data (and metadata) that you specify in the DMP.

Costs relating to open access to research data will be eligible during the duration of the project under the conditions defined in the grant agreement. 

Is your project part of the Open Research Data Pilot?

For  ERC  Work  Programme  2016  projects or earlier, Article  29.3  will  be  only included in the Grant Agreement if the beneficiary has opted-in to the ORD Pilot. Check your grant agreement to see if your project takes part.
Starting from ERC Work Programme 2017 projects, Article 29.3 will be included in the Grant Agreement as the default. There is still the possibility to opt-out at any stage in the project.

How to comply?

Step 1: set up a DMP

After the project has started, beneficiaries have to formulate a Data Management Plan(DMP) which needs to be submitted by month 6. It should be updated as the project evolves. The ERC has provided a template to create a DMP. You can also find the template in the online tool: Sign in, create a plan and select 'European Research Council' under funder organization. You can tick the box for extra guidance from DCC (Digital Curation Centre). You can find more information on writing a DMP in the tip "How do I write a Data Management Plan?".
Step 2: Find a research data repository

A data repository is a digital archive collecting, archiving and displaying datasets and their metadata. Find a data repository that matches your data needs and discipline. An overview of repositories can be found at Re3data or If there is no subject-specific data repository available, catch-all repositories such as Zenodo; Open Science Framework (login via UGent possible); EUDAT’s B2Share or figshare provide a good alternative.

Step 3: Deposit your data

Deposit the data and the information necessary to access the data: metadata and possibly tools/instruments to access data, in the data repository. Attach an open licence, such as a creative commons license, to the datasets that can be made openly available.

(Partially) Opting-out

Each proposal will need to consider taking part, but it remains a flexible pilot in which projects can opt-out of at any stage: during the application phase, during the grant agreement preparation phase or after the signature of the grant agreement.

Moreover, it is for projects to define which data the pilot covers for their specific context. A project could take part in the pilot and choose to make only a subset of the data available, or they could plan to make certain data available initially but change the decision mid-project, for example if they discover there's a commerical application and plan to file for a patent. The pilot is incredibly flexible to enable projects to decide which data to make openly available and when. The key principle to bear in mind is to be "as open as possible, as closed as necessary." If you plan to keep some datasets closed, you need to justify these decisions in your Data Management Plan.

More information

Check the ERC's webpage on Open Access and Data and the Guidelines on Implementation of Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data.

You can find the template provided by the ERC for writing a DMP here: ERC Data Management Plan template

The university library provides guidance on data management and feedback for your ERC DMP. For questions or feedback, send us an email.


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Last modified Oct. 30, 2023, 11:29 a.m.