Guidelines in Horizon 2020

Since the Work Programme 2016 - 2017, all thematic areas of Horizon 2020 participate in the Open Research Data Pilot by default. The criteria include the stipulation that the data follow the FAIR principles and, if based on a project publication, be published as open data.

The pilot project follows the principle of 'as open as possible, as closed as necessary.'

Guidelines on FAIR Data Management in Horizon 2020

European Commission, page 4

It is possible to opt out of the pilot project at any time if you cite specific reasons. In general, participation in the Open Research Data Pilot is automatic, with the exception of the following instruments:

  • prizes
  • ERC Proof of Concept
  • ERA-NET Cofund (if no research data is created)
  • KMU Instrument - Phase 1

Whether the project or proposal you submitted participates in the Open Research Data Pilot, or whether you opted out of the pilot from the very beginning, neither decision affects the evaluation of your submission. Since participation in the Open Research Data Pilot is not an assessment criterion, it is not expected that your proposal include a data management plan. However, good research data management has an impact on the quality of research projects. Therefore, we recommend that you address the following points in your submission and provide a brief description in your application:

  •  guidelines and standards
  •  data utilisation and accessibility   
  •  data maintenance and data protection 
  •  resource and budget planning for data management 

There are several options for an opt-out of the Open Research Data Pilot:

  1. a partial opt-out for individual data sets, if reasons are cited in the data management plan (all other commitments remain in effect)
  2. a complete opt-out, if made known in the application (does not affect the evaluation)
  3. a complete opt-out, if made known during contract preparation
  4. a complete opt-out during project implementation (via a contract change)


In the event of a complete opt-out, Article 29.3 of the grant agreement is no longer applicable for the entire project. Therefore, there is no obligation to draw up a data management plan or to publish research data.


The following are accepted reasons for an opt-out:

  • incompatibility with the privacy of results
  • confidentiality/security reasons
  • data protection
  • incompatibility with the main objective of the project
  • no data is created or collected in the project
  • other legitimate reasons

According to Article 29.3 of the grant agreement, the following rules apply:

  • Research data which supports a scientific publication must be made available according to open access principles on a mandatory basis.
  • The publication of further research data is permitted on a voluntary basis.
  • Each project must create a data management plan which collects all research data generated by the project and describes how it will be handled.
  • Third parties must be entitled to reuse the data as openly as possible (automated analysis, utilization, reproduction and dissemination).
  • Information about the instruments necessary to use the data (e.g. software), or, if possible, the instruments themselves, must be provided.
  • All other obligations of the grant agreement (data protection, confidentiality, etc.) are valid if a project participates in the Open Research Data Pilot.

Within the first six months of the project period, approved projects must file a first version of a data management plan (DMP). The DMP should be updated with all regular evaluations of the project.

Funding bodies compensate the costs associated with data management. See the respective funding applications for information regarding eligibility for cost compensation., opens an external URL in a new window

The following documents can provide you with detailed information:

Source: In reference to, opens an external URL in a new window, visited on 17 March 2019