General Research at Risk

Horizon 2020 projects and the Open Research Data Pilot

Caroline Ingram, research data management subject specialist at Jisc, talks about the Horizon 2020’s Open Research Data Pilot.

All European Commission (EC) Horizon 2020 funded projects must deposit their peer-reviewed publications to ensure Open Access. A subset of the funded projects are also required to take part in an Open Research Data Pilot, or can opt into it.

Currently, research projects in nine defined Horizon 2020 areas are automatically part of the Open Research Data Pilot.

For Horizon 2020 projects that are part of the Open Research Data Pilot, the Principal Investigator must:

  • Develop a data management plan in the first 6 months of the project and keep it up-to-date throughout their project;
  • Deposit their research data in a suitable research data repository;
  • Make sure third parties can freely access, mine, exploit, reproduce and disseminate their data;
  • Make clear what tools will be needed to use the raw data to validate research results, or provide the tools themselves.

The focus of the pilot is on encouraging good data management as an essential research tool: “as open as possible and as closed as necessary”. So although opting out of the pilot is possible, a data management plan still needs to be produced including an explanation of the reason. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Issues around commercial or industrial exploitation
  • Confidentiality connected to security
  • Incompatibility with rules protecting personal data

Projects that will not generate or collect research data are also exempted, as are those for which sharing data would jeopardise the outcome of the project. It is also accepted that where regenerating the data at a later date would be cheaper than archiving it then it is not worth the effort to deposit it in a repository.

The data in the pilot applies to:

  • All research data, including metadata, needed to validate the results in a peer-reviewed publication;
  • Other curated or raw data, and its associated metadata, specified in the DMP even if it did not result in a publication;
  • The documentation, software, hardware or tools required to enable reuse of the data.

Data may be numerical, descriptive, visual or tactile, though digital data is the main focus; it can be raw, cleaned or processed and in any format and on any storage media. The definition of data management for the purposes of the pilot is broad, and should be seen as good research practice, aiming to enable replication of a study, as a minimum requirement, but to aspire to sharing and reuse of data for other purposes.


The OpenAIRE infrastructure offers support for research institutions (librarians, repository managers, research managers, project coordinators and researchers) and funders on the European Commission’s Open Access policies (Horizon 2020 and FP7), the Horizon 2020 Open Research Data pilot and the FP7 Post-Grant Open Access pilot. The National Open Access Desks (NOADs), present in every EU country and beyond, can also offer guidance on the scope of the Open Research Data Pilot in Horizon 2020 and in data management planning. OpenAIRE has also produced a factsheet on the Open Research Data Pilot, which links to the EC Guidelines on Data Management in Horizon 2020 and to the DMPOnline tool from DCC, which is the recommended tool for the development of project data management plans.


Caroline IngramAbout the author: Caroline Ingram is responsible for advising and guiding research support offices about research data management processes. She works closely with Jisc colleagues in delivering Jisc enabled products and services related to research data management.