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  • Writer's pictureStéphanie

Free and Full Guideline for Open Science paragraph in the Excellence section of Horizon Europe

In this post, you will learn how to unlock the full potential of research and innovation with open science in Horizon Europe - where knowledge knows no bounds and discoveries are available to all.

Open science is an approach to scientific research that emphasizes transparency, collaboration, and free dissemination of knowledge. In Horizon Europe, open science is a key principle that will guide the funding and conduct of research. Taking Open Access to the next level, Horizon Europe has moved from Open Access to Open Science. One of the main goals of open science in Horizon Europe is to make scientific research more accessible to a wider range of stakeholders, including researchers, policymakers, and the public in general.

This will be achieved through a variety of measures, such as the promotion of open access to research publications and data, the use of open-source software and tools, and the encouragement of international collaboration and interdisciplinary research. The implementation of open science in Horizon Europe will also involve the development of new infrastructure and tools to support the sharing and reuse of research data. This will include the creation of a European Open Science Cloud, and a network of data storage and processing resources. This will allow researchers to easily access, share, and analyze large amounts of data. Additionally, Horizon Europe will support the development of new standards and metrics for evaluating the quality and impact of scientific research, with a focus on transparency and reproducibility.

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Open Science practices

In Horizon Europe proposals, there are mandatory open science practices and recommended ones.

Mandatory Open Science practices

Open access

In Horizon Europe, open access refers to the principle that research funded by the European Union should be freely accessible to the public. This means that any articles, data, or other research outputs resulting from Horizon Europe funding should be made available for anyone to read, download, and use, without any financial, legal, or technical barriers. This is intended to promote greater transparency, collaboration, and innovation in the research community. The aim is also to ensure that the results of EU-funded research can be widely shared and used for the benefit of society.

First, in your proposal, you can provide an explanation of how you intend to meet the open access requirements, such as publishing your works and developments, making them accessible immediately, and storing the data in a trustworthy repository with a license that allows open access to the data. Details about your publishing sites can be provided. You can also elaborate on the trusted repository/repositories that will provide open access to publications and research data. Your proposal should address access to research data and other research outputs under the section titled "Research Data Management" or “Data Management Plan”. Research data should be open as a default unless there are legitimate reasons for keeping them closed.

Research data management – Data Management Plan (DMP)

For projects that generate or reuse data as part of Horizon Europe, DMP is mandatory. In that case, your proposal should reflect how generation and reuse of data and/or other research outputs (except for publications) will be managed. Nevertheless, there is no requirement for a full data management plan (DMP) at submission stage. In some cases, a description of the use of federated repositories of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) is required. You can also give some examples, in your proposal, about some of the data you are going to generate and how they will be reused, stored, curated, etc. The Funding and Tenders portal of the European Commission provides a template for a DMP (in reference documents) for the deliverable preparation in case of project success.

Reproducibility of research outputs

The aim here is to describe how to ensure reproducibility of results within the project. In the proposal, this should be first described in the methodology, for instance through transparent research design, how to address negative results, etc. Other best practices and resources to enhance reproducibility can also be described. For instance, you can provide information where publications and data have been deposited on any research output or any other tools and instruments - software, algorithms, protocols, models, workflows, electronic notebooks, and others - that can be used to validate and reuse the conclusions of scientific publications. You can also provide digital or physical access to data required for verifying the conclusions of scientific publications, while safeguarding their legitimate interests and constraints.

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Recommended Open Science practices

Early and open sharing

Research work, methods, outputs, such as data and software, and findings should be shared as early and openly as possible in research processes. This can be achieved through preregistration, registered reports, and pre-prints. Furthermore, early sharing practices go beyond improving reproducibility; they promote the researcher's right to control the findings and conclusions of the research that they conduct.

Citizen, civil society, and end-user engagement

The proposal should describe how citizen, civil society, and end-user engagement will be implemented, if relevant. This can take the form of different types of activities:

  • Co-design: workshops, focus groups or other means to develop R&I agendas, roadmaps and policies, discussing the implications, the ethics, the benefits, and the challenges related to R&I activities;

  • Co-creation: directly involve citizens, end-users in the development of knowledge or innovation, for instance through citizen science and user-led innovation;

  • Co-assessment: monitoring, evaluating, and providing feedback to the governance of a project, projects’ policies, or programs on an iterative or continuous basis.

Depending on the scope of the proposal, engagement could range from one-off activities to being the primary focus or methodological approach. A dedicated interlocutor rganization or a staff member with relevant expertise is often used to conduct engagements, since this requires both resources and expertise.

Open peer review

In all cases, open peer review should be preferred over traditional peer review (‘blind’ or ‘closed’). In such a case, specify the publishing sites and journals you plan to use, and highlight those that would qualify as providing open peer review.

Open Science in your Horizon Europe proposal

In Horizon Europe proposals, open science is evaluated under the “Excellence” part, in the methodology description, as well as in the “Quality and efficiency of implementation” part.

Proposers should explain how open science practices (mandatory and recommended, depending on the nature of their work) are integrated into the methodology under the 'excellence' part of your proposal. By adjusting your implementation to the nature of your work, you can increase the chances of your project to achieve the aimed goals. The proposal should include justifications for not taking open science practices into consideration if this is the case. As mentioned before, a proposal that generates or reuses data should outline in one (additional) page its Data Management Plan.

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As part of the "capacity of participants and the consortium as a whole" section, participants should describe how the consortium combines disciplinary and interdisciplinary expertise. Project proposals should demonstrate the partners’ knowledge and expertise in open science practices and/or a track record in open science practices relevant to the project.

· When writing a proposal for Horizon Europe, it is important to demonstrate how your project aligns with the principles of open science. Here are a few tips for writing the open science paragraph in your proposal: Clearly articulate the open science practices that will be adopted in your project. For example, you can mention that you will make your research data and publications openly available, use open-source software and tools, and encourage collaboration and interdisciplinary research.

  • Explain how open science practices will benefit your project and the broader scientific community. For example, you can mention that open data and publications will allow others to verify your findings and build on your work, or that open collaboration will lead to more efficient and effective research.

  • Describe any specific measures you will take to ensure compliance with open science principles. For example, you can mention that you will deposit your data in a trusted repository or use a specific open access publishing platform.

  • Mention any specific open science infrastructure or support that you will need, such as access to the European Open Science Cloud or funding for open access publication fees.

  • Show how your project will contribute to the development and implementation of open science.

  • Highlight the impact of open science for the society and the economic benefits, for example, how open access to scientific data and publications can support innovation and economic growth.

By following these tips, you can effectively communicate how your project aligns with the principles of open science and demonstrate its potential impact on the scientific community and society.

In conclusion, open science in Horizon Europe is a game-changer for research and innovation. By breaking down barriers to access and encouraging collaboration, open science is fostering a more dynamic and inclusive research community. The results of EU-funded research are now more widely available and can be used to drive progress and improve lives. By embracing open science principles, we can ensure that the research community is working towards the common goal of advancing knowledge and benefitting the whole society. So, let's open the doors of discovery and unlock the full potential of research and innovation with open science in Horizon Europe.

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