Horizon 2020 Open Research Data Pilot

In December 2013 the European Commission announced their commitment to open data through the Open Research Data Pilot (ORD Pilot) for selected Horizon 2020 projects. The pilot aims to "improve and maximise access to and re-use of research data generated by projects for the benefit of society and the economy".

From January 2017 the ORD Pilot is extended to cover all projects. Open access to research data thereby becomes applicable by default in Horizon 2020.


A summary of the main ORD Pilot requirements for:

Data management plans

"A DMP is required for all projects participating in the extended ORD pilot, unless they opt out of the ORD pilot. However, projects that opt out are still encouraged to submit a DMP on a voluntary basis."

Proposals submitted to Horizon 2020 will need to include a short, general outline of their policy for research data management. This will be assessed under the criterion 'Impact'.

Three versions of the data management plan (DMP) are expected. An initial version of the DMP is expected within the first six months of the project. The Commission expects the DMP to be updated whenever significant changes arise, and as a minimum, an updated version of the DMP is to be delivered by the mid-term and final review.

The Commission provides guidance on the issues that should be addressed and a DMP template.

Help with costs

"Costs associated with open access to research data, can be claimed as eligible costs of any Horizon 2020 Grant". In addition, specific technical and professional support services will be provided.

Data deposit and retention

Research data "needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications" must be deposited in a research data repository as soon as possible; "other data, including associated metadata, as specified and within the deadlines laid down in the 'data management plan'". The Commission supports the data repository Zenodo.

Alongside the data, information about the tools and instruments necessary for validating the results should be provided or the tools themselves should be provided.

Data must, as far as possible, be accessible for third parties to access, mine, exploit, reproduce and disseminate free of charge.

Data access and sharing

"Participating in the ORD Pilot does not necessarily mean opening up all your research data. Rather, the ORD pilot follows the principle "as open as possible, as closed as necessary" and focuses on encouraging sound data management as an essential part of research best practice."

Obligations to protect results, confidentiality, security, and personal data still apply. If certain datasets cannot be shared openly, reasons for restricting access must be provided in the data management plan.

Data access statements

The Horizon 2020 guidelines do not require authors to include data access statements in publications. However, the Open Access guidelines do and recommend that authors provide links between publications and underlying data. The Commission suggests open access repository records or using persistent identifiers and data citations in publications to achieve this. Further information is available from the Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe (OpenAIRE).

See our guidance on Data access statements.

Policy last checked: January 2017

Further sources of help

Write data management plans for the European Commission using DMPonline

DMPonline, a web-based tool provided by the Digital Curation Centre (DCC), can help you create effective DMPs that meet the requirements set by the European Commission.

To get started, first create an account, then sign in with your institutional credentials. After signing in, click on ‘Create a plan’ and select ‘European Commission (Horizon 2020)’ when asked for your funder. For additional guidance in completing your DMP, choose to see guidance from the University of York and from the DCC in the template provided.