On the alignment of academic publishers’ embargos with H2020 requirements

Antonio Vetrò, Alma Swan
April 2016

UPDATE August 2016: the paper is currently unavailable because it is under a third party review. We will update soon here the revised version


We wanted to understand how the publishing behaviour of EU researchers might be affected by the H2020 policy requirement to ensure Open Access to all articles from EU-funded projects within 6 months for science and engineering projects and 12 months for humanities and social science studies. Many publishers impose an embargo on ‘Green’ Open Access, where researchers deposit their articles in repositories, and these embargoes can be longer than the maximum permitted by the H2020 policy. The issue was whether researchers may have to alter their publishing behaviour or can they continue to publish in journals of their choice and still comply with the H2020 requirements. The following research questions were posed:
1) What is the level of compliance of current publishers’ embargo policies with the H2020 requirements?
2) How many journals are compliant with the H2020 requirements?
The overall findings were that 90% of publishers used by EU researchers to publish their work and 94% of articles published by EU researchers are compatible with the H2020 Open Access policy requirements. Our conclusion is that only in a small minority of cases – 5-10% – would EU researchers’ normal publishing behaviour run contrary to H2020 rules.