European Research Council


The European Research Council (ERC) strongly encourages all ERC funded researchers to make their publications freely available through open access. The ERC Scientific Council has issued (non-binding) "Open Access Guidelines for researchers funded by the ERC", which are regularly updated to take into account new developments.

ERC Frontier Research Grants resulting from calls under the 2012 and 2013 Work Programmes of the 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7) will normally contain Special Clause 39 ERC (see Article 7 of the Grant Agreement). This Special Clause obliges beneficiaries to make their best efforts to provide open access to publications resulting from the research funded under the grant.

For ERC Frontier Research and Proof of Concept Grants funded under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation it is mandatory to provide open access to peer-reviewed scientific publications relating to results (Article 29.2 of the Grant Agreement). 

Authors can comply with the ERC Open Access Guidelines and / or the open access requirements of their Grant Agreements (where applicable) either by choosing gold open access, or by selecting green open access by which they self- archive their manuscript and provide open access within the maximum acceptable embargo period as specified in the Open Access Guidelines / the Grant Agreement.

Help and Support

Gold open access

Gold open access
ERC funded authors can publish their article open access in an Elsevier Open Access Journal or in a journal which supports open access publishing (hybrid). Upon publication, Elsevier will:

  • Enable authors to identify themselves as being funded by the ERC via Elsevier's funding body form.
  • Provide the option to publish with a CC BY user license, if they wish.
  • Add the CrossMark® identifier and links back to the authoritative version of record on ScienceDirect.
  • Provide immediate and permanent free access to the final published article on ScienceDirect.
  • Upon final publication, and only if the author so wishes, immediately send to Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC) the final published journal article (PJA) as it appears on ScienceDirect. PMC and PMC mirror sites will also link directly to this same article on Elsevier's websites. This will be most relevant to publications in the life sciences domain but could also be of interest to authors from other domains, if their publication is of relevance to the life sciences.

To choose the gold open access option a publication fee is payable by the author or institution. These fees are eligible under the ERC grant if incurred during the duration of the project. Elsevier's fees range from 500 – 5000 US Dollars per publication. Visit the individual journal homepages for specific open access pricing information.

Licenses  for Gold Open Access
Authors funded by the ERC are not obliged to use a specific license. However, for gold and hybrid open access publishing ERC funded authors may want to select the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license.

Elsevier authors have a choice of user licenses when publishing open access in either an Open Access Journal or via Elsevier's Open Access Article option. The selection of user licenses available to authors is journal specific and details can be found in the journal's guide for authors.

Green open access

Green open access

For ERC funded authors who wish to self-archive their manuscript to comply with the ERC Open Access Guidelines and / or the open access provisions in their Grant Agreement (where applicable), the following steps apply:

  • Authors need to keep a copy of their manuscript, which may include any author-incorporated changes suggested through the peer review process (also called an accepted author manuscript AAM). If required, Elsevier can provide a copy of this version. 
  • Post this version on their institutional or subject specific repository and provide open access to that version after a journal-specific embargo period has expired. The ERC Scientific Council recommends Europe PubMed Central for publications in the life sciences domain and arXiv for publications in the physical and engineering sciences. If there is no institutional and no appropriate subject specific repository available, researchers should deposit their publications in a centralized repository such as Zenodo.
  • Authors should add a link back to the final version of the article hosted on ScienceDirect.
  • Authors should ensure a CC-BY-NC-ND license appears on the manuscript.
  • To choose this option there are no fees for either the author or institution.

Embargo Periods for Green Open Access
For ERC funded authors to be compliant with the open access requirements of their Grant Agreements (where applicable), open access has to be provided through the chosen repository with a maximum acceptable embargo period of 6-12 months after the date of publication (see below for details). Elsevier has journal specific embargo periods which will typically be 12-24 months, although in some cases longer or shorter. 

Immediate deposit in a repository in all cases
For ERC Frontier Research Grants funded under FP7 for which the Grant Agreement contains Special Clause 39 ERC it is mandatory to deposit – immediately upon publication – either the final published journal article (PJA) or the author accepted manuscript (AAM) in an institutional, subject specific or centralised repository. In the case of gold open access, authors can choose to have the PJA deposited to Europe PMC directly by Elsevier, as described above, or they may choose to deposit the PJA themselves in a repository of their choice for immediate open access.  In the case of green open access, AAMs can be posted to a repository immediately for internal uses, but then not made externally available until after the expiration of a journal specific embargo period. Internal uses are listed here

The same applies to ERC Frontier Research and Proof of Concept Grants funded under Horizon 2020.

For ERC Frontier Research Grants from the early calls under FP7 where the Grant Agreement does not contain Special Clause 39 ERC deposition is not mandatory but strongly encouraged.In case of gold open access the version to be used is the published journal article (PJA) with the CrossMark® identifier. In case of green open access the accepted author manuscripts (AAM) must be used. Posted AAMs must include a link back to the original and final published articles on ScienceDirect. See Elsevier's posting policy for specific details and restrictions on posting to open websites.


ERC maximum acceptable embargo periods for authors with specific grant types

  • 6 months for all research areas if the grant is funded under FP7 and the Grant Agreement contains Special Clause 39 ERC;
  • 6 months for all publications in the life sciences and the physical and engineering sciences domains if the grant is funded under Horizon 2020.
    • Only Elsevier Lancet titles have six month embargo periods and are currently the only Elsevier journals which are compliant with these conditions.
  • 12 months for publications in the social sciences and humanities if the grant is funded under Horizon 2020.

The (non-binding) ERC Open Access Guidelines also propose embargo periods of at most 6 months (12 months in the social sciences and humanities). ERC funded researchers whose Grant Agreement does not contain a formal obligation to provide open access to their publications are not obliged but strongly encouraged to comply with those Guidelines.

See list of Elsevier embargo periods