Funder Policies

Belgium recognized in an early stage the importance of Open Access. Many Belgian research organisations subscribed to the Berlin Declaration on Open Access in 2007, at a conference organised by DRIVER. This ambition was affirmed by the Brussels Declaration on Open Access, signed in 2012 by the Belgian, Flemish and French Community ministers of research at a conference organised by OpenAIRE. The declaration makes Open Access the default in circulating the results of Belgian academic and scientific research. An Open Access provision has been adopted in the Belgian law in Sep. 2018. This law gives authors the right to make scholarly publications available in open access if the publication is a result of research funded by public funds for at least 50%, with a maximum embargo period of  6 months for STEM and 12 months for SSH. The ‘Open Access Decree’ of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation consolidates the deposit policy of the Universities, stipulating that all scientific articles subsidized by public funds must be deposited in an institutional directory.

Federal funder BELSPO
Open Access

In consultation with the Belgian federated entities and research organizations, BELSPO recognizes the full liberty for researchers to publish in the venue of their choice. BELSPO does nevertheless require :

1. Depositing publications in Green Open Access institutional or thematic repositories on Immediate Deposit – Optional Access basis and recommends:

2. Publishing in free of charge Diamond Open Access Journals/platforms run by public organizations.

3. Publishing in commercial Gold Open Access Journals with transparent pricing policies and fair prices for genuine added value.

Open Research Data

The BELSPO Open Research Data policy complies with FAIR principles and its conception is to be considered fully within the EOSC framework.

BELSPO expects a provisional DMP upon submission of the grant application, and a completed DMP no later than 6 months after the start date of the project. After the end of the proejct data should be deposited in a certified and trusted data repository. The BELSPO follows the FAIR research data management principles in the template of their DMP. Furthermore it encourage re-use of research data where possible.

Flemish funder FWO
Open Access

According to the general regulation of the Research Foundation-Flanders (FWO), it is mandatory to make publications resulting from FWO funded research publicly available in a repository after maximum 1 year. Open Access through Open Access journals is optional, for which the FWO funded researchers can make use of the consumables or bench fees that are part of their funding. The main host institutions, i.e. the Flemish universities, have repositories in place to facilitate this measure.

Open Research Data

FWO demands that researchers ensure that all data relating to their research are stored securely and sustainably, taking into account the specific characteristics of the discipline and the nature of the research. To stimulate exchange of good practices and expertise a working group on research data management has been established within the Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR).

Wallonia-Brussels Federation funder F.R.S.-FNRS
Open Access

The F.R.S.-FNRS has issued a regulation on the implementation of the policy of Open Access to scientific publications resulting from research programmes supported by the F.R.S.-FNRS and Associated Funds, which is in force since 2013. They mandate depositing in an open access repository. There is a limit set to 750€/article to claim the costs of open access publishing but doesn’t apply to hybrid open-access journals.

International Funder Policies

European Union funder – European Commission

Open Access

Open Access is be mandatory for all research publications that result from H2020 or Horizon Europe-funded projects.

Beneficiaries will be asked to

1. Deposit a machine-readable electronic copy of the published version or final peer-reviewed manuscript accepted for publication in a repository for scientific publications and 2. Ensure open access as follows:

  • For open access publishing, researchers can publish in open access journals, or in journals that sell subscriptions and also offer the possibility of making individual articles openly accessible (hybrid journals). Where the case, the Author Processing Charges (APCs) incurred by beneficiaries are eligible for reimbursement during the duration of the action for fully Open Access journals. In Horizon Europe, pen access must be granted at the latest on publication.
  • For self-archiving, researchers can deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscript in a repository of their choice. In this case, they must ensure open access to the publication or within the limits specified above. In Horizon 2020 an embargo is still allowed, in the new framework programme, Horizon Europe, embargo’s are no longer permitted.

Read more about how to comply with Open Access to publications in Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe.

Open Research Data

A novelty in Horizon 2020 was the Open Research Data Pilot which aims to improve and maximize access to and re-use of research data generated by projects. It will be monitored with a view to developing the European Commission policy on open research data in future Framework Programmes. The EC embraces the so-called ‘FAIR data principles’: research data should be findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable. The EC has issued  implementation guidelines which includes a Data Management plan Template.

Read more on how to comply with the Open Research Data pilot in Horizon 2020 and Research data management in Horizon Europe.

European Union funder – ERC

The ERC endorses the the principle of open access to the published output of research as a fundamental part of its mission.

Beneficiaries will be asked to

  1. Deposit an electronic copy of any research article, monograph or other research publication that is supported in whole, or in part, by ERC in a suitable repository immediately upon publication. Open access should be provided as soon as possible, the latest within 6 months of publication for STEM, or 12 for publications in SSH.
  2. ERC strongly encourages funded researchers to use discipline-specific repositories for their publications. If there is no appropriate discipline specific repository, researchers should make their publications available in institutional repositories or in centralized ones, such as Zenodo.
  3. ERC funded researchers that open access fees are eligible costs that can be charged against ERC grants, provided they have been incurred during the duration of the project

Open Research Data

The European Research Council also supports the basic principle of Open Access to research data. The ERC Executive Agency has issued implementation guidelines and a Data Management Plan template. The ERC embraces the so-called ‘FAIR data principles’: research data should be findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable

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