Open Research Europe, free open access publishing for projects funded by the European Commission

On her visit to the PRBB, we interview Alicia Estacio Gomez, Content Acquisition Editor at Open Research Europe, about how this ‘free, open and fast publishing platform’ works.

Open Research Europe aims to benefit researchers, research and society. Image edited from European Union, reuse authorised under CC-BY-4.0.

From 2021, European researchers have a new ally in the path to Open Science. The European Comission opened up a platform to publish scientific articles coming from the research it funds (both from the Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe frameworks). The platform, called Open Research Europe, is free to publish and free to read (open access), and aims for fast and transparent publication.

Alicia Estacio Gomez, Content Acquisition Editor at Open Research Europe, came to the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB) on February 22nd to explain this platform to the researchers at the park. Here’s what we learned from talking to her.

Alicia Estacio Gomez, Content Acquisition Editor at Open Research Europe, in her visit to the PRBB.

What is Open Research Europe: is it a journal? Is it a repository?

It’s a publishing platform. It works as a journal, in the way that it publishes articles and it does peer review. It is not a repository, so if you publish your article in Open Research Europe you cannot publish it anywhere else.

What is its aim and who runs it?

It was created by the EC in March 2021 to help the researchers it funds to publish in Open Access in a quick and free way, helping them comply with the open access policy of the EU. Basically to put its hand where it puts its mouth, so to speak.

Open Research Europe is currently managed by F1000, who have operated several other platforms using the same model for many years. Their flagship platform, F1000 Research has been running successfully now for 10 years but F1000 has also worked with other funder platforms on their own platforms for a number of years, such as the Wellcome Open Research with the Wellcome Trust, and Gates Open Research with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The original contract runs out in 2024, but a new tender was released by the European Commission at the end of 2022 to continue the platform until at least 2026. Meanwhile, discussions are ongoing with Science Europe and national funders to gauge interest in joining the platform from 2026 to further expand the eligibility criteria and grow the platform further.

How does the publication system work?

When a manuscript is sent to us, it goes first though a pre-publication control, where a team of about 10 people check:

  1. that at least one of the authors has funding from the EU
  2. that there is no plagiarism (including self-plagiarism, that is, it has not been published anywhere else)
  3. that all data is in an open repository and all methods are clearly explained, since our aim is for the research we publish to be completely transparent and increase reproducibility
  4. that it has the right ethical approvals
  5. that the English is good enough to be understandable