Planning publications in a Horizon 2020 proposal


While preparing materials for our own training courses on impact, exploitation and dissemination activities under H2020, I came to re-read a classic guideline for researchers to understand the publishing process: “How to publish in scholarly journals”, by Elsevier.


This short guidebook gives quite useful information, tips and resources to early career researchers approaching the publishing world, and I thought in this blogpost I would try and discuss the main aspects described in those guidelines under a Horizon 2020 lens.


Once you agree with your partners on the outcomes deriving from your project, you can start thinking of which new findings may be worth becoming the content of new publications. While it can be pretty hard to estimate in advance exactly the types of results you are going to achieve, adding a realistic plan for publications to your section 2.2 can give a great added value to your proposal, especially if you’re submitting a Research and Innovation Action.


Where to start?


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For each new knowledge item, you or your partners plan to write an article about, try to estimate the following:


1. The type of publication that can best fit your results.


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*Text from “Understanding the publishing process. How to publish in scholarly journals”, by Elsevier


2. Examples of appropriate journals you are going to submit to

Based on the type of article you have decided to publish, look at the relevant literature in your field and then carefully read the aims and scope of each potential journal on their homepage. Other useful elements can be the journal’s metrics (e.g. international outlook, audience, impact metrics, etc.), and open access options.


3. Open Access option

It is worth mentioning that H2020 does not force you to publish your results. For specific cases, e.g. if you are planning to protect a project result with a patent, or there are ethical/security issues associated with it, you are allowed to keep the results confidential; just make sure you include a proper explanation of the rationale behind this choice. However, if you decide to publish the results, then you are required to provide open access. This may take two possible forms:


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*Table from “Understanding the publishing process. How to publish in scholarly journals”, by Elsevier


Both options are acceptable for Horizon 2020 projects (and you may choose different options for different publications in the same H2020 project), but remember to budget the necessary resources in case you plan to opt for Gold Open Access, which you can find on the journal’s homepage. Also bear in mind that, according to the H2020 General Model Grant Agreement, the author processing costs may be eligible only if they are incurred within the duration of the project.


4. Copyright issues

An additional detail concerns the discussion on the article’s author is going to retain its copyright, while granting appropriate licenses to the publisher. This might be relevant especially whenever you are going to use trademarks or other protected IP in the article, a frequent case for Innovation Actions for example. In such cases, you may want to briefly discuss the planned license agreement, as well as the potential type of user license, which determines the rights granted to readers. As a minimum in H2020, readers must be able to read online, download and print your article from online repositories such as OpenAIRE; you are then encouraged to provide additional rights, such as to copy, distribute, search, link, crawl and mine. Check this Creative Commons tool to choose the most appropriate user license for your article.


5. Estimated timeline

Based on your proposal Gantt chart and on the selected journal’s publication timeline, you may provide a realistic estimation of the publication timeline to evaluators. This is a useful exercise also for you, as you can double check if gold open access fees can in fact be charged to the project.


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*Text from “Understanding the publishing process. How to publish in scholarly journals”, by Elsevier


6. Promotional plan for the publications

Whether you manage to have the published article before or after the end of the project, it can be a good idea to include in your proposal measures to promote it to the interested audiences. In case the publication timeline ends after the project’s lifetime, of course you should be realistic and include only cost-efficient measures, such as promotion on social media, on your personal website, or through networking activities. For publications ready before the end of the project, on the other hand, why not linking their promotion to specific conferences/events you are planning to organise or to attend as part of your dissemination activities?


7. Monitoring and evaluation

As you do with other dissemination and communication activities, you can easily include measures for monitoring the impact of your articles, such as the number of views on your articles, or if you use social networks such as ResearchGate or Mendeley, you can obtain further statistics such as the geographic locations and research disciplines of your readers.


To recap all this into a ready-to-use template for your next H2020 proposal, find here below a potential table describing your plan for publications, with a fictitious example.


I hope this article was useful for you; to suggest more tools or ideas to include this section, or share specific issues and problems you have encountered, please do not hesitate to e-mail us or tweet us including the hashtag #askEuropaMedia!

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