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Published March 21, 2023 | Version Version 1.0
Report Open

Study on the readiness of research data and literature repositories to facilitate compliance with the Open Science Horizon Europe MGA requirements


This report and associated repository inventory represent the output of a study conducted between March and October 2022 by a group of independent experts and commissioned by the European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA). In this study we assess and analyse the readiness of research data and literature repositories to facilitate compliance with the Open Science requirements in the Horizon Europe Model Grant Agreement (HE MGA) (European Commission, 2022a). This study also takes current repository choice practices of ERC-funded researchers into account.

This study aims to:

  • create a better general understanding of the availability and nature of repositories in different fields of research, for both literature and research data;
  • identify trusted repositories across different fields of research, and highlight those that are most widely used by ERC-funded researchers;
  • assess to what degree the identified trusted repositories facilitate compliance with the HE MGA requirements related to Open Science, in particular with regard to the metadata of deposited research outputs;
  • enable the ERC Scientific Council to provide well-founded guidance to ERC grantees as to which repositories will allow them to fulfil the Open Science related obligations of their HE grant agreement.

In this study we analysed 220 repositories and, via a structured methodology, we identified 165 trusted repositories and tested their readiness to facilitate the compliance with the HE MGA Open Science requirements.

We show that it is not straightforward to assess whether a given repository is suitable to facilitate compliance with the HE MGA requirements. This is mainly due to varying interpretations of definitions and requirements, whether information on repository specifications is publicly available, and the high level of technical expertise needed to assess all requirements.

We highlight that repository registries, such as FAIRsharing, re3data or the CoreTrustSeal (CTS) website, are not sufficient on their own to assess the readiness of repositories to facilitate compliance with the HE MGA requirements, as the definition of what constitutes a trusted repository is subtle and varied and needs to be carefully interpreted and applied to repositories. This is also the case for related concepts such as community endorsement or for policy requirements in terms of preservation, curation and security of the repository contents.

We found that current certification is not always in line with funder requirements as many repositories that hold a certification do not meet all the essential characteristics criteria for trusted repositories set out in the HE Annotated Model Grant Agreement.

Only three repositories identified as trusted in this study also fulfil all the mandatory requirements for metadata, whereas none meet all the mandatory and recommended metadata requirements as they are set out in the HE MGA.

Two of such trusted repositories have international coverage. One of them is for books and the other one is of a ‘catch all’ type.

Repositories are defined as catch-all when they can host digital content independently of their nature (data, literature, etc.).

This study has given us the opportunity to deeply analyse a set of repositories, their technical characteristics, policy framework and usage information. From our work, we can see that data repositories, as opposed to literature repositories, appear to be more ready to facilitate the compliance of the grantees with the HE AGA definition.


This study was funded by Horizon Europe under the ERC Work Programme 2022.


ANNEX 2 - Survey.pdf

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