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Open Access means unrestricted access to scientific information via the internet. The objective of Open Access is to make scientific literature and data easily and quickly accessible for users, as well as to provide this information free of charge. It also should prevent duplication of research efforts and enhance opportunities for multi-disciplinary research, as well as inter-institutional and inter-sectorial collaborations. A world-wide active debate on the economics and reliability of various ways of providing open access among stakeholders started in the 1990s and is still continuing. In Horizon 2020, Open Access is supported as a tool to facilitate and improve the circulation of information in the European Research Area. It has therefore been anchored as an underlying principle in the Horizon 2020 Regulation and the Rules of Participation.
Open Access distinguishes between “Green Open Access”, which means authors provide open access by self-archiving their journal articles in an open access repository; and “Gold Open Access”, which means publishing in an open-access journal.