Economics and equity in the development of Open Research Europe




open access, not-for-profit publishing, Open Research Europe


Open Research Europe (ORE) is the open access peer-reviewed publishing platform offered by the European Commission as an optional service to Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe beneficiaries at no cost to them. The platform enables researchers to publish open access without paying out of their research budgets and while complying with their open access obligations. This paper identifies potential financing and governance model(s) that would operationalize ORE as a collective publishing enterprise, supported by research funders and possibly research organizations, as of 2026. The aim of this study is to develop a sustainable, scalable funding model that is not based on article publication charges (APCs). To this end, the main business and financing models for not-for-profit publishing services were reviewed, based on a series of case studies and interviews with seven leading not-for-profit service providers. The paper outlines possible business model(s) for the financing of the operations of the Open Research Europe platform in the future and sets out actionable recommendations for implementing such a business model, appropriate to the scope and scale of the endeavour. It assesses how to incorporate equity into the design of Open Research Europe; and how to make Open Research Europe sustainable in the long run.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biography

Rob Johnson, Research Consulting

Rob Johnson is the founder and director of Research Consulting, a mission-driven business which works to improve the effectiveness and impact of research and scholarly communication.  Rob began his career as a consultant with KPMG, the international professional services firm, and spent four years as Head of Research Operations at the University of Nottingham, UK.  Since founding Research Consulting in 2013, he has led more than 100 projects in the field of scholarly communication, serving universities, funders, publishers, vendors and software suppliers. 

Rob is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, a trainer for the European Association of Research Managers and Administrators, and has served as an independent reviewer and evaluator for the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe programmes. He was the lead author of the STM Report (2018), a comprehensive overview of the scientific and scholarly publishing industry. Over the last decade he has advised a wide range of universities, governmental and intergovernmental bodies on the transition to open access and open data.


Brembs, Björn, Philippe Huneman, Felix Schönbrodt, Gustav Nilsonne, Toma Susi, Renke Siems, Pandelis Perakakis, Varvara Trachana, Lai Ma, and Sara Rodriguez-Cuadrado. ‘Replacing Academic Journals’, 24 September 2021.

Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (European Commission). ‘The New European Research Area’. LU: Publications Office of the European Union, 2021.

Fecher, Benedikt, Rebecca Kahn, Nataliia Sokolovska, Teresa Völker, and Philip Nebe. ‘Making a Research Infrastructure: Conditions and Strategies to Transform a Service into an Infrastructure’. Science and Public Policy 48, no. 4 (1 August 2021): 499–507.

Goudarzi, Saman, Katrina Pugh, Vanessa Rhinesmith, Heather Staines, and Kaitlin Thaney. ‘Designing a Preparedness Model for the Future of Open Scholarship’. Zenodo, 1 August 2021.

Hart, Patrick, Janneke Adema, and COPIM. ‘Towards Better Practices for the Community Governance of Open Infrastructures’. Zenodo, 10 May 2022.

Johnson, R. (2020). Operationalising Open Research Europe as a collective publishing enterprise. European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, LU.

Sondervan, Jeroen, Jean Francois Lutz, and Bianca Kramer. ‘Alternative Publishing Platforms’. Alternative Publishing Platforms, 21 April 2022.




How to Cite

Johnson, R. (2022). Economics and equity in the development of Open Research Europe. Septentrio Conference Series, (1).