In March 2005, a group of Berkeley faculty and administrators participated in a conference on the broad theme of the crisis in scholarly communication. Discussions focused on how to make best use of the present publishing environment and create opportunities for the future. A statement of principles on scholarly publishing emerged from the conference centered on four thematic areas:
- Encouraging faculty control of copyright.
- Rethinking aspects of the tenure process to reflect new publishing trends.
- Fostering alternative, open access publishing modes.
- Providing support for the libraries.¹
The University strives both to maximize the benefits of Berkeley's research for the scholarly community and to advance knowledge in ways that improve the quality of life in local and global communities. The Berkeley Research Impact Initiative (BRII) seeks to support these two goals in a manner consistent with the principles on scholarly communication articulated at the 2005 faculty conference by fostering broad public access to the work of UCB scholars. BRII is co-sponsored by the Vice Chancellor for Research and the University Librarian.
The BRII recognizes the growth of open access (OA) publishing and its success in increasing the impact of research findings. BRII encourages Berkeley scholars to consider open access and related initiatives as a means of enhancing the visibility of their peer-reviewed publications. Among the recommendations resulting from the Conference on Scholarly Publishing: "If Berkeley faculty are to take advantage of new … means of publication, the campus can help by providing departments and individuals with startup funds to encourage the development and use of such outlets." BRII improves access to UCB research by providing authors and publishers with funds to cover open access fees and and other publication costs related to open access. Due to restricted funds, any given author or Berkeley journal publisher is limited to $4500 in BRII funds each calendar year. Berkeley book publishers are limited to $3000 per title with a limit of $6000 per calendar year.
Fees covered by BRII include publication charges for open access publications such as PLoS and BioMed Central. Open access or paid access fees are frequently discounted based on a UCB Library membership or subscription. A list of qualifying publishers can be found at Selective List of Open Access Fees.
The character of the scholarly communications environment is highly pluralistic, most publishing is dominated now by a small number of commercial publishers, a smaller segment of not-for-profit society and university publishers, and an increasing number of open publishing options (open access journals, institutional repositories of author post- and pre-prints, author websites, etc).³ It is anticipated that BRII will be only one of many initiatives undertaken to respond to these changes. As we proceed, the Vice Chancellor for Research and the University Library (with the advice of the Committee on the Library and Scholarly Communication of the Academic Senate) should not be taken to endorse publication of the kind envisaged in BRII ahead of other kinds of publication or to suggest that publication of the kind envisaged in BRII should be privileged or preferred for the purposes of academic evaluation; these are judgments to be made in the appropriate way when scholars decide on the parameters of publication of their work and when their work is evaluated in the merit and promotion process.
- Authors: Any UCB faculty, post-doc, or currently enrolled graduate student ready to submit a completed article for publication.
- Publishers: UC Berkeley-based Center, Organized Research Unit or Department publishing an open access book or journal on the eScholarship platform.
Criteria: Publications must be made freely available at the time of initial publication. No embargo periods.
Publications: Any open access publication, or hybrid journal offering a paid access option.
Application Process: Requests for funding may be made before or immediately upon acceptance or publication. We request that authors or publishers with sufficient funding from grants or contracts not apply for BRII funds. Authors and publishers with more than one publication may apply for funds more than once but should submit separate applications. Application information and materials are available at the BRII website.
Funding: The Library will work with applicants to see that reimbursement is properly made. BRII improves access to UCB research by providing funds to help cover costs associated with open access. Due to restricted funds, there is a limit of $4500 (for authors and journal publishers) and $6000 (for book publishers) in BRII funds each year. For a list of OA publishers, see the Selective List of Open Access Fees. This list is annotated with important information about discounts available to Berkeley authors.
¹ These principles and a set of six recommendations flowing from the Conference are available in an executive summary.
² Laura Brown, Rebecca Griffiths, Matthew Roscoff, University Publishing in a Digital Age, July 26, 2007, pp. 8-9.