Open Access Publishing @ UCB

Getting to Open

For decades, many scholars, researchers, funders, the taxpaying public, and others have desired that research be accessible online without paywall barriers in order to advance knowledge, promote progress, and maximize research impact and return on investment.

The Library is a key stakeholder in advancing all of these open access (OA) initiatives. As reflected in our Strategic Plan, we are committed to optimizing the accessibility and impact of scholarly resources, and promoting their discoverability.

Supporting open access publishing and OA initiatives is a critical vehicle for achieving these aims. We detail many of these OA efforts below.


Open Your Scholarship with eScholarship

The Academic Senate of the University of California adopted an Open Access Policy on July 24, 2013, ensuring that future research articles authored by faculty at all 10 campuses of UC will be made available to the public at no charge. On October 23, 2015, a Presidential Open Access Policy expanded open access rights and responsibilities to all other authors who write scholarly articles while employed at UC, including non-senate researchers, lecturers, post-doctoral scholars, administrative staff, librarians, and graduate students.

Pursuant to these policies, UC Berkeley faculty, staff, students (and departments!) can make a copy of their scholarship available in the UC's open access repository, called eScholarship. The UC system-wide Office of Scholarly Communications has a helpful guide on both the OA policies and how to make these deposits. 

To quickly get started, just follow their link for: Deposit your work, or see our page Deposit & Preserve for step-by-step guidance. 


Get Reimbursed for OA Publishing Fees with BRII

If your manuscript is accepted for publication by an open access journal, you may be asked to pay a fee for publication. Many OA publishers have implemented these article processing charges (APCs) to replace revenue the publishers would have generated via library subscriptions if access to the journals had been licensed by the library for campus readers.

Berkeley Research Impact Initiative (BRII) encourages the UC Berkeley community to take advantage of OA publishing opportunities by facilitating reimbursement of these APCs. 

How it works

BRII is a reimbursement program in which UC Berkeley researchers are reimbursed fees they paid for APCs, which many journal publishers impose on authors (and which can range from $750-$3500 or more). 

BRII began in 2008 by redirecting a small amount of Library collections funds to help authors cover these APCs for open access journals so that Berkeley authors could participate in the wider dissemination that OA publishing offers.

To read about eligibility and submit a form for reimbursement of your APC, check out our BRII guide. It will walk you through the easy appliation process.

Note that the BRII program reimburses for APCs when you publish in fully open access journals. This means that it's not a "hybrid" situation in which a publisher charges the library for a subscription, but then asks you for the APC on top of the fee we already if you want to publish open access. Unfortunately, BRII can't reimburse for publishing in hybrid OA journals because of the double payment situation that creates for the Library, paying once for the subscription, and again for your publication. 

BRII supports OA monographs

While many scholars in the humanities and social sciences publish in OA journals, they also publish scholarly books, termed “monographs”. These books become a critical component of professional credentialing, yet their readership is limited by the same kinds of access barriers endemic to subscription-based journals: The scholarly books are quite expensive, and increasingly fewer libraries can afford to purchase them. By expanding BRII to also cover the publishing fees for OA books, BRII can help Berkeley authors publish long-form scholarship that can be read by anyone at no cost.

At their core, most OA book funding models typically charge academic authors the equivalent of an APC. Yet, given the greater investment needed to create and edit longer and more complex manuscripts, the book processing charges (BPCs) can range upwards of $7000. To address this situation, in this first pilot year of funding BPCs, BRII will offer $7500 a piece in publishing fees for up to three OA scholarly books.


Check out our BRII guide. With questions about obtaining BRII funding, contact


Get a Discount on APCs

As noted above, BRII supports publishing in fully OA journals. There are also great reasons to publish OA even in a hybrid journal, and we want to help as much as we can.

To that end, the UC system has been able to negotiate discounts off of many APCs (for both hybrid and fully OA journals) through our membership and license agreements. For more information see our list of publisher discounts.


Get a Waiver for APCs

Some of our institutional memberships also provide for complete waivers of APCs. For instance, our membership with PeerJ includes a pre-paid deposit account from which PeerJ draws to cover your APC if you are a UC Berkeley author. Our list of such memberships is growing, and rest assured that we will keep this page updated!


We've Signed OA2020's Expression of Interest

OA2020 is one of several international movements aimed at establishing universal open access for scholarly journal literature. In March 2017, UC Berkeley, along with UC Davis and UCSF, signed the OA2020 Expression of Interest, agreeing to make a good faith effort to devise and implement practical strategies and actions for attaining wide scale open access.

For more on what we signed and why, please see our site In particular, you may find the FAQs quite useful. We’ve provided a brief summary of our work with OA2020 below.

What is OA2020?

In response to the need for reduced barriers in accessing and reusing knowledge, and the untenably rising costs of subscription journals, Max Planck Digital Library is coordinating OA2020 as an international effort to convert the existing corpus of scholarly journals from subscription-based (“paywall”) to open access. The OA2020 movement intends to accomplish this “flipping” by encouraging institutions to convert resources currently spent on journal subscriptions into funds that support sustainable OA business models. It does not prescribe a particular funding model for the flipping since that can vary by institution. Rather, OA2020 leaves it up to institutions to define for themselves how they will repurpose their funds.

To fulfill these aims, UC Berkeley Library is engaged in assessing opportunities for resource reallocation through communication with scholarly publishing stakeholders. Where able, we are actively converting and apportioning resources to work towards sustainable OA.

Why has UC Berkeley signed?

The costs of scholarly journal subscriptions have risen unsustainably over many decades, outstripping inflation even relative to higher education markets. As costs have risen, so has the portion of the global research community operating without full access to the scholarly record (including nearly all U.S. universities). Today, our scholarly communication system has both the money and the technology to see academic journals made available at no cost to the reader; OA2020 reflects the growing consensus that we should pursue this opportunity.

While significant gains have been made in the growth of open access publishing, the existing paywalled environment still dominates scholarly publishing. At this slow growth rate, it would take decades to reach a 100% OA environment. Meanwhile, many scholarly publishers continue to require authors to sign away their copyrights while making substantial profits in the range of 30%-40% from institutional subscriptions.

Expressing interest in OA2020 can accelerate the transition to OA. Regardless of which particular OA funding models an institution supports, the OA2020 goals can be realized by repurposing existing funds or infrastructure that previously had been allocated to purchase subscription journals.


Other Strategies & Memberships

Our efforts to support stustainable OA publishing means incorporating OA principles into our acquisitions and collections policies.

As noted above, we have set up memberships with publishers (e.g. PeerJ, MDPI, and Sage Journals) to offer APC discounts for UC Berkeley authors.

We also eagerly acquire, subscribe to, and catalog open access books, articles, and other media. Searching our Library catalog will yield thousands upon thousands of books and materials that are openly available--often based on our subscription to or participation in a number of open access endeavors, such as: 

The University of California also supports open access academic publishing and offers open eBooks online through:

  • UC Press E-Books Collection
    UC Press E-Books Collection, 1982-2004, includes almost 2,000 books from academic presses on a range of topics, including art, science, history, music, religion, and fiction. Access to the entire collection of electronic books is open to all University of California faculty, staff, and students, while more than 700 of the titles are available to the public.
  • Browse open access eBooks (monographs) published on the UC's eScholarship platform
    eScholarship, the UC system institutional repository, provides open access scholarly publishing services to the University of California and delivers a dynamic research platform to scholars worldwide. Following the link here pre-filters your search results to full books that are deposited open access in eScholarship.
  • Luminos
    Luminos is University of California Press’ new Open Access publishing program for eBooks (monographs).


Let Us Know

We are committed to and actively pursuing efforts to greatly expand the corpus of open access content in our collections, and welcome your feedback and suggestions. Please e-mail us at