Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, May 15, 2008

More on university OA journal funds

Berkeley steps forward with bold initiative to pay authors’ open-access charges, SPARC enews, May 2008.  Excerpt:

This article is the first in a series SPARC will offer to highlight change on our member campuses....

It’s one thing to say you support open-access publishing. It’s another to provide authors with a pot of money to actually pay for it.

That’s what’s happening at the University of California Berkeley. In January, the university launched the Berkeley Research Impact Initiative, a pilot program co-sponsored by the University Librarian and the Vice Chancellor for Research to cover publication charges for open-access journals.

Faculty, post-doc and graduate students can apply for up to $3,000 to cover the cost of publishing an article in an open-access publication. The fund also gives up to $1,500 for the cost of so-called hybrid publications’ paid access fees, where information is freely available but the journal limits the right to redistribute. The pilot program will last 18 months or until the initial $125,000 fund runs out. The hope – and challenge – is to find a permanent funding source.

“As a library community, if we really wanted to change behavior of faculty about where they published, we needed to put our money where our mouth was – not only talking about open access, but help them do it,” says Beth Weil, a champion of the initiative and head of the bioscience and natural resources library at Berkeley. In talking with faculty, she became aware of a wide disparity in funding and saw a need to provide financial assistance to pay for open-access fees....

Weil adds that the goal of the initiative is two-fold: To make Berkeley research free and have a greater impact. Secondly, to change the behavior of faculty to embrace Open Access and start to write it the fees into their grant processes.

[Tom Leonard, university librarian at Berkeley and professor in the graduate school of journalism] underscores that the traditional way of sharing research is no longer sufficient. And, if you are a scholar, it is a natural feature of human nature to want to let everyone know about your discoveries. “Nobody is trying to hide their light under a bushel,” he says. The push for Open Access is to encourage new avenues of disseminating information quickly and broadly to advance knowledge....

Two other U.S. universities have also established funds to pay for open-access research

The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill has an annual commitment of $10,000 and funds maximum awards of $1,000 per article. (To read more about its Open Access Authors’ Fund established in 2005, click here)  At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, $50,000 in seed money from the library’s gift fund is available to help authors pay for open-access journal fees. (For information about its program through the Office of Scholarly Communication and Publishing, click here). Overseas, the University of Nottingham and the University of Amsterdam provide funds for open-access publication....