Open Access Publishing: A Study of UC Berkeley Faculty Views and Practices

Abstract:  This project focused on open access (OA) publishing, which enhances researcher productivity and impact by increasing dissemination of, and access to, research. The study looked at the relationship between faculty’s attitudes toward OA and their OA publishing practices, including the roles of funding availability and discipline. The project team compared University of California Berkeley (Berkeley) faculty’s answers to questions related to OA from the 2018 Ithaka Faculty Survey with the faculty’s scholarly output in the Scopus database. Faculty Survey data showed that 71% of Berkeley faculty, compared to 64% of faculty nationwide, support a transition to OA publishing. However, when selecting a journal to publish in, faculty indicated that a journal having no cost to publish in was more important than having no cost to read. After joining faculty’s survey responses and their publication output, the data sample included 4,413 articles published by 479 Berkeley faculty from 2016 to 2019. With considerable disciplinary differences, the OA publication output for this sample, using data from Unpaywall, represented 72% of the total publication output. The study focused on Gold OA articles, which usually require authors to pay Article Processing Charges (APCs) and which accounted for 18% of the publications. Overall, the study found a positive correlation between publishing Gold OA and the faculty’s support for OA (no cost to read). In contrast, the correlation between publishing Gold OA and the faculty’s concern about publishing cost was weak. Publishing costs concerned faculty in all subject areas, whether or not their articles reported research funding. Thus, Berkeley Library’s efforts to pursue transformative publishing agreements and prioritize funding for a program subsidizing publishing fees seem like effective strategies to increase OA. 

Library Impact Research Report: Open Access Publishing: A Study of UC Berkeley Faculty Views and Practices – Association of Research Libraries

Overall, the UC Berkeley study found a positive correlation between publishing gold OA and the faculty’s support for OA (no cost to read). In contrast, the correlation between publishing gold OA and the faculty’s concern about publishing cost was weak. Publishing costs concerned faculty in all subject areas, whether or not their articles reported research funding. Therefore, UC Berkeley Library’s efforts to pursue transformative publishing agreements and prioritize funding for a program subsidizing publishing fees seem like effective strategies to increase OA.

Project LEND – UC Libraries

“In January 2023, the University of California libraries launched a landmark research project – Project LEND (Library Expansion of Networked Delivery) – to investigate the potential for expanded lawful use of digitized books held by academic and research libraries. The project seeks to analyze all aspects of a digital access program — including user needs, legal frameworks, technical requirements, and collection scope — in designing an expanded service or set of services for UC faculty, staff, and students.”

UC Libraries-research-expanding-use-digitized-books | UC Davis

“The University of California libraries — which comprise the largest university research library in the world — are launching a landmark research project to investigate the potential for expanded lawful use of digitized books held by academic and research libraries.

The Mellon Foundation is providing $1.1 million support for Project LEND (Library Expansion of Networked Delivery), a two-year project that the UC Davis Library will lead on behalf of the 10-campus UC system….

The project’s broad investigation aims to extend and strengthen the historical role of academic libraries in making information as broadly accessible as possible for use in research and education. Project teams will:

use focus groups and other methods to understand the needs of UC faculty and students for a range of research, education and clinical care scenarios
evaluate the legal frameworks under which libraries could provide expanded access to digitized books, including those still in copyright
review and analyze existing technology platforms and systems for sharing and interacting with digital books, and explore the possibilities for creating new systems and services
determine the optimal composition of a digital book collection to meet user needs; what digitized collections are currently available or where more digitization efforts may be required; and how best to manage both print and digitized collections.”

 

Guest Post – Charleston 2022 — Finding Paths to Open Access Book Publishing – The Scholarly Kitchen

“In 2015, my former boss and current Scholarly Kitchen Chef/PLOS CEO Alison Mudditt led a team at the University of California Press who launched our Luminos open access monograph publishing program. The program survives to this day largely unchanged. Briefly, the program starts with the assumption the baseline cost of publishing a monograph is roughly $15,000. In order to recover those costs, Luminos uses a cost-sharing model that involves direct contributions from the author’s institution, money from a library membership fund, direct subsidy from the Press, and sales of print copies of the book. The elevator pitch for the program was (and is) that these funds combined allow for the global digital distribution of an openly licensed edition of the monograph. When it was launched, the Luminos program was one of the very few initiatives that was really trying to tackle the whole issue of open access books. Since then, many others have now waded into the fray, including the TOME project, which was launched in 2017, and Luminos is far from the only initiative that allows for open access book publication.

At dinner one night in Charleston, another publisher leaned over to me and asked bluntly, “Is Luminos working?” My answer at the time was, yes. But this question forced me to reflect a bit more carefully about the economics of Luminos and of OA monograph publishing more generally and what the library’s role in facilitating open access for books can really be. Answering the question about Luminos’s success depends a lot on what the measures of success are and how publishers, particularly university presses, deal with the difficult problem of the relationship between the costs of open access and the revenue derived from sales, largely to individuals, of their lengthy backlist of previously published books. Looking at Luminos strictly as a financial proposition, I think the results are a mixed bag. However, looking at Luminos as a way to create a pathway to immediate, unembargoed open access for the monographs published in the program that enhances these books’ impact and usage, I think it’s hard not to argue that it has been a success.

A chief challenge of the business of open access book publishing for university presses, however, has been the tremendously high costs of publishing a book. These are well documented in the 2016 Ithaka S+R study on the costs of publishing monographs, which is still in my opinion a highly valid and very important study, although not everyone agrees with the conclusions. The $15,000 figure that Luminos has used since its launch in 2015 is on the very very low end of the spectrum that is documented in that report, and is likely not realistic. But while not dismissing the cost side of the equation, I think what a lot of folks are beginning to consider is the revenue side, which is how university presses actually recover their costs of operation since most of us receive a small amount of direct institutional support at best….”

National Archives at Riverside Collaborates With California Universities to Digitize Chinese Heritage Records | National Archives

“More than 2,200 Chinese Exclusion Act case files held by the National Archives at Riverside are now available online in the National Archives Catalog, thanks to a collaboration with the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California .

The project began in 2018 after a fortuitous meeting at a local American Archives Month event. Shortly thereafter, professors and students from California State University, San Bernardino, and the University of California at Riverside joined the team.  …”

University Librarian and Vice Provost of Digital Scholarship MacKenzie Smith to Retire in June 2023 – UC Davis Library

“MacKenzie has led our library during a period of transformative change in how scholars create, access and share research,” said Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Croughan. “She has made substantial contributions to the campus’s research enterprise at every level, from data science and informatics to the establishment of an undergraduate library research prize. MacKenzie has also elevated our library’s leadership role, within UC and far beyond, in advancing free and open access to research. We will miss her leadership and collaboration, but wish her all the best in her retirement.”

University Librarian and Vice Provost of Digital Scholarship MacKenzie Smith to Retire in June 2023 – UC Davis Library

“MacKenzie has led our library during a period of transformative change in how scholars create, access and share research,” said Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Croughan. “She has made substantial contributions to the campus’s research enterprise at every level, from data science and informatics to the establishment of an undergraduate library research prize. MacKenzie has also elevated our library’s leadership role, within UC and far beyond, in advancing free and open access to research. We will miss her leadership and collaboration, but wish her all the best in her retirement.”

Cell Press and The Lancet titles now included in UC-Elsevier open access publishing agreement

Beginning September 1, 2022, UC corresponding authors publishing in Elsevier’s prestigious Cell Press and The Lancet journals will be able to publish their articles as open access with financial support from the UC libraries. Cell Press publishes 50 scientific journals in the life, physical, earth, and health sciences. The Lancet is one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious medical journals.

Pathways to Open Access: Library Publishing/Repository Services and CDL – Office of Scholarly Communication

“The Pathways blog series highlights CDL’s efforts on various pathways to open access and illustrates how diverse approaches can complement and reinforce each other–and how they can raise productive tensions that push us to think more critically about the work we do. We believe this kind of approach can move us toward true and comprehensive transformation of the scholarly communications landscape….”

Pathways to Open Access: Library Publishing/Repository Services and CDL – Office of Scholarly Communication

“The Pathways blog series highlights CDL’s efforts on various pathways to open access and illustrates how diverse approaches can complement and reinforce each other–and how they can raise productive tensions that push us to think more critically about the work we do. We believe this kind of approach can move us toward true and comprehensive transformation of the scholarly communications landscape….”

UC Berkeley Library and Internet Archive co-directing project to help text data mining researchers navigate cross-border legal and ethical issues – UC Berkeley Library Update

“We are excited to announce that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded nearly $50,000 to UC Berkeley Library and Internet Archive to study legal and ethical issues in cross-border text data mining. The funding was made possible through NEH’s Digital Humanities Advancement Grant program. …”

Open-Access Publishing Expands at U. of California

“In another victory for the open-access movement, the University of California system and Springer Nature have signed an agreement that will allow scholars in the UC system to make their work in Nature titles available free.

The idea that published research should be free to read has gained steam over the past two decades. Many academics say the trend helps democratize access to the latest scholarship, both for researchers and for interested parties outside academe. But figuring out how to pay for that access remains a challenge, as the latest negotiations in the UC system demonstrate.

The agreement, which begins on August 1 and runs through 2024, is an extension of a deal the two signed in 2020. Since then, authors in the UC system have tripled their number of open-access articles in journals operated by Springer Nature, one of the umbrella companies that control much of the academic-publishing world. The new deal expands the open-access provision to the prestigious Nature titles, a goal both parties set in their initial agreement. It’s also the first agreement to include open access for Nature journals in the United States….”

Nature portfolio now included in UC-Springer Nature open access agreement – Office of Scholarly Communication

“Beginning August 1, 2022, UC corresponding authors publishing in the Nature portfolio of journals will be able to publish their articles as open access with financial support from the UC libraries. The agreement applies to a broad range of Nature hybrid and fully open access journals, including Nature, the Nature research journals, Nature Communications and Scientific Reports.

Under the agreement, the UC libraries will pay the first $1,000 of the article processing charges (“APCs”) for articles by UC corresponding authors that are accepted for publication in hybrid and open access Nature journals covered by the agreement. The remainder due on each APC will be covered by the authors themselves, utilizing research funds available to them. Authors without research funds to pay the remainder of the APC may publish their articles on a subscription basis. …”

IEEE and University of California Sign Transformative Open Access Publishing Agreement – Office of Scholarly Communication

IEEE and the University of California today announce a four-year read-and-publish agreement to enable researchers across the 10-campus university system to publish open access in the technical professional organization’s approximately 200 leading journals and magazines. IEEE is among the largest publishers of UC research.