UC Berkeley Joins Open-Access Compact for Scholarly Research

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Correction Appended

In an effort to share more academic research with the public, UC Berkeley and four other top universities announced a joint compact for open-access publishing this week.

The Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity, made on Monday among UC Berkeley, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, would allow anyone to obtain scholarly articles from any research field for free.

Through this agreement, officials from the five universities said they hope to shift away from a system in which rising journal prices and budget cuts have made it difficult for some institutions to access academic work.

"Our objective is to promote and support the movement of open-access to academic research," said John Saylor, Cornell's associate university librarian for scholarly resources and special collections.

In January 2008, UC Berkeley launched its own pilot open-access program called the Berkeley Research Impact Initiative, developed through the collaboration of the campus's university librarian and vice chancellor for research. After receiving positive feedback during its 18 month trial, the initiative was extended for another year and will now be part of the compact.

In its pilot program, the initiative allocated $100,000 to fund faculty work, $72,173 of which was used during the trial period. The initiative has set aside an additional $60,000 for next year, said Chuck Eckman, UC Berkeley associate university librarian and director of collections.

The initiative inspired Stuart Shieber, Harvard professor of computer science and director of the university's office for scholarly communication, to start conversations about the compact. He visited UC Berkeley in March to learn about the initiative and talk about his idea, Eckman said.

Dartmouth College Provost Barry Scherr said the universities also hope to present opportunities for publication in other venues. He said each university is looking to help their faculty and graduate students publish work and has allocated some amount of money to fund it.

Faculty and graduate students must apply to and meet the criteria of their respective campus to receive funding to publish their articles. Once accepted, they go through the standard peer-review process.

"(It's) the most important part of journal quality," Saylor said.

He added that the funds provided by the universities may support research for those who do not have access to other funds, providing a basic level of support to academic research in all fields.


Correction: Wednesday, September 23, 2009
A previous version of this article stated that Harvard University professor Stuart Shieber visited UC Berkeley in February. In fact, he visited in March. The article also incorrectly referred to Dartmouth College as Dartmouth University.

The Daily Californian regrets the error.

Contact Stephanie Baer at [email protected]

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