Toolkit to Help Research Institutions Transition to Open Access

closed books on a shelf in a dimly-lit library

Today, all ten University of California campus libraries released a Pathways to Open Access toolkit to help research libraries and organizations around the world make the same kinds of difficult decisions that we’ve been undertaking about repurposing campus subscription spends to support sustainable open access publishing.

“Essentially no research institutions in the world,” says UC Berkeley University Librarian Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, “can afford to provide their scholars with access to the full corpus of scholarly literature being produced and then sequestered behind increasingly out-of-reach subscription paywalls that yield major academic publishers a nearly 40 percent profit margin.”

In the Pathways documents, linked below, the campus libraries critically analyzed different open access publishing models, as well as the various funding and other strategies to achieve them, and then developed a set of possible next steps as to which UC libraries could partner or experiment. The libraries hope this toolkit will be equally valuable to other institutions wrestling with how to make strides in moving away from a closed-access publishing landscape.

You can read more about the toolkit here: http://news.lib.berkeley.edu/pathways-to-open-access

With any questions, please contact schol-comm@berkeley.edu.


Welcome Maria Gould: Scholarly Communication & Copyright Librarian

Photo of Maria Gould
Maria Gould, Scholarly Communication & Copyright Librarian

The Library’s Office of Scholarly Communication Services is thrilled to announce that Maria Gould has joined as our new Scholarly Communication & Copyright Librarian. Maria started on January 16, and has already begun helping scholars on this campus and beyond in shaping their scholarly publishing skills and publishing impact.

While Maria is new to this position, she is not new to UC Berkeley—having received her MA in Latin American Studies in 2011. Maria also obtained her MLIS from the Simmons School of Library and Information Science, and completed an internship at Bancroft Library while pursuing her degree.

Maria’s substantial scholarly publishing experience makes her an incredibly valuable resource for campus researchers. Prior to joining the Library, Maria worked for PLOS (Public Library of Science) for six years, where, among other projects, she was responsible for developing staff training and resources, updating and maintaining policy guidance and system instructions for authors and peer reviewers, and supporting outreach and engagement initiatives for editorial board members and the reviewer community.

Already in just her first month at the Library, she has helped shepherd our work in support of open digital scholarship and affordable course content. With this warm welcome to her, we hope you will reach out to all of us in the Office of Scholarly Communication Services for your publishing needs. We can help with:

  • Copyright in research, publishing & teaching
  • Authors’ rights, and protecting & managing your intellectual property
  • Scholarly publishing options and platforms
  • Open access for scholarship and research data
  • Affordable and open course content
  • Tracking & increasing scholarly impact

Want help or more information? We provide:

  • Individualized support & personal consultations
  • In-class and online instruction
  • Presentations and workshops for small or large groups & classes
  • Customized support and training for each department and discipline
  • Online guidance and resources

Learn more at: lib.berkeley.edu/scholcomm

Keep up to date: @UCB_scholcomm


Opening UC History and Success to the World

photograph of author
Photograph of Jud King

150 years following its founding in 1869, the University of California is regarded by many as the most successful and highly-respected public research university in the world. In his new book, Judson King, former Berkeley and University of California Provost and former CSHE director, explores the most important factors for this academic success, and what makes UC tick. What’s more, he’s made his insightful analysis available to the world by publishing his book open access.

Please join Judson King, Chancellor Carol T. Christ, University Librarian Jeff MacKie-Mason, and CSHE administration for a special event and reception delving into the academic history of the University of California, and examining how best it can be shared to inspire global institutional development.

 

Event Details:

  • Discussion of The University of California: Creating, Nurturing, and Maintaining Academic Quality in a Public University Setting
  • February 28, 2018, at the Morrison Library from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres will be served
  • RSVP required

This event is co-sponsored by the Library’s Office of Scholarly Communication Services and the Center for Studies in Higher Education. It is also offered in connection with Berkeley’s celebration of 150 Years of Light.

Berkeley 150_Logo

 


New Workshop: DIY Digital Publishing with Pressbooks

Person holding an open hardcover book in front of face

Publish Digital Books and Open Textbooks with Pressbooks

Tuesday, Feb. 20, 1:10 – 2:30 p.m. | Academic Innovation Studio, Dwinelle Hall 117 (Level D)

Register http://bit.ly/0220pressbooks

The workshop is open to all students, faculty, and staff. Feel free to come with a project idea in mind, and please bring a laptop if possible.


On February 20, the Office of Scholarly Communication Services is offering a hands-on workshop to introduce students, faculty, and staff to Pressbooks, a free, easy, and elegant self-publishing platform that anyone can use to create a digital book (or any other online resource) in minutes. This workshop is offered as part of the Library’s ongoing efforts to support and promote the creation and use of open and affordable course materials on campus (read more about our course affordability pilot programs, events, and workshops).

Do you have material you’ve been wanting to publish online, but aren’t sure how to get started or what tool to use? Come to our workshop to see Pressbooks in action and start working on your own project. By the end of the workshop, you can have a beautiful book published online! Working on a non-book project? You can also use Pressbooks to publish a chapter, white paper, toolkit, or other online resource.

Pressbooks is simple to use and infinitely flexible for a variety of projects, from creating a course textbook to publishing your own chapter- or module-length work. Quickly becoming the preferred tool for educators and writers publishing open books and other content, Pressbooks offers numerous features to support open access and accessibility.

Here are some highlights of what we like about Pressbooks and why we think the platform will be an exciting tool for students, faculty, and staff working on digital projects:

  • Easy to use. No design or developer skills required. If you’ve ever used WordPress, you’ll feel right at home.
  • Professional design. Choose from dozens of templates and themes that create professional-looking and customizable digital books.
  • Immediate and continuous publishing. Publish in minutes, and make changes or edits easily as you go.
  • Flexible licensing. License your work with any number of Creative Commons options. You can use the same license for the whole work or apply different licenses for different chapters or sections.
  • Accessibility. Pressbooks features and outputs are designed to support accessibility. Pressbooks is committed to making its code and user interface comply with WCAG 2.0 (level AA) standards within 2018, and it is developing tools to help authors maximize the accessibility of published work.
  • Collaboration. Give a co-author access to your project, and use Hypothes.is to add or enable annotations.
  • Free! Anyone can create an account at no charge.

Come to the workshop on February 20 to try out this innovative platform and kickstart your digital project. In the meantime, if you’re curious about what Pressbooks publications look like, or what else the platform can do, check out how other institutions are using Pressbooks, browse the book examples created at eCampusOntario, and see an open module recently published at UC Berkeley. The Library will also soon have a campus portal just for UC Berkeley-affiliated books, where you can showcase your work and view others’ projects.

For more information, email schol-comm@berkeley.edu.


Wondering how, where, and what to publish? Our symposium has you covered.

Typewriter with "Ready to Get Published" written on page.
Get ready for publishing at our scholarly publishing symposium.

How, Where, and What to Publish: UC Berkeley Scholarly Publishing Symposium
January 31, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

309 Sproul Hall (Graduate Professional Development Center)

Register online: bit.ly/013018pubsymposium

 

 

Are you an early career researcher looking to make a mark? Come hear from leading scholarly journal and book publishers (such as Elsevier, Springer-Nature, and UC Press) and open publishing framework and platform creators (such as Collaborative Knowledge Foundation and California Digital Library) during a half-day symposium in which experts cover all aspects of how, where, and what to publish.

Panel presentations and participant discussions will address:

Publishing Essentials

  • Targeting the “right” journal for submission
  • Overview of the editorial process from submission to acceptance, and responding to reviewer comments
  • Publishing ethics
  • Communicating your research with a broad audience

Trends in Open Scholarship

  • Value of publishing open access
  • Publishing preprints & post-prints
  • Avoiding predatory publishers
  • Trends in peer review
  • Metrics

Data Publishing

  • Open data, publishing mandates, and publishing options
  • Research data management
  • Licensing research data for reuse

Refreshments will be provided.

This event is co-sponsored by the Library’s Office of Scholarly Communication Services and Research Data Management Program.

 

 


Teaching Free: Instructor Insights on Making Course Content Affordable and Accessible

Teaching Free:  Instructor Insights on Making Course Content Affordable and Accessible

By, Rachael G. Samberg (Scholarly Communication Officer, Library) & Richard Freishtat (Director, Center for Teaching & Learning)

October 27, 2017 Instructor Affordability Panel / photo courtesy Rachael G. Samberg
October 27, 2017 Instructor Affordability Panel / photo courtesy Rachael G. Samberg

Note:  This commentary is being cross-posted on the Center for Teaching & Learning’s blog.

 

On October 27, 2017, UC Berkeley faculty and lecturers convened to share how they are making textbooks available for free to students—and how they are designing more accessible and transformative learning materials in the process.

In this post, we pass along key takeaways from the stories they shared, in the hope that you may consider implementing similar cost-saving options for students. We also consider why the UC Berkeley campus has come together at this critical moment to address such issues.

This is the first of a series of posts we’ll be doing this semester to dig into the “how” of improving students’ quality of living through affordable and accessible course content.

Students Can’t Afford Class

Before we dive into the lessons gleaned at the October event, campus context behind faculty members’ efforts might help.

Textbook prices have risen 88 percent in the past decade, as detailed in a 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics report. With UC Berkeley undergrads expected to pay at least $900 (a low estimate) on books and materials each academic year, students are financially encumbered to obtain required readings. The campus is conducting a survey to understand the true impact of these expenses for students—including how textbook costs affect whether students take, remain in, and succeed in their classes.

One way to alleviate financial burden for students is by offering them free, digital versions of their assigned readings that can be accessed online or downloaded to electronic devices. For course readers, this might mean uploading materials to the class bCourse site under fair use principles, and for textbooks, this might mean switching to “open textbooks.” Open textbooks (also called “open educational resources” or OERs) are entirely free for anyone to access, read, and download, and are typically licensed for reuse by others to encourage further downstream adaptation and development. Many instructors and students prefer hard copies, and so open textbooks can often be ordered as “print on demand” for a nominal printing fee, or students can print them out themselves.

In the studies to date on open textbook impact, students who have been given access to open textbooks perform at least as well, and often better, than those without open textbooks. This is likely because the playing field is leveled: Everyone in class has access to the readings from day one, and they’re not beyond anyone’s financial reach.

There are several other key advantages to offering parallel access to digital books: Digital native texts are inherently more accessible to students with disabilities. Screen readers and assistive technologies fare much better working with born digital materials rather than print copies that have been scanned in and converted into optical text (not to mention the potential access delay involved in remediating print content). Digital materials are generally also text searchable, so that students can easily find concepts or passages within their readings.

Seeking to address both affordability and accessibility concerns, in 2017, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education (VCUE) charged a campus-wide Course Content Affordability & Accessibility Committee (CCAAC) to identify strategies to educate the campus about the costs of course content, and encourage practices that lower costs for students while also making materials more accessible. CCAAC’s report and recommendations are forthcoming in Spring 2018.

Piloting Innovation

An analogous campus partnership has also been very busy: The University Library, Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), and Educational Technology Services (ETS) teamed up and obtained a VCUE and Library-endorsed charter to test services aimed at students course content burdens. Through our Affordable Course Content Pilot program, we have incentivized both adoption and creation of open textbooks. Our idea was simple: What if we offered $2000-$5000 grants for faculty and lecturers to switch to an open textbook, or create their own? We would provide the needed digital publishing and programmatic support to facilitate the transition, and the instructors would use or create something new that was open—and free—to all.

We did not expect to get many takers for the pilot, since designing and writing a textbook requires an incredible amount of work. Yet, we underestimated the earnest commitment on this campus for truly making a difference in students’ lives and academic success. In Fall 2017, five faculty members committed to creating their own open textbooks, and two more are on board for Spring 2018. Fall participants included:

  • Brad DeLong and Martha Olney, for Economic Theory – Macroeconomics (ECON 101B)
  • Evan Variano, for Elementary Fluid Mechanics (CE100)
  • John Wallace, for Dynamics of Romantic Core Values in East Asian Premodern Literature and Contemporary Film (EA LANG 105)
  • Jonathan Zwicker, for Seminar in Classical Japanese Texts (JAPAN 240)

Most of their books will be unveiled and implemented in their classrooms beginning this semester. In a future blog post, we will explore their creation of these open books, touching on everything from mechanical issues related to the digital platforms and tools being used, publishing mechanics, and how students have received them. (Sneak preview: You do not need to be a technological wizard to create a digital textbook! And, we can help.)

Now, however, we’d like to consider the salient lessons discerned from these faculty members’ experiences in creating open textbooks for the pilot.

Lessons from the Trenches

On October 27, 2017 pilot program participants Brad DeLong and John Wallace were joined by Ani Adhikari (whose Data 8 open textbook has already been in use for several years) in speaking to a rapt crowd about why they chose to create open textbooks, and what they have learned in the process. We have taken the liberty of distilling their guidance.

1.  If you create an open textbook, you have tremendous flexibility and complete control over what your students see, and when they see it.

Wallace observed that, although his book on East Asian literature and film will be deployed in Spring 2018, it will remain a work in progress. The beauty of writing and managing one’s own digital material is that changes (and typo fixes!) can be made in real time, without having to wait until your publisher decides to release a new edition. Wallace is utilizing Pressbooks.com to administer his material, and he can log in and change whatever he wants, whenever he wants—sharing his creative product in stages or in full, at his election.

This level of control also offers topical benefits. DeLong and Olney are converting their Macroeconomics print textbook into an open textbook, with interactive data for students to play with as they experiment with formulae and economic theories. To provide meaningful, real world information, DeLong and Olney need to be able to update and adjust content regularly. Because they are in complete command over the Jupyter Notebook which they use to manage their content, they can incorporate current economic events and statistics in real time, or keep it current on a semester-by-semester basis.

2.  Creating your own open book allows you to choose your voice and write to connect with your studentsand in so doing, capitalize on intellectual freedom as you forge and sculpt your discipline. As you branch off into new knowledge areas, disciplines can be redeveloped into what you make them.

Writing your own open textbook is a tremendous amount of work, but it can also offer tremendous intellectual freedom. Wallace, DeLong, and Adhikari each exclaimed the benefits of being able to write in a tone and on issues directed to their students—using language and content that may not have survived traditional textbook editing processes. The value is that the written material has the potential for resonating more meaningfully with students.

Adhikari discussed some foundational examples in the Data Science 8 textbook, in which she writes vibrantly about a water pump in Victorian London. The lesson frames for students one of the first ways that data was used to establish causality (in this case, mapping cholera outbreaks to a water pump). Here is a brief excerpt:

One of the earliest examples of astute observation eventually leading to the establishment of causality dates back more than 150 years. To get your mind into the right timeframe, try to imagine London in the 1850’s. It was the world’s wealthiest city but many of its people were desperately poor. Charles Dickens, then at the height of his fame, was writing about their plight. Disease was rife in the poorer parts of the city, and cholera was among the most feared. It was not yet known that germs cause disease; the leading theory was that “miasmas” were the main culprit. Miasmas manifested themselves as bad smells, and were thought to be invisible poisonous particles arising out of decaying matter. Parts of London did smell very bad, especially in hot weather. To protect themselves against infection, those who could afford to held sweet-smelling things to their noses.

From reading even just this brief excerpt, it is hard to imagine traditional textbooks so compellingly establishing an argument, or traditional textbook authors maintaining enough editorial control over their work to ensure that these points are included exactly as intended.

3.  Digital editions provide valuable portability for students, while preserving print on demand options.

Adhikari and DeLong also addressed portability benefits of open textbooks. UC Berkeley students are incredibly engaged academically, and as a result, under considerable competing demands on their time. It is not uncommon to see students working on portable devices on public transportation or at the gym, just to make the most of any spare moments they have.

In survey responses by students whose classes participated in our pilot program, students near universally described how having online access to, or being able to digitally download, their reading materials improved their learning experience. Not only could they take their readings everywhere (and we mean everywhere!), but also they did not have to lug around numerous heavy books. Many also remarked that they valued not having to “waste paper” and harm the environment. Students knew that printing out the materials was an option, though few reported having chosen to do so—actually preferring the electronic format.

4.  You can create an open module or two to fill in the gaps, rather than requiring students to purchase an entire textbook just for a few sections.

Let’s say you have found the perfect textbook for about 80% of your course, but it lacks two or three topics that you cover in class, and for which you assign a separate book entirely. There may be no need to reinvent the wheel in designing an entire textbook from scratch, but perhaps you could create just what you need to fill in the gaps rather than recommending a second book for purchase.

This is precisely what Horst Rademacher of the Berkeley Seismology Lab, did for EPS20 (Earthquakes in Your Backyard). As part of the pilot program, Rademacher created on open module through Pressbooks.com to address one topic: The Hayward Fault at the UC Berkeley campus. Doing so was not only a more reasonable time investment, but also a very efficient way of making sure students had tailor-made access to the specific content they would need for class.

5. If you collocate all digital readings and assignment submissions, it can be easier for graduate student instructors to complete grading, and focus more on pedagogy.

Generating efficiencies in one area necessarily creates opportunities in another. In this case, GSI’s, and instructors alike, can more easily move between and through grading of student work (particularly if coupled with other campus-licensed tools like GradeScope). The ability to centrally locate, quickly navigate, and reliably assess student work can considerably reduce time spent on the logistical aspects of grading. The extra time that was once necessary for grading logistics, can now be better utilized in service of pedagogy and student learning. Faculty discussed greater time available to improve their course materials, implement new pedagogies, or even supplement learning through more formative approaches that were very challenging previously due to time constraints.

6.  Open textbooks have the potential to save UC Berkeley students hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, while making access to higher education learning materials more equitable in your class and beyond.

In DeLong’s own words, his forthcoming Macroeconomics textbook can “go big or go home,” and he’s banking on “big.” There are four sections of macroeconomics are taught each year on our campus, with approximately 1000 students. If each of the class sections adopted the DeLong-Olney open textbook rather than the $200 print equivalent, UC Berkeley macroeconomics students could save up to $200,000 each year. Of course, macroeconomics is a staple at institutions across the nation and world. DeLong and Olney are enabling thousands upon thousands of students globally to have access to extremely high quality instructional materials—potentially saving students millions every year. The financial impact that open textbooks can have is quantifiable, and it’s huge.

Financial impact is but one piece of the equitability puzzle. Both DeLong and Adhikari discussed open textbooks’ ability to promote social justice in the classroom, and the sense of obligation they feel as faculty members in doing as much as they can to ensure that all of their students have equal opportunities to succeed.

Get Involved

If you would like to explore the possibility of adopting or creating an open textbook for your class, we would love to meet with you! Limited numbers of $2000-$5000 grants remain available. Please contact schol-comm@berkeley.edu, or visit the Scholarly Communication Website (lib.berkeley.edu/scholcomm) to learn more.

And if you are interested in CCAAC and the pilot team’s report and findings about course content affordability at the UC Berkeley campus, please stay tuned to posts distributed through the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Library’s Scholarly Communication program’s Twitter account, @UCB_scholcomm.

 


Discover Affordable Course Content and Open Textbook Options in Workshop Series

Highlighted TextbookConcerned about the impact of high textbook and course reader costs on students? Interested in discovering pedagogically rich and innovative solutions? Consider attending the below workshops to understand the landscape for rising course content expenses, and what you can do to both lower students’ expenditures and improve their educational experience. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact schol-comm@berkeley.edu. We hope to see you there!

 

Friday, Oct. 27

Making Textbooks and Course Readers Affordable

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | Wurster Hall, Environmental Design Library

Register http://bit.ly/1027ACC

Do you wonder how to make your assigned readings more affordable, and how much time and effort you’d need to invest? The University Library and Center for Teaching and Learning have partnered in an innovative pilot program to reduce course content expenses and incentivize the creation of high quality, free, and open course materials. In this panel event, you’ll hear from participating faculty and lecturers who will discuss their experiences and provide practical tips from the leading edge of course content affordability. Refreshments will be provided.

 

Friday, Dec. 8

Open Textbook Workshop – Faculty & Lecturers

9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. | Academic Innovation Studio, 127 Dwinelle Hall

Apply http://bit.ly/facultyOpenTextwkshp

Are you an instructor who is concerned about the impact of high textbook costs on your students?  Do you want to adopt or create innovative pedagogical materials?  Explore possible open textbook solutions by attending a two hour workshop and writing a short textbook review. The Library will provide you with a $200 stipend for your efforts! Space is limited, so please submit a very brief application form: http://bit.ly/facultyOpenTextwkshp

 

Friday, Dec. 8

Open Textbook Workshop – Staff & Campus Partners

12:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. | Academic Innovation Studio, 127 Dwinelle Hall

Register http://bit.ly/openwkshpcampuspartners

Are you a UC Berkeley staff or affiliate who is concerned about the impact of high textbook costs on students, or you are working with a faculty member who is? Do you want to support the adoption or creation of innovative pedagogical materials? Learn the landscape, opportunities, and challenges for adopting and creating open textbooks, and how to discuss whether open textbooks are a good fit.

 

Tuesday, Feb. 20

Publish Digital Books and Open Textbooks with Pressbooks

1:10-2:30 p.m. | Academic Innovation Studio, Dwinelle Hall 117 (Level D)

Register http://bit.ly/0220pressbooks

If you’re looking to self-publish work of any length and want an easy-to-use tool that offers a high degree of customization, allows flexibility with publishing formats (EPUB, MOBI, PDF), and provides web-hosting options, Pressbooks may be great for you. Pressbooks is often the tool of choice for academics creating digital books, open textbooks, and open educational resources, since you can license your materials for reuse however you desire. Learn why and how to use Pressbooks for publishing your original books or course materials. You’ll leave the workshop with a project already under way!

 


Boost Your Scholarly Publishing Skills During Open Access Week, Oct. 23-27

Open Access Connects - OA Week logo

 

Open Access connects your scholarship to the world, and helps you gain global readership. For the week of Oct. 23-27, the UC Berkeley Library is highlighting these connections.

You can attend five exciting workshops and panels that bridge real-world scholarly publishing skills with the connectedness that open access offers.

 

What’s Open Access?

Open Access (OA) is the free, immediate, online availability of scholarship. Often, OA scholarship is also free of accompanying copyright or licensing reuse restrictions, promoting further innovation. OA removes barriers between readers and scholarly publications—connecting readers to information, and scholars to emerging scholarship and other authors with whom they can collaborate, or whose work they can test, innovate with, and expand upon.

 

Open Access Week @ UC Berkeley

OA Week 2017 is a global effort to bring attention to the connections that OA makes possible. At UC Berkeley, the University Library—with participation from partners like the Graduate DivisionCalifornia Digital LibraryCenter for Teaching & Learning and more—has put together engaging programming demonstrating OA’s connections in action. We hope to see you at the events, where you can continue to build your scholarly publishing skills.

 

Schedule

Refreshments provided at all events, and attendance enters you into raffle for prizes! To find out more about each event, please visit our Scholarly Communication Events page.

 

Monday, Oct. 23
Copyright and Your Dissertation
1-2:30 p.m. | 309 Sproul Hall
Register http://bit.ly/1023copyright
From the beginning of the writing process to submitting and publishing your dissertation or thesis, we will walk you through a useful workflow for addressing copyright and other legal considerations.

 

Tuesday, Oct. 24
First Books & Publishing Your Dissertation

2-3:30 p.m. | 309 Sproul Hall
Register http://bit.ly/1024publishing
Hear from expert panelists about what happens once you submit your dissertation, how to shape your dissertation’s impact, and how to go about publishing your first book.

 

Wednesday, Oct. 25
Increasing and Monitoring Scholarly Impact

10-11:30 a.m. | 309 Sproul Hall
Register http://bit.ly/1025impact
Discover strategies and tips for preparing and promoting your scholarship, and the best ways to monitor and increase your citations and success. You’ll also learn how to: understand metrics, select and use scholarly networking tools, choose reputable open access journals and publishing options, and participate in open access article and book funding opportunities.

 

Thursday, Oct. 26
Understanding the (Changing) Realm of Peer Review

1-2:30 p.m. | 309 Sproul Hall
Register http://bit.ly/1026understandpeer
Are you publishing an article or reviewing someone else’s work? Panelists demystify the peer review process, what’s expected of you and what you’ll experience, and how the world of peer review is evolving with new models that foster transparency and impact.

 

Friday, Oct. 27
Making Textbooks and Course Readers Affordable

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | Wurster Hall, Environmental Design Library
Register http://bit.ly/1027ACC
Do you wonder how to make your assigned readings more affordable, and how much time and effort you’d need to invest? The University Library and Center for Teaching and Learning have partnered in an innovative pilot program to reduce course content expenses and incentivize the creation of high quality, free, and open course materials. In this panel event, you’ll hear from participating faculty and lecturers who will discuss their experiences and provide practical tips from the leading edge of course content affordability.

 

We hope to see you there!

Questions? E-mail schol-comm@berkeley.edu, or check out our Scholarly Communication Services website.

 


Free textbooks? Effort aims to take some financial burden off students’ shoulders

Discussion at FSM Cafe
From left: ASUC Senator Hung Huynh talks with Rachael Samberg, Scholarly Communication Officer at the University Library, and Richard Freishtat, Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, about how new course content affordability programs will help Berkeley students. (Photo by Cade Johnson for the University Library)

Going to college ain’t cheap, what with tuition, room and the ubiquitous yet mysteriously named board. (Does anyone know what that last one actually means?)

If that weren’t enough, the cost of course materials have soared to sky-high levels. Textbook prices have risen 88 percent in the past decade, according to a 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics report. And with undergrads here expecting to pay about $900 — a low figure for some — on books and materials this academic year, students are shouldering a large burden.

“This is something that every major university is grappling with,” says Rachael Samberg, scholarly communication officer at the University Library at UC Berkeley, who is directing a cross-campus effort to provide students with free and openly available course materials starting this fall.

The pilot programs, with support from the Arcadia Fund, are broken into three parts: providing free course packs — the often hefty sheafs of assigned readings that students are usually expected to pay for; paying professors to switch to free digital versions of their books; and supplying grants for the creation of new, openly accessible course texts.

The first two — the free course packs and the digital versions of course materials — are available starting this semester, and the new course materials — referred to as open educational resources — will be available this spring or next fall.

More than 20 classes, with subjects ranging from economics to earthquakes and class sizes ranging from 15 to 350 students, are part of the pilots.

Daniel A. Rodríguez, a professor of city and regional planning who arrived at UC Berkeley last year, is familiar with the concept of free class materials for students. Previously, when he was working at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he took it upon himself to scan readings and make them freely available as PDFs for his students.

Expecting students to pay $300 for a course pack, he said, was “unconscionable.”

So when an email popped into his inbox asking if he was interested in the pilot, it was a no-brainer.

“This was just a much more institutionalized and easy way to do it,” he said.

This year, instead of each student paying a total of $150 for a roughly 600-page course pack, students in Rodríguez’s undergraduate course, called Sustainable Mobility, will have access to online readings.

The cost for students to access the materials? Free.

“(This is) a very, very welcome outcome,” he said.

In addition to providing students with free course materials, and professors with grants totaling roughly $25,000 to make it all possible, the initiative provides fair use counseling to professors who choose to participate, which eliminates the fee — which is passed on to students — that commercial copy centers charge to legally clear the material they’re reproducing.

Based on the findings from the pilots, the project team will provide recommendations about the next steps to achieve broader reach across campus.

Regardless of what lies ahead, the pilot programs alone have a potential impact that reaches far beyond Berkeley, Samberg said.

The creation of new course materials, for example, offers a chance to provide students with cutting-edge, and even interactive, textbooks, and those materials will be available to anyone wishing to access or download them from around the world for years to come.

“We’ve got the innovation on campus to take (ideas) and make them a reality to benefit a global community,” Samberg said.


Academic Council Affirms Commitment to Open Access Efforts like OA2020

By letter to University of California President Janet Napolitano, the Academic Council has enthusiastically endorsed and affirmed university-wide commitments to make UC research and scholarship as freely and openly available as possible.

The letter of the Academic Council, which advises the UC President on behalf of the Assembly, updates President Napolitano on various campus efforts to fulfill the University’s mission of providing long-term societal benefits through transmitting advanced knowledge. As the Council notes, one way that the University has been working to achieve its mission is through implementation of the 2013 Open Access policy, pursuant to which UC scholars widely disseminate their scholarship by making copies available open access (OA). OA promotes free, immediate access to research articles and the rights to use these articles to advance knowledge worldwide.

“As the nation’s largest public research institution and a source of two percent of the world’s research literature,” explains Jim Chalfant, Academic Council Chair, “the University of California is uniquely positioned to further this goal for the benefit of people all over the world who currently do not have access to the vast majority of scholarly research articles.”

Indeed, since the adoption of the 2013 OA policy, the ten UC campuses have made important progress toward increasing both the dissemination and impact of UC scholarship while reducing barriers to readership.

One way in which the Berkeley campus has contributed to a more open scholarly landscape is by engaging in open access initiatives such as OA2020, noted in particular in the Council’s letter. OA2020 is an international movement, led by the Max Planck Digital Library in Munich, to convert the entire corpus of scholarly journal literature to open access by the year 2020. 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. Berkeley signed the OA2020 Expression of Interest in March 2017 along with UC Davis and UCSF.

In affirming UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and UCSF’s participation in OA2020 and similar initiatives, the Academic Council avows OA2020’s alignment with both the 2013 OA policy and the UC’s mission to conduct research in the public interest and serve society. Accordingly, both the Council and the Academic Senate’s Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication “support all efforts by UC campuses to promote open access to scholarly research, both in the service of the University’s Open Access mission and in the service of similarly-oriented global missions such as OA2020.”

To learn more about why UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and UCSF signed the OA2020 Expression of interest, please see our joint statement, Why OA2020? (attached as Appendix C to the Academic Council’s letter), or our website, OA2020.us.

To discover more about the many initiatives in which the UC Berkeley Library engages to advance progress toward sustainable open access publishing, please see our Scholarly Communication Services page about our Open Access Initiatives.

We warmly welcome opportunities to talk more about these efforts, so please feel free to reach out to us: schol-comm@berkeley.edu.