Supporting open access book publishing at UC Berkeley: Winter 2023 update

The University of California continues to support a variety of ways UC authors can participate in open access publishing. At its heart, open access refers to the free, immediate, online availability of scholarship. Open access materials can be read and used by anyone, without any financial, legal, or technical barriers other than gaining access to the Internet. 

But you might be wondering, why is the University of California concerned about trying to make research more openly available and accessible? Well, one fundamental reason is that the research and teaching mission of the UC includes the aim of “transmitting advanced knowledge,” and as part of doing that, our faculty, researchers, and students create and share their scholarship. 

This system of scholarly publishing includes traditional or formal publications, such as peer-reviewed academic articles, scholarly chapters or books, and conference proceedings. It also includes emerging publications such as digital projects, data sets and visualizations, and working papers.

Support for Open Access Articles

UC offers a wide range of support to help authors publish scholarly articles. The UC’s Open Access Policies ensure that university-affiliated authors can deposit their final, peer-reviewed research articles into eScholarship, our institutional repository, immediately upon publication in a journal. Once they’re in eScholarship, the articles may be read by anyone for free.

The University of California has entered into 20+ transformative open access agreements or discount arrangements with scholarly publishers. These agreements permit UC corresponding authors to publish open access in covered journals, with the publishing fees being covered in part (or in full) by the UC. Last year there were 420 articles published open access by UC Berkeley authors under transformative open access agreements. 

Locally, the Library continues to offer the Berkeley Research Impact Initiative (BRII). This program helps UC Berkeley authors defray article processing charges (APCs) that are sometimes required to publish in fully open access journals (note that BRII doesn’t reimburse authors for publishing in “hybrid” journals—that is, subscription journals that simply offer a separate option to pay to make an individual article open access). This past year BRII provided funding for the publication of 75 open access journal articles. 

Support for Open Access Books

We know that not all University of California authors are publishing journal articles, and many disciplines—such as arts, humanities, and social sciences—focus on the scholarly monograph as the preferred mode of publishing. Some open access book publishers charge authors (or an author’s institution) a fee in exchange for publishing the book, similar to the practice of open access journal publishers charging an “author processing charge” to make a scholarly article open access. 

UC Berkeley is supporting authors who wish to publish their books open access. The library provides funding assistance and access to publishing platforms and tools for UCB authors to make their books open access. 

Berkeley Research Impact Initiative

Above we mentioned how the Berkeley Research Impact Initiative helps UC Berkeley authors publish articles in fully open access journals. BRII funding can also be used to help authors pay book processing charges (up to $10,000/book) so that their monographs can be published open access. In the last year, several UCB-authored books have been published open access in part due to BRII funding support. 


In March 2021, UC Berkeley Library entered into an institutional open access book agreement with Springer Nature. The partnership provides open access funding to UC Berkeley affiliated authors who have books accepted for publication in Springer, Palgrave, and Apress imprints. This means that these authors can publish their books open access at no direct cost to them. The agreement covers all disciplines published by Springer. All the books are published under a Creative Commons Attribution license for free access and downloading. In the last year, several UCB-authored books have been published open access as a result of the UCB-Springer agreement. 

University of California Press

UC Berkeley Library continues to support open access book publishing via Luminos, the open access arm of the University of California Press. The Library membership with Luminos means that UC Berkeley authors who have books accepted for publication through the UC Press can publish their book open access with a heavily discounted book processing charge. When combined with additional funding support through BRII, a UC Berkeley book author could potentially publish their book open access with the costs being covered fully by the Library. Luminos books are published under Creative Commons licenses with free downloads.  

Pressbooks platform 

The UC Berkeley Library hosts an instance of Pressbooks, an online platform through which the UC Berkeley community can create open access books, open educational resources (OER), and other types of digital scholarship. In the last year, Christopher Jelen from the Department of Ancient Greek & Roman Studies published A Few Stories in Attic Greek: Adapted to Accompany Hansen & Quinn (11-20). The book is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license.

Educational Workshops on open access book publishing

The Office of Scholarly Communication Services OSCS continues to offer a bi-annual Pressbooks workshop and demo where participants can learn how to navigate the platform and create and publish their own eBooks and open educational resources. (Note: the next Pressbooks workshop is coming up on February 8, 2023. Sign up now if you’re interested!)

Every year during the fall semester OSCS hosts an author panel to unpack the process of turning a dissertation into a book. One of the topics discussed during the panel are options for open access publishing. Here’s a recording of last year’s panel discussion. 

We also talked with an author about their experiences in publishing a book open access with Springer. 

UC supporting broader ecosystem of open access book publishing

At the systemwide level, the UC is supporting several open access book publishing ventures, including Opening the Future and the University of Michigan Press’ Fund to Mission. In general, these models secure investments from libraries or other stakeholders, and agree to publish some or all of their frontlist books open access, with limited or zero direct cost to the authors. The backlist books are made accessible to participating institutions. The UC has also supported projects such as the Open Library of Humanities, Knowledge Unlatched, the Directory of Open Access Books, Open Education Network, and other initiatives. 

Wrapping up

In this post, we highlighted several ways that the University of California—and specifically UC Berkeley—is supporting scholarly authors to create and share open access books. In addition to providing financial assistance, platforms, and publishing guidance, the Library is committed to promoting the broader OA book publishing ecosystem. We’ll continue to explore a variety of approaches to support the UC Berkeley community (and beyond) who wish to publish books on open access terms.

If you’re interested to learn more about how you can create and publish an open access book, visit our website or send an email to