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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.
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: email@example.com.
The Library’s scholarly communication program, the Office of Scholarly Communication Services, has launched an informative and practical new website to support UC Berkeley researchers with scholarly publishing needs.
The website is just one offering in our program’s suite of services to help scholars use, create, and publish scholarship in ways that promote its dissemination, accessibility, and impact.
“Our goal is to help scholars navigate the complex, changing scholarly publishing and intellectual property landscape,” explains Jo Anne Newyear-Ramirez, assistant university librarian for scholarly resources. “The scholarly communication program and this new web resource aid scholars of this campus and beyond, and will enable them to more effectively realize their academic pursuits.”
The UC System performs nearly one-tenth of all the academic research and development conducted in the United States, and produces approximately one-twelfth of all U.S. research publications. A scholarly communication program that works to bring added visibility and support for UC Berkeley research and publishing can have tremendous global impact, and help the Library achieve its strategic goal of transforming national and international policies and practices in scholarly publishing.
On the program’s new website, scholars will find guidance and resources that address the broad spectrum of researchers’ scholarly publishing needs. Rachael Samberg, the Library’s scholarly communication officer, designed action-oriented materials based on the needs of Berkeley scholars and campus partners.
“Our scholarly communication program adopts pragmatic, workflow-based approaches for assisting researchers,” says Samberg. “We’ve created robust guidance that scholars can implement directly, or use as a springboard for seeking personalized support.”
The site offers information and tools to assist with:
- Scholarly publishing options and platforms
- Open access opportunities for scholarship and data
- Copyright in research, publishing & teaching
- Authors’ rights, and managing intellectual property
- Tracking & increasing scholarly impact
- Affordable and open course content
The site also explores the realities of the economic landscape for scholarly publishing, and will increasingly detail what the Library is doing to address them.
The campus community can reach out to the Library’s Office of Scholarly Communication Services for:
- Individual assistance and consultations
- Customized support by department and discipline
- In-class and online instruction
- Presentations and workshops for small or large groups & classes
- Online guidance and resources
If you would like more assistance regarding the topics and services described on the site, please contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are eager to help you with your scholarship!
Dear UC Berkeley faculty and lecturers,
We can help you make your assigned readings and textbooks more affordable to students. The Library and the Center for Teaching & Learning have launched two pilot programs for Fall 2017, for which your participation can save students potentially hundreds of dollars each.
The first pilot service aims to reduce the cost of your print course packs through Library-assisted syllabus processing. We will locate copies of open, free, or Library-licensed versions of your assigned readings so the overall price of the print course pack or course reader is reduced.
The second service provides you with grants to either use, adapt, or develop open or library-licensed electronic textbooks and course materials. This can help save students the cost of purchasing expensive textbooks.
Please fill out this brief form if you are interested in participating in one or both pilots (described more fully below), and we will contact you soon with details.
Pilot 1 (Course Packs): Do you assign your students a print course pack for purchase? We can help reduce the cost of that print course pack.
With the first piloted service, the Library will process your syllabus for you and search for your required readings to locate copies of open, free, or Library-licensed versions of assigned readings.
If open, free, or Library-licensed versions are available, we will give you links or PDFs to post to bCourses at no cost to your students, reducing any remaining readings that a student would have purchased as part of a print course pack.
We will also provide guidance to you for making fair use decisions–further reducing the cost of course packs, because we can help you limit instances in which a third party copy center would need to secure copyright clearance for assigned readings.
Pilot 2 (Grants): If you assign textbooks or other books, will you let us pay you from $500 up to $5,000 to switch to an electronic version of that book or to an equivalent eBook or combination of books? Or will you let us help you in adopting, adapting, or designing your own open and electronic course materials?
The Library and the Center for Teaching and Learning are offering grants and programmatic support to instructors to enable you to link to open or Library-licensed electronic textbooks or other eBooks–or even to design your own.
The grants range in value from $500 (e.g. for switching one required print book to a Library-licensed electronic book that can be linked to in bCourses) all the way up to $5,000 to receive programmatic support to design your own open & electronic course materials for students so they don’t have to purchase expensive textbooks.
The Center for Teaching & Learning and the Library can also help you find campus support to update any other attendant PowerPoints, assignments, or materials that need alteration following a change in assigned books or textbooks.
If you have any questions, please contact the Library’s Scholarly Communication Officer, Rachael Samberg: email@example.com. You can also find out more about affordable course content in our Guide to Open, Free, & Affordable Course Materials.
The UC Berkeley Library strengthened its commitment to making course materials more affordable for students by joining the Open Textbook Network, which supports access to freely available and openly licensed textbooks and course content.
The high and ever-increasing cost of textbooks is a significant concern for Berkeley students. Textbook prices have risen 88% in the past decade, according to a 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, and many textbooks cost upwards of $200. Print course-pack costs further compound student financial burdens.
Berkeley will work with the Open Textbook Network to advance the use of open practices on campus by offering resources and workshops to explain and expand adoption of open textbooks. Not only do open educational resources (often called “OERs”) reduce student costs, they also have a positive impact on student success by providing access to assigned course materials from the very start of class. The Open Textbook Network also maintains the Open Textbook Library, a premiere resource for peer-reviewed academic textbooks. All Open Textbook Library textbooks are free and openly licensed for use, adaption or modification.
Other new initiatives to improve the student experience
Joining the Open Textbook Network is one of several important initiatives the Library has embarked upon with campus partners to address course content affordability issues. In cooperation with the Associated Students of the University of California, Educational Technology Services, and the Center for Teaching & Learning, the Library launched an informal working group in Fall 2016 to explore how we might reduce student costs for assigned course materials. The working group obtained a charter for two pilot programs that will run in Fall 2017. The Library received financial support for the scholarly communications program, which supports the Open Textbook Network initiative and the pilot services, from The Arcadia Foundation.
With the first piloted service, the Library will process participating instructors’ syllabi to locate copies of open, free, or Library-licensed or acquired resources that otherwise students would have had to purchase as print course packs. With the second service, the Library and its partners will offer grants and programmatic support to instructors to enable them to adopt or create open books or textbooks, thereby reducing student expenditures on high-priced materials.
“Not only will this partnership reduce student costs, but also it can advance pedagogy through the development of new and innovative course content,” says Richard Freishtat, Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. “I’m very excited to see what new teaching and learning approaches arise from this collaboration.”
These efforts align with campus-wide action by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education, which concurrently established a new task force to identify strategies to educate the campus about the cost of course content, and encourage practices that lower costs for students.
“While the campus has long been investigating the issue of course content affordability and has made progress, much work still needs to be done,” explains Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education Cathy Koshland. “We must further reduce course content costs and utilize accessible digital library resources to provide an equitable and engaging learning environment for our students.”
Kicking off the affordability discussion
First up on the slate of related outreach are two open discussions to be held with faculty on May 5th and May 8th. Freishtat and the Library will discuss the landscape for course content affordability issues at UC Berkeley and the campus-wide efforts being undertaken to address them. Registration is available through the Academic Innovation Studio’s events page.
Learn more or participate in the pilots
For more information about the Library’s membership in the Open Textbook Network, or with questions about the two Fall 2017 pilot programs, please contact Rachael Samberg, the Library’s Scholarly Communication Officer.
To explore programmatic support for the adoption or creation of OERs, please contact Richard Freishtat at the Center for Teaching & Learning.
To locate open and affordable educational resources or learn more about them, please visit the Library’s Guide to Open, Free, & Affordable Course Materials.
Friday, May 5, 3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Monday, May 8, 1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Academic Innovation Studio
117 Dwinelle Hall
The high and ever-increasing costs of textbooks and other assigned course readings are a major concern for UC Berkeley students. College textbook prices have risen 88% in the past decade, with individual textbooks often costing at least $200 each. Print course pack costs further compound students’ financial burdens. These rising expenses come at a time when 42% of the UC student body systemwide experiences food insecurity due to inadequate living funds.
The UC Berkeley campus has begun to tackle these issues, and there are nuanced questions to address with numerous stakeholders. The Center for Teaching & Learning, University Library, and Academic Innovation Studio are excited to invite you to join this conversation and learn about:
- The landscape for course content affordability issues, and the situation at UC Berkeley;
- What campus-wide and Library-led efforts are being undertaken; and
- The tools, resources, and services instructors and students can rely on to help limit costs.
We hope you’ll join us as we launch a broad discussion about this important topic! There will be plenty of time reserved for questions and debate. We are hosting the same event on two dates to try to accommodate as many attendees’ schedules as possible.
If you have any questions, please contact Rachael Samberg, Scholarly Communication Officer at the Library, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University Library at UC Berkeley took a major step today in its commitment to achieving universal open access for scholarly journal literature by signing the OA2020 Expression of Interest, in collaboration with UC Davis and UC San Francisco.
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. Open access promotes free, immediate access to research articles and the rights to use these articles to advance knowledge worldwide. OA2020 is a framework to achieve open access, and one solution for the rising costs of subscription journals and the need for reduced barriers in accessing and reusing information.
“Our mission, as scholars and educators, is to generate new knowledge for the benefit of the world,” explains Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, university librarian and professor of economics and information. “Much of the world can’t read our publications. They can’t get access because they can’t afford it. As the nation’s premier public research university, we need to be leaders in the effort to change that.”
When an institution joins the OA2020 movement, it agrees to make a good faith effort to devise and implement practical strategies and actions for attaining universal open access for scholarly journal literature. OA2020 provides the flexibility for institutions to define for themselves how they will repurpose their journal subscription funds to support open access publishing.
The UC Berkeley Library has long been a pioneer in assisting authors with open access publishing, and was one of the first institutions in the nation to create a fund (the Berkeley Research Impact Initiative) that subsidizes article processing charges so that Berkeley scholars can publish for greater impact, and be read by policy-makers and researchers around the globe. Since 2008, the University Library has supported nearly 300 open access articles from more than 250 unique authors from nearly every division and numerous disciplines on campus.
“We are excited to continue connecting with UC Berkeley scholars on these issues,” explains MacKie-Mason. “As the Academic Senate itself acknowledged with its adoption of an open access policy in 2013, the movement has tremendous value to Berkeley authors. It improves the visibility and scholarly impact of their research and output, and facilitates their ability to conduct research because of reduced access and re-use restrictions.”
In developing the campus-specific OA2020 implementation strategies, MacKie-Mason emphasizes that the Library will undertake considerable outreach to engage UC Berkeley researchers and author communities on approaches to open access publishing.
The particular models that will form the basis for Berkeley’s transition to open access will then be articulated in an OA2020 campus roadmap that the Library is developing in consultation with key stakeholders. The Library has posted an early draft of this roadmap on an OA2020 project website created by the now four U.S. signatory campuses.
MacKie-Mason secured broad institutional support for the OA2020 Expression of Interest. Following a September 2016 meeting attended by representatives from the Max Planck Digital Library and various UC campuses, MacKie-Mason coordinated a multi-campus working group to evaluate and report on OA2020 implementation issues. The Faculty Senate Library Committee (LIBR) reviewed these materials and voted in favor of UC Berkeley’s participation, as did the Council of Deans led by now Chancellor-designate Carol Christ, who signed the Expression of Interest on behalf of the university.
“Open access will have a direct impact on Berkeley researchers,” Christ says. “It provides an enhanced ability for faculty to use new and emerging research and scholarship in the classroom. We are thrilled to participate in OA2020 and other open access efforts that provide pathways for promoting and sharing knowledge.”
About the University Library
The University Library at UC Berkeley is an internationally renowned research and teaching facility at the nation’s premier public university. A highly diverse and intellectually rich environment, Berkeley serves a campus community of approximately 27,400 undergraduate students, 10,700 graduate students, and 1,600 faculty members. The Library comprises of 25 libraries, including the Doe/Moffitt Libraries, The Bancroft Library, the C. V. Starr East Asian Library, and numerous subject specialty libraries. With a collections budget of over $15 million, the Library offers extensive collections in all formats and robust services to connect users with the collections and build their research skills, while also working to help UC Berkeley scholars build research impact.
This post originally appeared on the University of California Office of Scholarly Communication‘s blog, March 6, 2017.
The University of California Office of Scholarly Communication (OSC) and the University of California Libraries issue the following statement in response to recent actions by the new federal administration and in order to address resulting concerns about continued open access to and preservation of information, scholarship, and knowledge.
The unfettered exchange and careful preservation of information are fundamental to democracy, progress, and intellectual freedom. The critical research and scholarship conducted by government entities and academic institutions worldwide safeguard and support human rights, public health, the environment, artistic and literary enterprise, scientific and technological innovation, and much more. This scholarship is critical for informed discourse and policy development throughout society. As such, the fruits of governmental and scholarly research—the data and documentation generated and released—must remain publicly available and must not be suppressed, endangered, or altered to serve political ends.
To encourage broad dissemination of research and scholarship, the faculty of the University of California and the UC President have implemented open access policies that echo many of the open data and scholarship mandates adopted by the federal government. Recognizing that open access to research increases scientific, scholarly, and critical knowledge, the UC system has committed, via these policies, to making all UC scholarly articles widely and freely accessible, regardless of access restrictions elsewhere. Now more than ever, UC faculty and staff’s participation in these open access policies is fundamental to ensuring persistent, unfettered access to valuable data and research.
OSC and the UC Libraries are working to protect public access to government data and research in the event that the original sources for these materials should be compromised. In the coming weeks, OSC and librarians on each of the UC campuses will identify specific actions to be taken to ensure that research data, publications, and scholarship remain accessible and discoverable. These efforts are not intended to supplant the authoritative sources for government data, publications, and information. Rather, we are working to make certain that these materials remain shielded from inappropriate political influence or suppression.
We support similar information rescue and preservation efforts taking place around the country and encourage other institutions to join in this commitment. We look forward to seeing statements from our peer institutions (and encourage any who wish to borrow or adapt ours), and we welcome opportunities to work with these institutions on projects supporting access to and preservation of the scholarly record. In particular, we offer our collaboration to those working in disciplines or within organizations facing new threats.
In the meantime, we wish to underscore our commitment to advocating not only for researchers and authors at UC campuses, but also for scholars and readers worldwide, and to emphasize our dedication to ensuring information access as an essential public good. We will continue to champion these professional and democratic values and to challenge any policies or practices that levy obstacles to intellectual exchange.
Please join Science Data & Engineering Librarian Anna Sackmann and Scholarly Communication Officer Rachael Samberg for practical tips about why, where, and how to publish and license your research data.
Why Should We Care About Publishing Research Data?
Sharing research data promotes transparency, reproducibility, and progress. Indeed, it can spur new discoveries on a daily basis. It’s not atypical for geneticists, for example, to sequence by day and post research results the same evening—allowing others to begin using their datasets in nearly real time (see, for example, Pisani & AbouZahr’s paper about this data publishing cycle). The datasets researchers share can, in turn, inform business or regulatory policymaking, legislation, government or social services, and much more.
Publishing your research data can also increase the impact of your research, and with it, your scholarly profile. Depositing datasets in a repository makes them both visible and citable. You can include them in your CV and grant application biosketches. Conversely, scholars around the world can begin working with your data and crediting you. As a result, sharing detailed research data can be associated with increased citation rates (check out this Piwowar et al. study, among others).
Publishing your data may also be required. Federal funders (e.g. National Institutes of Health), grant agencies (e.g. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), and journal publishers (e.g. PLoS and other journals listed in this Open Access Directory) increasingly require that datasets be made publicly available to readers—often immediately upon associated article publication.
How Do We Publish Data?
Merely uploading your dataset to a personal or departmental website won’t achieve these aims of promoting knowledge and progress. Datasets should be able to link seamlessly to any research articles they support. Their metadata should be compatible with bibliographic management and citation systems (e.g. CrossRef or Ref Works), and be formatted for crawling by abstracting and indexing services. After all, you want to be able to find other people’s datasets, manage them in a your own reference manager, and cite them as appropriate. So, you’d want your own dataset to be positioned for the same discoverability and ease of use.
How can you achieve all this? It sounds daunting, but it’s actually pretty straightforward and simple. You’ll just want to select a data publishing tool or service that is built around both preservation and discoverability: It should offer you a stable location or DOI (which will provide a persistent link to your data’s location), help you create sufficient metadata to facilitate transparency and reproducibility, and optimize the metadata for search engines.
For instance, UC’s Dash tool is a terrific and easy-to-use solution that preserves and publishes your datasets. At the Feb. 16 workshop we’re hosting, you can learn more about how to prepare, describe, and upload your data for deposit and publishing with Dash and other tools.
We also recommend that, if your chosen publishing tool enables it, you should include your ORCID (a persistent digital identifier) with your datasets just like with all your other research. This way, your research and scholarly output will be collocated in one place, and it will become easier for others to discover and credit your work.
What Does it Mean to License Your Data For Reuse?
Uploading a dataset—with good metadata, of course!—to a repository is not the end of the road for shepherding one’s research. We must also consider what we are permitting other researchers to do with our data. And, what rights do we, ourselves, have to grant such permissions—particularly if we got the data from someone else, or the datasets were licensed to us for a particular use?
To better understand these issues, we first have to distinguish between attribution and licensing. Citing datasets is an essential scholarly practice. But the issue of someone citing your data is separate from the question of whether it’s permissible for them to use the data in the first place. That is, what license for reuse have you applied to the dataset?
To try to streamline ownership and copyright questions, and promote data reuse, often data repositories will simply apply a particular “Creative Commons” license or public domain designation to all deposited datasets. For instance:
- Dryad and BioMed Central repositories apply a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) designation to deposited data—meaning that, by depositing in those repositories, you are not reserving any copyright that you might have. Someone using your dataset still should cite the dataset to comply with scholarly norms, but you cannot mandate that they attribute you and cannot pursue copyright claims against them.
- UC Dash applies a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license to datasets deposited by UC researchers. This means that someone using your Dash-deposited dataset not only should cite it to adhere to scholarly norms, but also is required to attribute you as the author.
What’s the Right License or Designation for Your Data?
Well, sometimes you don’t have a say in the matter, as your funding agreement or the repository you choose dictates the license applied. Otherwise, it’s worth considering what your goals are for sharing the data to begin with, and selecting a designation or license that both meets your needs and fits within whatever ownership and use rights you have over the data. Your Scholarly Communication Officer or librarian can help you with this.
Bear in mind that ambiguity surrounding the ability to reuse data inhibits the pace of research. So, try to identify clearly for potential users what rights are being granted in the dataset you publish.
How To Learn More if You’re a UC Berkeley Researcher
Come to the workshop, of course! For data publishing questions, contact the Research Data Management team at email@example.com. With questions about data ownership, copyright, or licensing, contact the Library’s Scholarly Communication Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out the Research Data Management website for more on preserving and disseminating your data. In the meantime, we hope to see you at the workshop next week!
by Rachael Samberg in Scholarly Communications on February 9th, 2017